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Saxapahaw General Store (between Triangle and Triad NC)

[I should note for the moderators at this point that I am in no way affiliated with the store or its ownership, just a customer who loves the food and the concept.]

A bit of backstory: When we moved from Chapel Hill to rural Alamance county (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3971...), we were seriously worried about the food situation out here. The only place closer than a 15 minute drive was a old gas station grill that mostly re-heated frozen, industrial foods (on the plus side, our closest resto was Fiesta Grill). Lucky for us, the property owners sold the gas station last summer and everything began to change. It started with good (Counter Culture) coffee and a decent beer selection. Now they're serving duck fat fries at lunch and doing the occasional tasting menu.

It turns out the new owners are trained chefs and dedicated foodies. We've been eating their food since the change in ownership since we live within walking distance but I haven't gotten around to posting much about it here. As odd as it may seem, a gas station in rural Alamance County is serving some insanely good, high end chow.

At lunch they have very nice sandwiches (including a phenomenal goat burger). Weeknights they have a special or two for dinner and they put out a big (and growing) menu on the weekends.

In addition to prepared foods, they sell local produce and dairy, wine and beer, Cane Creek/Braeburn farms meats, a decent selection of cheeses (local and imported), and, since it's still a gas station, motor oil.

Obviously, I'm a huge fan of the food but I also love the concept (that quality, local, and sustainable foods deserve a wide audience and can supplant the crap that people eat because crap is convenient and available). I guarantee it is the best you will ever eat in a gas station.

I read tonight's menu to my wife and she thought I was looking at something from Piedmont or Magnolia Grill. To give y'all an idea of what they're up to:
http://saxapahawgeneralstore.blogspot...
"Dinner--
Braeburn Farms Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Saute of Spinach.
Duck confit with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
Cane Creek Pork Belly with Seafood Gumbo Gravy over Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Brussels Sprouts
Eggplant Provencal with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus (vegetarian
)Mussels with Grilled Baguette
Sea Scallops with Fried Local Green Tomatoes and Asparagus
Halibut with Sweet Potato and Apple Hash and Saute of Spinach
Blue Cheese Burger with local beef and Applewood Smoked Bacon
Pan-seared Salmon on Croissant with capers and lemon-garlic aioli
Quiche with saute of artichoke and three cheeses (vegetarian)
Beef Minestrone
Seafood Gumbo (this is full of scallops, shrimp, tasso ham, andouille sausage, applewood bacon, and poblano peppers)"

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  1. Did they replace the Shell Station?

    5 Replies
    1. re: blewgo

      They ARE the Shell station. I should have mentioned that. They still sell gas too.

      1. re: brokegradstudent

        Last time I was there, several years ago, I tried to buy an Apple Ugly but the lady at the register wouldn't sell it to me. She said that there was no telling how long it had been on the shelf. I hope the new owners make a go of it.

        There is another pretty good place to eat out that way. It's in Snow Camp where Old Greensboro Road makes the 90 degree turn. I think it's called Yesterdays Grill. They are open from 6am until around 8pm m-f.

        1. re: blewgo

          Good luck finding an Apple Ugly now. :) The new owners have better taste in food. Now if you'd like a half-gallon of local milk, some local cheese, or local meat, then they have your hookup.

          1. re: davoice

            Are Apple Uglies still being made? I haven't seen one in years.

            I'm looking forward to trying the new Shell station.

          2. re: blewgo

            Oh ps... you can get a freshly baked butter croissant instead. Mmm. I live around the corner from the store.

      2. Weird fact: in Charlottesville, VA there are quite a few gas stations serving food, some of them really very good. Glad to hear you've found something so good. If we're ever near there this info will come in very handy.

        1. Hey! So, on the Saxapahaw General Store Facebook page, and their Blogspot page, there is no contact info <no phone; no email address>.... does anyone what the hours and menu are for this coming Saturday? Do they take reservations? I gather there is wine there - do they have an ABC permit? Many thanks!

