Category Archives: Siler City
In the pastoral, rolling hills of western Chatham County is a charming country home that has been converted into a great country restaurant called The Old Place. The first time I ever heard about The Old Place was on UNC-TV when Bob Garner reviewed it many years ago. So, my husband and I went and when we arrived there was a line halfway around the building. We knew it was going to be good.
Since then, we have returned many times and enjoyed the food each time we have eaten there. It’s a place we frequently take out of town guests as we like them to have some Southern cooking while visiting North Carolina.
When you first enter the building, you’ll be greeting by a friendly staff and will pay for the buffet. Yes, the restaurant is buffet, all you can eat. You will then enter the buffet area and will have a plethora of tempting treats including chicken and dumplings, fried white fish, country ham and country style steak, chitterlings, green beans, succotash, turnip greens, fried okra, yams, pickled beets, mashed potatoes, and much more. I always start off with a piece of either the corn bread of the cracklin’ corn bread. I have to have a piece of the fried chicken, then I then pile on all the veggies I can muster. Of course, I have to come back for dessert.
That’s because the desserts are wonderful too! From a variety of cobblers, to apple crisps, to banana pudding with a homemade meringue, this is a dessert lover’s delight.
The dining area is comfy and yet large enough to accommodate the folks to come each weekend. Many people know each other, because, after all, you are in the country. Even those of us who are from outside the immediate area, though, are treated like old friends
While on our annual trip to Southern Supreme, my friend and I stopped by The Old Place for Sunday brunch. It was my friend’s first trip there and she loved it. I had a plate full of all my favorites: fried chicken, green beans, yams, turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, a berry cobbler and other goodies as well. I had to have a glass of sweet tea to wash it all down. This is like getting a big Southern hug. Their chicken breasts are big and meaty, most likely coming from one of the many chicken farmers nearby. The crust is flaky and perfectly browned with just the right amount of seasoning. The beans have the saltiness of the fatback that they were cooked in, but they are not too soggy, as some green beans tend to get at some other southern food restaurants. The succotash is made with tender littler butter beans and kernels of corn. The macaroni and cheese is soft and creamy, and is covered with lots of cheese. The yams are roasted in some butter and I’m guessing some brown sugar. I had a big ole’ serving of the berry cobbler, which is warm and has a gold, flaky crust on it. The only thing missing is a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but even without that, it is great. Good thing we had planned to walk around Siler City for awhile, because I knew I would have to walk off some of all this great food!
One thing is for sure — you won’t leave hungry! I always leave this place stuffed to the gills because it’s so hard to pass up all the great country goodies.
The Moore family, who owns The Old Place, know how to cook up a great meal. The interesting thing about this restaurant is that is it only open Friday through Sunday. Lu Anne and Laura Moore are in charge of the culinary team and do a fantastic job serving a soul-satisfying meal.
The Old Place is located at 289 Elmer Moore Road Bear Creek, NC south off Siler City, just off of Highway 421. They are open Friday and Saturday from 4pm- 9pm and Sunday from 11am-6pm. 919-837-5131.
Every year I look forward to the day when my friends and I take our annual trek to Southern Supreme in Bear Creek, just south of Siler City. I call it our “over the river and through the woods” trip. Southern Supreme is out in the country, so the trip to their store is half the fun. We usually travel from Pittsboro to Route 902, which is a twisty, windy road that goes past lots of farms with cows and horses. It is a really pretty ride. After crossing over Rt. 421, I start to wonder, “Where in the heck is this place?” By the time we pass a few more roads, I always think, maybe I’ve gone too far and have driven past the turn off, but no, after I cross one more road and get to Harper’s Crossing, I see the sign for Southern Supreme and the fruitcakes and know we are close. Just one more pretty ride down Hoyt Scott Road (named after the owner of Southern Supreme).
Did I say fruitcakes? Yes, that is what Southern Supreme is most famous for. Now, I have to explain that this is not that God awful fruitcake that was passed from family member to family member and was hard as a rock and tasted sickly sweet. No, Southern Supreme’s fruitcake should be more aptly named a nut cake. It is filled with lots of nuts and is not as sweet as some of those other fruitcakes. The fruitcake is famous and has been mentioned on the Food Network, and several magazines in the past. I swear to you, it is the best fruitcake I’ve ever had, and that’s one reason I don’t mind making this trip each year.
But, there is much more in this store than just the fruitcakes. You can find all kinds of southern goodies, such as pralines, cinnamon flavored pecans, truffles, fruitcake cookies, jams, jellies, brandied peaches, mustards, relishes, other kinds of cookies, flavored coffees and lots of little trinkets.
