Lee County due for influx of BBQ, Southern cooking

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Allen and Son BBQ, the locally famous purveyors of Pittsboro pork, are coming to Lee County later this month, the owner has confirmed. They'll take over the small building on U.S. 1, located just south of Tramway Road, which housed Jackson Brothers BBQ until it closed earlier this summer.

Owner Jimmy Stubbs said he thinks the new restaurant, which opens Sept. 17 and will serve food from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, will draw big crowds at first. Lots of people in Sanford are familiar with his restaurant on Highway 15-501, he said, having stopped by on their way to or from Chapel Hill. The trick, he said, will be establishing a loyal customer base here in town.

"I think it's going to do well if we serve good food," he said. "I think they're going to come either way [at first]. We got to give 'em good food at a good price to get them to come back. That's the key."

This new restaurant's menu will be basically the same as in Pittsboro, Stubbs said, and it will probably also be cash-only — althugh he said he might experiment with allowing cards.

He'll also be facing some nearby competition from another new barbecue restaurant opening up off of U.S. 1.

Mo's BBQ, which is locating where Carli's South Bar and Grill used to be, just south of the Palomino Motel at 1512 Westover Drive, is scheduled to open in the next two to three weeks.

Owner Glenn Lancaster said he hasn't finalized the hours yet, but the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner at first, then expanding to offer breakfast once it's up and running and he can find people willing to work those early hours.

"It's your basic barbecue ... and we'll have other items for people who don’t like barbecue or who had enough this week," Lancaster said. "Tuna salad, chicken salad, grilled cheese, hot dogs, things for kids, plus a dinner special each day."

And in the opposite corner of the county, at 817 Cumnock Road, Bud's Barbecue is "still going strong," according to Denise Bost.

Bost's husband, Billy, ran the restaurant until his death in June. While she's still working full time at Static Control, Bost said she has no intention of selling, closing or doing anything else with the establishment that is a favorite of many locals — full of a mix of antique household items, children's artwork and news articles about the deadly coal mining accidents that once occurred in the Cumnock area.

"I've got a good group, so they're keeping things going," Bost said. "I don't worry too much. Everybody was there with [Billy], so they know what to do."

And in another pocket of the county — downtown Jonesboro, to be exact — yet another restaurant is opening.

Monifa's Southern Food and Catering will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at 11 a.m. at 116 E. Main St. It will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 2 to 8 p.m. For more information, go to www.monifassouthernfood.com or call (919) 774-1400.

Zane Marks, a Sanford native, is opening the restaurant with his wife, Akilah. They'll focus on classic soul food, and especially one sweet and savory dish they think hasn't been getting enough love from other restaurants in town.

"We're going to try to push the chicken and waffles, make it big here," Akilah Marks said. "A lot of people talk about it, but no one's really doing it. We want to make it a thing here in town."

As for other places to get fried chicken, two new fast-food places are set to open in Lee County in the coming months. A new Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits has been confirmed for the large development at the corner of Tramway Road and U.S. 1, and the county's first Zaxby's has been approved to come in near the Walmart on Highway 87.

It's unclear when either will be up and running, however. The construction permit hasn't been issued for Zaxby's yet, and while Bojangles' does have its construction permit, no one from the corporate office returned calls seeking more information on when it might open. The permit is good through Feb. 15.

And finally there's the former Tony's Seafood building on Horner Boulevard. Renovation work has been ongoing there for months, but no official plans have been announced. County planning and inspections officials said they don't know of any renter and are quick to point out that the only permits issued so far are for exterior work, which would indicate that the property's owners don't have a specific tenant yet.

Calls to the Guo and Zheng Investment group, which owns the property and lists a 919 area code phone number, have been answered by someone saying he doesn't speak English, only Chinese.