          10 Replies
          1. re: Tehama

            All off the top of my head:

            Saturday hours:
            breakfast after 7a to about 10ish
            brunch 10-2
            sandwiches 11-5ish
            dinner 6ish to, maybe 9?

            No reservations (I don't think).

            They have wine & beer for sale on site. I'm not sure if they do wine by the glass, I don't think so. They don't have liquor.

            I deleted the e-mail with this weekend's menu. I remember short ribs and the great pumpkin bisque they had a few weeks ago.

            1. re: brokegradstudent

              thanks a million! I think my friends and I are going to give it a try on Saturday. So weird they don't have their contact info on their blogspot and facebook fan page.... ANYWAY - thank *you*!

              1. re: Tehama

                Tehama, here's some info in a different post that may help;
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6383...

            2. re: Tehama

              I found the menu for this weekend:
              "Meantime, Jeff and fellows have been preparing supper, which features the following this weekend:

              -Scallop Salad with local mixed greens, blue cheese and local figs vinaigrette
              -Wild striped bass over creamy succotash and roasted local broccoli
              -Pan-seared sea scallops over leek risotto and asparagus
              -Grouper on croissant with lemon garlic aioli, local lettuce, tomato and capers
              -Braised local beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and spinach
              -Local sirloin steak with duck fat fries and saute of spinach
              -Cane Creek Farms pork chop with gravy over mashed potatoes and broccoli
              -Coconut milk braised Cane Creek Farms pork spare ribs over leek risotto with braised local collards
              -Linguine with local meat sauce, garlic baguette, and a side caesar salad with local Romaine
              -Local meatloaf with mashers and broccoli
              -Eggplant Parmesan with mixed greens
              -Vegetable lasagna with mixed greens salad
              -Quarter chicken with home fries and house made local cabbage slaw
              -Ham and bean soup
              -Tomato pumpkin bisque
              -Duck breast on baguette with local roasted fig and local arugula"

              1. re: brokegradstudent

                How did you find out the menu? I just called for brunch on Sat. but the specials don't run til the day of... Which is okay makes for a nice surprise.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  I think BrokeGradStudent had mentioned in an earlier post there was an email listserve.... do you have the email address so I/we can join? I definitely want to go back.... our meal there 2 weeks ago was just completely awesome!

                  1. re: Tehama

                    The e-mails with menus come from saxgenstore@gmail.com

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      Is this something you have to constantly request? I've not seen a menu update from them in a week at least.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        I got mine last Thursday. I usually get the Wednesday night or Thursday morning

                        1. re: brokegradstudent

                          Hmmmm alright. I wonder why I never got one.

            3. I feel like I could write several pages about the fine excursion my friend and I had last night to the Saxapahaw General Store.

              (Brokegradstudent: if you're reading this, and feel like it, would you please post their restaurant email address so I can get on their list? I completely forgot to ask about it when I was there last night)

              First of all, I will mention what it wasn't. When I read "general store" in the title, I was expecting a rustic store with a cigar-store Indian, etc etc etc. It isn't a general store in the traditional sense. It is a convenience store at the Shell gas station at 735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road, Saxapahaw, NC (by the way, my GPS doesn't recognize "Saxapahaw", but google maps will get you there in a jiffy... it is about 25 minutes from Chapel Hill, just inside the Alamance County border). There are maybe like 6 or 7 tables scattered around the perimeters and in the back of the store. You order from the cashier off of a chalk board and the cooking staff finds you in the store and brings you your meal. (By the way, when I asked the cashier what sides came with my meal, she didn't know what I was talking about... perhaps a few growing pains to work through). As far as alcohol goes, you purchase a bottle from their very nice wine selection, or a huge array of beers. But, no wine by the glass; no ABC permit.

              I don't mean any of those as negatives - it just wasn't what I had been expecting. The surrealism of enjoying such a fine meal while nestled between shelves of STP engine treatment and mammoth jugs of diet Sprite was so refreshing. No such thing as a stranger in there. One keeps waiting for some evidence of small-town xenophobia, but there is none. Everyone in town is proud of what is happening there, but the irony appears lost on no one. The selection of goods in the convenience store ranges from afore-alluded to kitty litter and charcoal to a veritable cornucopia of natural and organic foods and health/beauty aids.

