REVIEW: Brown-Gardiner Drugstore – Greensboro
Brown-Gardiner is one of those places that hasn’t changed much since it first opened in Greensboro. It is one of the few remaining family-owned pharmacies with a lunch counter that I have come across during my food adventures. For me, Brown-Gardiner is a place that I just can fathom how I haven’t been there before. A few years ago, I drove by it hundreds and hundreds of times going back and forth from my apartment and my office without ever realizing that it was a restaurant.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally found out about Brown-Gardiner and decided to head up there for lunch one day. I went up there with my friend, Elliot, and one of his buddies for a quick bite to eat. Elliot’s girlfriend, Ashley, grew up in Greensboro and told me that it was a place I need to review for Eat It, North Carolina. I am glad she told me about it because I don’t think I would have ever made it there if she didn’t say anything about it.
Brown-Gardiner is a gathering place for many different people in Greensboro ranging from local high school students to some of the most influential politicians in Greensboro. It is more than just a place where people eat lunch. People go to Brown-Gardiner to be a part of the Greensboro community and to spend time with each other. It is a very family-oriented place that is the local hot spot for grabbing a quick bite to eat with friends.
Elliot went with a cheeseburger combo with lettuce & tomato which came with a size of large crispy crinkle-cut fries. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and looked great. The burger itself is pretty small and similar in size to a value cheeseburger from McDonald’s or Wendy’s. They cook the patties on a flat top grill that has been there for ages. Elliot saw one of the burgers come out and decided to get an additional hot dog. He said the additional hot dog was a good idea because he didn’t think the burger combo would have filled him up. He said the hot dog was pretty good albeit a little sloppy.
I asked the waitress what I should order and she said, without hesitation, that I needed to try the Nanny Special. This is the signature sandwich which is named after Imogene “Nanny” Sells, who ran the soda fountain for 23 years until she recently passed away in 2008. The sandwich actually sounds a little sketchy on the menu and I was a little hesitant about ordering it. The description for the sandwich is “Steak’um, grilled onions, Swiss cheese, special sauce on a hoagie.”
It doesn’t sound very appealing and didn’t actually look that good when it came to the table either. Frankly, I was a little disappointed at both myself and the waitress who suggested it. I guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because although this sandwich looked sketchy, it had an awesome taste to it. Nanny Special would have just been an ordinary steak sandwich if it wasn’t for the special sauce which was like a hybrid barbecue sauce/ketchup that was interesting for the first bit or two and then just turned extremely delicious for the rest of the sandwich. I wish they would get away from Steak’um and use some real meat for the sandwich but, for what its worth, it was still pretty good.
I would consider Brown-Gardiner Drug Store more of a food experience at a historically relevant place in Greensboro as opposed to a must-go place because of the food. They have delicious hand-squeezed orangeade served over pebble ice which is a must if you go. Brown-Gardiner is one of those places that you should go to take in the community & fun and enjoy a fairly inexpensive, lunch counter. It won’t be the best lunch that you’ve ever eaten but I have the feeling you will have a good experience up there!