“There’s no place like home” and there are some things we find back home that we can’t get wherever we’ve ended up. One of those things for me is Gardner’s Barbeque.
I’m from Rocky Mount NC and eastern style bbq is a significant part of life there. Whether it’s a wedding reception, after a funeral, or some other get together, pulled pork with a vinegar and red pepper sauce will be present. I’ve always enjoyed eastern North Carolina bbq (and Gardner’s Restaurant,) but I never really appreciated it until I moved to Charlotte.
I remember driving past Gardner’s (GAHD nah’s – they don’t pronounce “R’s” in my old neck of the woods) the last time I was in Rocky Mount visiting my parents. After experiencing the amazing smell of fried chicken wafting from the back of the restaurant I declared, “That’s it! We’re having Gardner’s for dinner. I don’t care what anyone says!” No coercing was needed to persuade my wife and parents regarding this decision.
It’s not just the bbq and fried chicken that makes my mouth water when I think about this eastern North Carolina institution. It’s also the green beans, collards, slaw, squash, black eyed peas, Brunswick stew, hush puppies, chicken pastry, fish and shrimp. Can’t decide what you want? No problem. Gardner’s also has a buffet.
Food plays an important role in our lives. It’s part of who we are, how we come together and where we come from. Gardner’s Barbeque tastes like home to me.