              My friend ordered the veal osso bucco and I had the braised short ribs. The collards that came with mine were so good, I could have cried. Jeff, the chef, tried to explain how he prepared them, but I didn't quite follow. They were beyond amazing. And then the reduction sauce (not gravy, because there was no flour in the juice) that was on the mashed potatoes was positively intoxicating with indescribable flavor. The braised short ribs were probably a B+... they were a tiny bit overcooked (or maybe had dried out a bit), but had an enticing favor just the same. We bought a bottle of Castle Rock Petite Sirah to go with our meats... next trip we will order one of the seafood dishes and select a white.

              The entire staff took time to come and check on us, and one table of the local diners could not have been friendlier. I cannot say enough good things about the positive and merry and savory and scrumptious trip it was.

              I can't wait to go back!

              (336) 376-5332 is the store number

              4 Replies
              1. re: Tehama

                OK - just to get this straight - you can buy beer or a whole bottle of wine there, and you can open and drink it there, but they can't sell you a single glass of wine due to lack of ABC permit?

                Alcohol laws are so bizarre ...

                  1. re: beebs

                    Sandwiches are usually $6-8
                    Dinner entrees are $12-18 but there are usually 1 or 2 cheaper options

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      Great -- thanks. Will have to trek out there soon!

                  1. re: cervisiam

                    My favorite quote from the article:

                    . "You can get almond butter without running into Chapel Hill." He points to his purchases adding, "They still got enough of this redneck stuff to keep everybody happy."

                    Love it!

                    1. re: cervisiam

                      Just saw this too. You can make your own almond butter if you ahve a food processor adn that would keep you out of Chapel Hill too.. It is a funny comment though.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        Was actually going to do brunch there today, but had an abrupt change of plans :-(

                    2. Thanks so much for the email address.... am sending them an "add me" request a.s.a.p.

                      I wonder if they are doing anything for New Years Eve or New Years Day?... I have this hankering to go to the Picasso exhibit at Duke's Museum (open New Years Eve) and then to the Saxapahaw General Store for dinner... road trip...

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Tehama

                        I think I heard they were open regular hours New Year's Eve and day.

                        1. re: brokegradstudent

                          Whoa -- are you telling me that I could actually have a real meal when I go to the antique festival in Liberty this spring without driving more than a half hour or so? I did a map quest, and it looks do-able unless I'm missing some twists and turns.

                          1. re: birgator

                            You are correct -- Liberty and Saxapahaw are not that far apart. The Saxapahaw General Store is well worth the drive.

                            1. re: peetoteeto

                              I agree it's worth the drive (and there really isn't much worth eating in between) but I'd guess it is about 40 minutes from Saxapahaw to Liberty.

                              1. re: brokegradstudent

                                Haven't found anything for dinner in that area that merits the term and I go for three nights twice a year. Based on other dealers' reviews and travels in search of something better than the pizza buffet in Siler City, this sounds exciting! I'd drive 40 minutes in a flash (mapquest says 22 miles unless I have the wrong Liberty in the wrong county).

                      2. For those that are interested their menu for this weekend is out and it looks yummy. They also noted that they are open for brunch today (1/1/2010). Happy New Year! While I'm tempted to post the menu (and will if beckoned), unless you have an allergy.. go and be surprised!

                        1. I have to tell you - it was another scrumptious, mouth-watering, savory meal yesterday at lunch.

                          My friend that was with me said he thought it might be the best food he had ever eaten. He got a rather pedestrian-sounding-named "fried chicken sandwich" which was on a ciabatta bread with a Remoulade Sauce and a side of potato salad. Who knew mere potato salad could taste like a little bite of heaven?

                          I got the meatloaf sandwich and, honestly, I felt like I was eating a $55 steak. I am not kidding. What on earth do they do to the food? They are either sorcerers or there is opium in the collards? I am guessing it is a combination of both.

