On our way up to see Eric Church in Greensboro, NC, we were running a little later than we had planned, so we decided to grab lunch on the way. Dawn grabs the GPS and starts looking for BBQ places. We find a couple places on the way, but they all seem to be a good ways off the interstate, so we kept looking. She then finds Gary's Barbecue. It's in this place called China Grove, that neither of us had even ever heard of, but it seemed close to the interstate and had good reviews, so we said "lets give it a shot."
When you drive in from the interstate you have to go past the restaurant and do a U-turn to get in. This gave us the perfect opportunity to see if it passes the BBQ restaurant "eye test" ... You know, does it look like a BBQ restaurant? To be considered a BBQ restaurant, it has to be a simple, nothing too flashy, style building. It needs a stack of wood somewhere in the back/side of the build (if this is missing, you have to question what they're actually cooking with), and most importantly, you need to see some smoke rolling through the air somewhere other than above the bathrooms. Now, there may be some "fancy" places that serve pulled pork, ribs, brisket etc, but that's not a BBQ restaurant.
As soon as we pasted it I knew, this is going to be good. If the building itself didn't tell that story, the completely packed parking lot did.
The second we walked in I could tell this was a pretty cool place. They have all kinds of nostalgic ads, memorabilia, and cars in this place. The story of the building and how much they've grown in their 40 years is really cool to read on the menu, too.
Ok, so on to the most important part, the food.
We each ordered the chopped (we're in NC remind you) pork plate, and they come out exactly as you'd expect from a good ol' BBQ joint.
The pork came out with nothing more than smoke and pork. As I mentioned above, the way you'd expect from a good ol' BBQ joint.
With that said, if you're going to have "plain" pork, your sauce better be amazing. Gary's sauce ... is amazing. It has that very tradition taste, but with a lot more flavor. If you're wondering about the fries, throw a dash of salt and pepper on them and chow them down.
When we do our random restaurant stops it's a hit and miss. We basically have to go off of pictures and reviews offline, and unlike mine, those reviews aren't always 100% correct :-)