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Nov 6, 2008 07:33 AM

I-85 or Charlotte Lunch

Heading north from Atlanta early Saturday, will be around Charlotte/Winston Salem at lunch time and want to find something unique near the Highway (NC BBQ, meat and three, good Mexican....). Any suggestions?

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  1. Man. You've got a golden opportunity.

    Lexington #1, located 20 miles south of W-S in Lexington, serves THE best Western NC-style BBQ. Get the pulled pork sandwich, fries, hush puppies, and a sweet tea. That'll set you right for a few hours, guaranteed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: uptown jimmy

      Good suggestion. Lexington #1is right next to I 85 Business in Lexington. Heading north on I 85 from Charlotte, take the exit for I 85/US 29/US 70 . It's about 6 miles up the road on the left. Then you can take US 52 north to W-S.

      1. re: dfilpus

        This is pretty much the holy grail of Western NC BBQ. It won't change your life, and BBQ anywhere in the country ain't what it used to be because pork has come to be so lean, but Lexington #1 is a treasure. Good folks run that place, and the food is damn good.

        BTW, many of us put some of the slaw on the sandwich itself. It makes the sandwich more moist and juicy, nice flavor profile in that mix.

    2. Thanks, Y'all. Looks perfect! I'll report back next week....

      1 Reply
      1. re: aka frank

        Be sure to ask for a little outside meat in your sandwich, plate or tray.

      2. In Salisbury, there is a good Mexican place called Casa Grande near I-85. Going south on I-85, take the Jake Alexander Blvd exit and turn right. Then go a short distance and turn left at the first stop light. It is on the right next to the Hampton Inn.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. We ended up eating at Lexington #1, aka Honey Monks'. Got there right at noon and waited in line for about 20 minutes...which was fine, the day was stunning and the line moved quickly. The Wake Forest fans were entertaining as well.

          Now, not to step on any Tar Heel Toes, but I have to say that I think I'm not the biggest fan of NC BBQ. Nor am I, truth be known, a fan of Lex #1. The first point is just my preference for all things tomato and messy. (Although I certainly can appreciate the *real* smoke taste in that pork). The second point, well, styrofoam cups, the thinnest of paper plates, Sysco FoodService fries and onion rings, cole slaw that's been overly food processed and inconsistently cooked meat do not add up to a pleasant dining experience in my book. Neither does the dirty table, the waxy napkins or the sugar syrup that passed for tea.

          I know this place is an institution and can very much appreciate that; but c'mon, a few little things to pay attention to detail and this place could be a national stand-out.

          Thanks for the rec and don't hate me 'cause I lean Texan...

          7 Replies
          1. re: aka frank

            I would partically agree. WHile I like the cue at lexington barbecue the sides aree a disappointment. Even the housemade hushpuppies fail . I only get a sandwich with some out side brown and a tea. They key to the tea is to let the ice melt and add some lemons

            1. re: aka frank

              How about the cold hamburger bun they give you for sandwiches? This is why I have always found BBQ to be overrated. The experience is lacking something.

              1. re: southernitalian

                Well eastern NC bbq is way better than Lexington. And you eat it as it was meant to be eaten-- without a bun. Most of us self-respecting bbq eaters don't use the bun. That's just there for the the novices. ;-)

                1. re: ickymettle

                  Agreed. Eastern is MUCH better, IMHO. As for the bun - toss it or trade it in for some hushpuppies.

                  BBQ overrated, southernitalian? Talk like that will get you blacklisted, sister. Nothing about the pig is overrated. The pig rules. :-)

              2. re: aka frank

                So sorry you didn't enjoy. I don't think carolina BBQ has been as good since they bred all the fat out of the pig. But I still love it once in a while. Speak, memory and all that.

                But the presentation is pretty much the same it has always been, as far as I remember. It's sort of a low-rent tradition in terms of side dishes and such, but it is what it is. It's definitely working class food. Maybe we should have made that clear up front. Rural Carolinians ain't exactly high-rent, and I oughta know, being one myself from birth....

                1. re: uptown jimmy

                  No worries. Serious when I say thanks for the tip! Regardless, Lex #1 beats the Golden Arches any day of the week. Glad to sample some genuine BBQ from another part of the country. I can handle paper plates and such (being from East Tennessee, we were lucky to have shoes, much less plates) but even working class grub has some authenticity, which i thought the sides at Lex # 1 lacked.

                  1. re: aka frank

                    It's funny. There's a place here in Athens called Jot 'Em Down BBQ. They serve Carolina-style BBQ, but they have homemade potato salad, homemade baked beans, etc. The food is better than what I grew up on in the Triad area, even the pork. Never thought I'd say that. But they do still serve the BBQ with Merita sliced white bread. As it should be, I suppose.