                          Our State magazine was recently in there, and on Saturday, North Carolina Weekend's Bob Garner is coming to film their store.

                          If you all haven't been -- you've got to go. I swear, I am addicted.

                          27 Replies
                          1. re: Tehama

                            Will make it a stop next weekend. Though I didn't receive their latest menu update unless they are still running what they had just before New Years. People I've talked to swear by the duck fat fries.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I went to dinner at the General Store this past Saturday night with some friends. Turns out that UNC-TV was filming an episode of NC Weekend while we were there, but that didn't cause us to shy away from stuffing our faces with some great food. Our table ordered shrimp and grits, chili soup, pumpkin ravioli, butternut squash soup and an awesome steak (can remember the name of the cut but it looked great). We also ordered an extra side of duck fat fries!

                                Even with the store being pretty busy with the video shoot, dinner being served and other customers doing their convenience store shopping, the owners stopped by our table to talk for a while after we had finished eating. I think they already had a good idea about how much we all enjoyed our meals since every plate and bowl on our table was clean.

                                Not only were the owners really friendly, but everyone I talked to in the store was really great. More than one patron offered recommendations as I browsed the beer aisle after dinner and I ended up bringing home a lovely six pack of IPA as a result. Its a bit of a drive to the General Store from my home in SW Durham, but totally worth it. Go to this place immediately!

                                1. re: ToothTooth

                                  I signed up for their emails yesterday (I think/hope). I'm really looking forward to trying it.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    I signed a few weeks back and have yet to hear from them for this week or next.

                                    Tooth - thanks for the feedback.. .as much as I hear about those duckfat fries I'll have to make sure I get to them.

                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      I got an email from them this afternoon. I'm hoping and assuming you got the same, but if you didn't and you'd like me to forward it to you, just let me know.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        I also got an email from them this afternoon. Weekend supper is looking super!

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I got it does this usually carry throughout the week? I'm heading out of town this weekend (3 days for most) and wouldn't mind getting in early Mon to try it on the way back to the Hill.

                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                            If you are saying going there on Monday you should note that the cafe section is closed on Mondays. I learned that the hard way. :-(

                                            1. re: bbqme

                                              Oh.. Monday WOULD be the only day they are closed right? :-p Maybe I'll have to hit brunch on the way out of town on Sat. I'd much rather have a chance at those dinner options.. I think the threat of deer may keep me a bit at bay :-p

                                              Speaking of which is they allow deer hunting in the area.. maybe that will start figuring prominently into some menus around town..

                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                I would choose their Cane Creek sausage gravy over pretty much any food.

                                                This makes breakfast/brunch at least as enticing to us as the dinner.

                                                1. re: brokegradstudent

                                                  second the sausage gravy. for some crazy reason, i thought they would serve from a vat of gravy. nope - they make it to order.

                                                  1. re: cervisiam

                                                    May have to consider brunch. At this point I'm looking at dinner on Sat, but don't know that they do reservations and I know it gets packed from what I heard.

                                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                      They don't do reservations. I asked.

                                                      1. re: bbqme

                                                        On a separate note, looks like they were left off the new restaurants of 09 in the N/O.

                                                          1. re: cervisiam

                                                            Right but didn't they get reviewed last year? Maybe it was just an article saying that they were there and giving some background and not an actual review.

                                                              1. re: cervisiam

                                                                Right that was the article I was referring to. My mind must have skipped over the opening date. I don't know why I thought it had been reviewed last year as well. Guess not, but it seems like the place is awash in buzz from here, the N/O and another poster mentioning that the PBS affiliate was around recently.

                                                                Seems like Saturday dinner is in the line up for this weekend.. Not sure what I should get as i don't know how long it will be before I can return. Maybe I can get a bag of duck fat something for the 15 minute ride back :-P

                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                  i did see a container of duck fat in the refrigerated section a week ago, kinda to the left of the beer. top shelf.

