It's an unusually cold day, and I find myself standing in the middle of a parking lot, staring at a less-than-desirable landscape on North Tryon. I love the fact that even with the sounds of the city, and the not-so pleasant view, I can close my eyes and the smell of the building behind me can take me away: Old Hickory House BBQ Restaurant (6538 N. Tryon St.).
The doors of this establishment have the same effect on me as a time machine, and with no windows in the place, I absolutely forget I'm in Charlotte.
I browse the menu a bit, and see their pork plate. It comes with a large helping of pork, and a choice of two sides. As a Georgia boy, I'm particular about my "cue": I want pig; I want it chopped; and I want it on the sweeter side.
Brunswick stew and hushpuppies accompany my meal. When my order arrives, I am taken aback. This is not the barbeque I was expecting. It doesn't have that vinegar punch that most sauces in this part of the woods have. This sauce is sweeter than even most western North Carolina barbecue. I taste the stew, and even it is divine. I almost want to drink it straight out of the ramekin that it is served in.
The best part of the meal comes when I pay; the best barbeque and stew that I have had in North Carolina for only 10 bucks. Skeptic I entered; devoted I left.
Robby Senkbeil is a Culinary Arts graduate, and a Food Service Management student at Johnson & Wales University. Hailing from Northeastern Georgia, his focus and culinary passion lie in preserving the art of true Southern Cuisine. He is a student in CL food critic Tricia Childress' Intro to Food Writing course.