Of course, the store is jam packed with people the closer you get to Christmas, but it’s also the most fun time to come. I love seeing all the ladies wearing their Christmas sweaters, so, of course, I also have to wear mine when I go there!
The Scott family started this business in Bear Creek many years ago in the family garage. Word quickly spread and before they knew it, they had a thriving business on their hands. A few years ago, the county was able to get county water hooked up to their facility, allowing Southern Supreme to grow even more.
Even now that the business has grown, I always see members of the Scott family in the showroom. I saw Hoyt, the father of the Scott family, moving boxes of products into the showroom and said hello to him, even though he doesn’t know who I am. He is as friendly as can be. All of the Scott family and their employees will treat you well and shower you with their Southern hospitality.
I was also really happy to have some of the ladies help me gather some products together and they created a beautiful gift basket for my in-laws. I watched as one of the ladies handmade the bow to go on the basket. Now that’s customer service!
If driving to Bear Creek doesn’t appeal to you, you can still order all of their goods online. But, you will miss half the fun and no one will see your Christmas sweater at home!
Southern Supreme is located at 1699 Hoyt Scott Rd in Bear Creek, North Carolina. Check the website for store hours.
There is a lot of history behind Johnson’s Drive-In, one of the our state’s most renowned burger joints which has been serving up burgers and fries to loyal customers in Siler City since 1946. There haven’t been that many local burger joints in the state that have been able to stand the test of time against the national chains like McDonald’s, Hardee’s and Burger King plus competing against new chains like Five Guys with similar business models doesn’t help their survival in today’s market.
Since starting Eat It, North Carolina, a lot of my friends have reached out to me about trying new places that they really enjoy. Most of the places are in the city that I live in but a few have been places within about an hour to an hour and a half from Greensboro where I live as well as doing a food weekend in a city or town a few hours away. Russ, a friend of mine from High Point, asked me if I wanted to ride down to Siler City with him when he went for business to try out Johnson’s. We left about 10 a.m. on a weekday and headed down to Siler City.
Johnson’s is open on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but you don’t want to show up late because they usually sell out of burgers before then. We got there around noon but luckily it was raining so Johnson’s wasn’t slammed like I had read that it would be. We still had to wait 15 to 20 minutes for a table but we were able to take in the atmosphere and observe the culture as we waited.
The menu at Johnson’s Drive-In is simple with burgers and dogs plus a grilled cheese and lettuce & tomato sandwich although I don’t think that the last two are bringing all the patrons through the door. Chili costs $0.30 extra, lettuce costs $0.15 extra and tomato costs $0.35 extra but you don’t feel like you are getting nickel and dimed while you’re there because all of the extras are very fresh and they won’t serve anything that isn’t.
Johnson’s is a place that locals love and you will see Claxton Johnson (above in the red hat) chatting them up. He is a friendly guy that will pretty much anyone that comes in there and will always greet you with a friendly smile. Claxton’s father opened up the restaurant in 1946 and Claxton has been working there since he was a child and knows pretty much everyone in town. He is the only one who cooks the burgers and does them in batches so that he has a chance to catch up with his loyal patrons.
Early each morning, Claxton meets a delivery truck at his restaurant to select that day’s meat. He doesn’t use boxed hamburger meat for his burgers. He handpicks whole sides of grain-fed USDA beef and takes them into the back of the restaurant where they are ground and then pattied into tennis ball-sized mounds and sent up to Claxton at the grill. He smashes the mounds of the never frozen beef into patties on the hot grill and then once they are cooked, he melts a thick slice (1/8″) of Velveeta cheese and then lays on the top half of the bun so they all melt together in an uber-gooey melt. He passes them down the line for topping and then they are served immediately.
I admit this isn’t the best picture that I have taken recently. I had a couple of close-up shots but they all turned out a little blurry and out-of-focus. The cheeseburger on the left was an all-the-way (chili, slaw, mustard, onions) and the cheeseburger on the right had lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayo. They were both delicious but when I go back, I am going to stick with the all-the-way burger because the combination of the toppings plus the huge slice of melted Velveeta cheese was incredible.
There isn’t a whole lot going on in Siler City but it is definitely worth the trip there. This is one of the best burgers that I have eaten in North Carolina and will definitely be going back again very, very soon. Let me know if you want to ride. They don’t have a phone at Johnson’s Drive-In so you can’t call and see if they are still serving. I suggest you make it an early lunch at Johnson’s to make sure that you are able to get a burger or two and not be that person who is standing in line for 10 minutes only to be turned away when they run out of meat.