                                                                  1. re: cervisiam

                                                                    I wouldn't want just hte fat though I'm sure I could fry with it so much as something cooked expertly in it :-p

                                                  2. re: brokegradstudent

                                                    We went there for brunch this morning and I concur that the sausage gravy is decadent. It was so good that I had to take many pauses between bites to savor each spoonful. I ordered mine with a scrambled egg which I put on top. My partner ordered the local steak and eggs, which he reported as being very tender and perfectly cooked.

                                                    I had an oatmeal raisin cookie for dessert and it was one of the best I've ever had: crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, not too spiced, good amount of raisins.

                                                    On the way back home, we stopped by Benjamin Creek Vineyards for a wine tasting, which is recommended if you're making a trip out to Saxapahaw. They're open from 12-5.

                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                              Hi LulusMom! Would you mind forwarding it to my username@yahoo.com?

                                              Thanks

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Thanks! We ate there tonight. Between 4 adults and one 4 year old, we ate the following:

                                                  Linguine and meat sauce with garlic bread - nice flavor, generous portion. The bread was really great - chewy, flavorful $10
                                                  Shortribs with garlic mashed potatoes and spinach - delicious sauce on the meat, tender. The sides were the stand out with this meal $14
                                                  Mac and Cheese with Collards (board said also with black eyed peas, but they were missing from the dish). The collards were outstanding. M&C was very good - we struggled to identify the cheeses used and thought that maybe there was some smoked mozz in there
                                                  Pork Carnitas with peppers and onions and duck fat fries - meat was fatty but delicious. Missing tortillas according to the person who ordered it. $15
                                                  Pork Belly with chickpea succotash - well done pork belly, lick your plate clean succotash. The succotash had bacon, chickpeas and corn. $14 (?)
                                                  Chili - I didn't try any of this, but everyone else said it was great $6
                                                  Chicken Soup - This was the low point of the meal. Too much thyme and acid. $4 for a cup
                                                  Duck Fat Fries - The fries are home fry style, not french fry style. I think they were made with yukon gold potatoes. Delicious!

                                                  All in all, an excellent meal in an interesting place. As one of my dining companions said, "I've never eaten gourmet food next to the Penzoil."

                                                  1. re: anne7134

                                                    Was there a stand out amongst all that or was it good all around. I'm gathering the latter.

                                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                      The pork belly the standout - well prepared pork plus the really great succotash. That said, everything was very good (excepting the chicken soup).

                                2. So the lady and I went there the other day and I've gotta say we were both a bit disappointed. Now this for me may have been all the build up and what was ordered. I should have called ahead to see if they would have what I was looking forward to trying (the duck), but didn't as it was only listed as being on Saturday so that seemed strange. My backup (pumpkin ravioli) I should have called about.

                                  Anyways, we got there at the top of their dinner service and the menu was still being created and so we perused around. Definitely an interesting set up that adds to it's uniqueness.

                                  When it came time to order, my SO got the butternut squash bisque and mussels. She stated that the bisque was good and the mussels were good but neither was anything special to her. She did note that the mussels were a good size though.

                                  I wound up having the kale and beef soup which was good and different from other soups. After looking at the menu for a bit, I decided to try the gnocchi, black truffle oil and goat cheese with asparagus. I decided to get an extra of duck fat fries. While everything tasted good, the gnocchi were a bit tough and not as light as they should be and the goat cheese was only on half of the order instead of mixed into the sauce or melted. The asparagus were very thing and there were maybe 5 of them. The duck fries as my SO stated tasted like homefries so maybe I was expecting them to taste different but honestly I couldn't find it. Again maybe I should have ordered the trout or pork belly or the steak with blue cheese.

                                  The service is both friendly and speedy. The mix of the type of food offered within the setting is what sets it apart. Again, maybe what we ordered coupled with the hype was what left us a bit deflated. I'm definitely going to go back and try something else as more reports of experiences come in.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                    Three words: MAC AND CHEESE.

                                    And that's coming from a finicky vegetarian who doesn't usually care for the stuff.

                                    Hands down, SaxGenStore's mac and cheese plate with garlicky spinach and onion-laced black-eyed peas is pure heaven on a plate.

                                    Trust me. It's worth the cross-over into the 336.

                                    The folks who run this store are geniuses. Period.

                                    1. re: crazy_flakes

                                      I'm not arguing the ingenuity for such a small and out of the way place. I'm stating that my dining experience there as far as the food goes was lackluster.

                                  2. We enjoyed meeting everyone in Saxapahaw this weekend. While I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken livers, Tehama's succotash w/ pork belly looked to me like the winning dish of the event (though the short ribs were right up there).

                                    I also want to acknowledge Cameron and Jeff (the owners) for being so flexible and accommodating towards such a large group.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                                      Thanks to you for letting us know about the place, and to Meredith for setting up the chowdown. It was great to meet everyone. I have to say, it was the first crabcake I've had that has passed the test since I moved here from DC (part of the general Chesapeake area).

                                      1. re: brokegradstudent

                                        I am STILL dreaming of that succotash. Holy cow. Words fail to describe how mouthwateringly delicious that was.

                                        1. re: romansperson

                                          Finally heading up to Liberty this week. Better to go Thursday or Friday? We can leave earlier on Thursday, and I'm thinking the wait will be shorter. Better choices for Friday though? I did sign up for emails.

                                          1. re: birgator

                                            Just a quick note. Party of six, including one diabetic, one fussy vegetarian, and one person who eats at Carabbas (but I'm working on expanding his horizons). Everyone whined during the trip .... are we there yet? Winding back roads, pretty drive about half hour from Liberty -- but since we had been set up since 6 am, everyone was tired and cranky. Saxgen fixed that.

                                            Fabulous. Intelligently cooked, flexible for all our needs and foibles, we were so impressed, those with a cooler got lunch to go for the following day. We really really liked this, and we'll be back in September.

                                            Friday night early seemed to be a good choice. Sat on the patio, perfect weather, and perfect food, delightful beer selection. The rest of the gang actually thanked me (and all of you at Chowhound) for finding this. They actually raved! We had halibut, flounder, a rare steak sandwich, a vegetarian plate, two scallops, and between us probably tried most of the sides. Duck fries ordered on the side, with the best aioli I've had since Provence. We are not skimpy eaters, but portions were just right for everyone. Clean plates all around.

                                            So, thanks to those who posted and got us a civilized meal as a highlight of the show. And it really wasn't even expensive (antique dealers can be on the frugal side). Appreciated Jeff stopping for a chat (note that he made several trips to check on all tables at about 2/3rds of the way through), and the staff was overall quite helpful, cheerful and professional.

                                            I really wonder how that succotash was made ....

                                            1. re: birgator

                                              Really glad it was such a hit! I've been trying to get the free time to take my husband and daughter since we had our chowdown there. It really is impressive, and such a lovely setting too (erm, I mean the drive there, not the inside of the store).

                                          2. re: romansperson

                                            Hey, thanks for posting this link! VERY helpful! :-)

                                          3. We went there this past Saturday for our anniversary. It is really just a convenience store with a kitchen attached and a few booths and tables. Well there is outside dining too on the patio. We chose to sit inside in a booth though. Hmm, well, I guess I was expecting a little more. I got the scallops with succotash. It was pretty good. My husband got the goat burger. The olive tapenade was very good on it. The burger was under-cooked though. He asked the waitress if it was supposed to be that rare and she said that is the rarest she's ever seen it and then offered to have a new one made up. I thought they would have more desserts, but I think all they had were some no bake oatmeal cookies, some icecream, and I think some cookies. But no cakes, pies, or dessert desserts, which I was disappointed about. It was about a 45 minute drive for us to go there and I don't really feel like it was worth it. If it was nearby, I would probably go back several times to try different things. If I happened to be in the area, I would go back, but I wouldn't make a special trip. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere, so I don't imagine I'll just happen to be in the area ever again.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: toosuns

                                              We went for brunch last Sunday and I have to say I have some mixed feelings. The drive was nice and I wouldn't have minded it much except for the semi-regular variations on "Are we there yet" issuing from the back seat. It's certainly not an everyday trip from Raleigh, though.
                                              We chose the outdoor seating, even though it was a little chilly outside, because the inside was simply too smoky. It seemed to take an unusually long time to get our food so we spent part of that time watching the kitchen. At least one of the cooks seemed a little disconcerted at being observed but that can be understandable.
                                              Portion control can be a little erratic. The slice of pizza, which was really a small individual pizza, was very small. Too small, in fact, to satisfy a child. We havd to get her a smoked sausage stick from the C-store to finish the meal. My MIL's Chicken Avocado salad was a generous sevring but a little on the bland side. The Spouse's Duck salad was good but noticably smaller (much fewer greens) than the chicken salad. He ended up finishing his mom's salad because he was stil hungry. I got the Briskfast and I was a happy camper. I asked to sub grits for the potatoes as I felt that the grits worked better with the eggs and brisket. The general consensus was that I had ordered best. Some of the sandwiches going to other tables looked very good and decided that would be the way to go next time. We got an order of the duck fries for the table and I guess I'm just not as blown away by them as many people are. I couldn't distinguish any "meatiness" in the fat (as opposed to schmaltz, say) and the potatoes struck me as well-done, greasy potatoes. Nice enough, but nothing too special.
                                              I don't dislike the restaurant and I do find its quirkiness appealing. I'd happily go back more often if the distance weren't an issue. I do think the food and service would benefit from losing some of the kitchen's laid-back vibe in favor of improved consistency, though.

                                            2. I was there for another fine meal last Friday. The owner told me that they have big plans for expansion under way. They are in the process of putting in a pub so that people can sit by the river, have a beer, and eat their good food. Can't wait!

                                              1. I had lunch there yesterday. I had one of the day's specials - brisket sandwich with swiss cheese, lemon-garlic aioli, and caramelized onions on ciabatta. It was downright perfect, although it took them forever to make it. The ciabatta was more like focaccia, but that didn't make any difference in this case. I though the duck fat fries were fabulous too, on par with ones I've had at "Duck Fat" in Portland, Maine. I also sampled a blackberry turnover (good), a chocolate chip cookie (decent), and a chocolate-pecan pie (not so good). A neighboring table had shrimp and grits, which looked amazing. Overall, I loved it and I'd go back for sure. It makes a nice excursion from Chapel Hill, but yeah it's pretty far from Raleigh.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: brsmith2

                                                  We were there yesterday, too, and I was wondering about that sandwich. Nice to know it was that good. We had the same issues with portion consistency as we had in my previous review upthread. Unfortunately, it was the Spouse who got shorted yet again. His Shrimp and Grits were good, but there really wasn't much in the way of grits in his bowl. He was poaching off of my brisket plate. The vegetarian in the party ordered the grouper omelette and was very happy. Another diner also had the Briskfast and was very unhappy. I had warned him beforehand that the brisket was more like an Italian pot roast than anything else. Still, he complained that it didn't have enough "barbecue sauce flavor." No point in explaining that it wasn't supposed to have any. We shared the balckberry turnover and the last pice of blackberry coffee cake. The turnover was by far the better. Once again, very long waits for the food.
                                                  Same conclusions as above, but the proposed pub sounds very interesting.

                                                  1. re: rockycat

                                                    We went last Saturday and felt that while the restaurant had merit, the cooking wasn't strong enough to overcome the execution issues with service. We were there when they posted the specials at 5:30 and our order took well over an hour to get to us. They seemed to get behind almost immediately, though to be fair they took a huge amount of orders in a short time.

                                                    My suggestion is to either call ahead and order carry out or to avoid this place on the weekends in the summer, if you hate to wait.

                                                    1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                                                      Saturdays in Saxapahaw. It was the most attended festival in their history, SGS was the only food in town. Not typical.

                                                2. This place sounds fantastic! My daughter goes to Elon and we're always looking for good places to eat, not too far from Burlington. But I have a few questions: the reviews here are fairly old. Is it still as good as it was? And how many tables do they have? It sounded very small and like you'd have to wait a long time to be seated.
                                                  Any updates would be appreciated. Thanks!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: blk616

                                                    A group of us looked forward every year to head to Saxapahaw on a Friday night twice a year. The first time was incredibly good, the subsequent visits became less fabulous each time. I don't think we're going back -- I got the feeling most of the energy is heading to the new pub they opened in an adjacent space. We never had to wait for a table, but it wasn't raining -- dining time was about 7 or so. . I'd be curious what you think. I was so pleased to have found it, and the last time I was embarrassed to have brought the group (two out of 8 entrees were good, six had issues of overcooking, oversalting, or being cold -- nothing was killer even though it all sounded like it should be). The very last time it wasn't busy at all -- about 8 or 10 tables on the porch were all empty. It may be better for lunch?

                                                    1. re: birgator

                                                      We've had problems with their being inconsistent for quite a while. When they're good, they're very good. However, in the same meal some dishes will be very satisfying, others not so. Some will be generous, others skimpy. And we've had the same problem at the pub. The last time we were at the pub, my portion of a shared appetizer was larger than my entire entree. Go figure. Service can also be very random. I don't really know what to tell you, but we don't go all that often any more.

                                                    2. re: blk616

                                                      I'm going to put in a definite thumbs-up for SGS! I haven't been for dinner in quite some time, but go for lunch I'd say about every other month (I live in Raleigh, so a trip there is a bit of a schlep unless I have to be in Chapel Hill). I was there last week and had the braised brisket sandwich on ciabatta, and my friend had the salmon sandwich. Mine was tender and flavorful, but his salmon sandwich was aaaahhhh-mazing! I like salmon, but have no idea what they did to make it taste so freaking awesome. I guess it was a combination of the sauce, the cooking, the bread, etc. Another lunch favorite of mine is the goat burger - highly delectable!

                                                      I think your family will be very happy with your experience. I haven't been to the pub, but the last time I did go for dinner it was extremely crowded, which naturally accounted for the slowness, but the quality of the food was not diminished in the least. Try it for lunch first, and then go back for dinner if you are happy. Someone may need to help me out with this, but I don't think there is quite the variety of available entrees at lunch as there are at dinner.

                                                    3. Featured in the NY Times today (I'll withhold my usual snide comment about the Times' weird (justified!) obsession w/ Triangle food).

                                                      The Pub was packed tonight and the crab cakes were first rate. Shepard's Pie was tasty (technically cottage pie since it was beef but I didn't leave any evidence behind). Also Foothills Brewery's "Total Eclipse Stout", new to me, is just about perfect.

                                                      http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/...

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: brokegradstudent

                                                        What a great article - no idea how I missed it (oh yeah, maybe trying to get a 5 year old off to school while reading the paper). Thank you so much for pointing it out, and most of all thank you for being the one who told the rest of us about this place. I still haven't been to the pub, and need to go.

                                                        1. re: brokegradstudent

                                                          I saw this yesterday too, and was thinking about hopelessly packed the place would become now ...

                                                          1. re: romansperson

                                                            Go on a weeknight and you'll be fine.

                                                        2. Just an update: Mom, Ahma, and I had an utterly fantastic meal there this evening. It had been a while since I had been fortunate enough to dine at SGS and it was every bit as wonderful as it always has been. Mom and I got the lamp burger and goat burger, respectively, and a side of these so-goo-I-could-have-cried duck-fat fries and they were luscious, moist, flavorful and I was so sad when I reached my last bite.

                                                          However, even as excellent as the burgers were, Ahma had the star of the evening: a Jamaican-style oxtail stew. Man oh man. It had sort of a sweet and tangy/sour backdrop to the braised meat and rich broth and I know I am not doing it justice describing how awesome it was.

                                                          Definitely continues to be one of my very tip-top favorite Triangle restaurants.