‘Interstate Eateries’ will keep you full

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2009

By Deirdre Parker Smith
Now that gas is cheaper and the big rush is over, pick up a little food advice and hit the road.
D.G. Martin has updated “Interstate Eateries,” published by Our State magazine.
Martin, host of “North Carolina Bookwatch” on UNC-TV, is on the road a lot, writes for Our State and does pieces for its public television show.
You may have seen him at some of the restaurants and food stands he writes about ó the distinguished-looking white haired man.
Martin is an enthusiastic supporter of North Carolina who has worked at two state universities and ran against John Edwards in 1998 for the U.S. Senate seat.
“Interstate Eateries” is a roundup of good home-cooking along North Carolina’s major highways, and slightly off those thoroughfares, too.
In his introduction, Martin writes, “To me, home cooking means more than just good food. It also means eating in a place that makes you feel comfortable ó like home.
“I like it best when waitresses who’ve been working there forever call me ‘hon’ and keep my glass full of sweet tea without my having to ask.”
So, is Salisbury in here?
Sure enough.
So is China Grove, Kannapolis, Lexington, Spencer.
He praises Townhouse II in Kannapolis, Gary’s Barbecue and Porky’s in China Grove, the Farmhouse and Richard’s Bar-b-q in Salisbury and Our Place Cafe in Spencer.
Naturally, all the spots in Lexington are barbecue joints ó Jimmy’s, Whitley’s and Lexington.
You’ll also find color photos of Gary’s and Our Place Cafe in the center of the book.
He helpfully arranges the places by interstate, so if you’re traveling I-40 or I-77 or I-85, you can check out what’s ahead.
He also covers I-26, I-73-74 and I-95, which is handy for traveling the western and eastern parts of the state.
Descriptions are short and sweet, with directions and phone number for each. Sadly, restaurants are closing all the time, so it might be a good idea to call and make sure these are still open as you ride down the highway.
Barbecue seems to be the main ingredient, or Bar-B-Q or Bar-B-Que or BBQ. Also look for family restaurants and diners and buffets. Seafood swims through now and then, an Italian place (run by a man from Egypt), a Chinese restaurant (owned by a family from Cambodia of Chinese descent), so there is diversity in the dining, but nothing too outlandish. No molecular gastronomy for folks on the road.
Somehow, you want something that will stick to your ribs.
The thin paperback will fit easily into a glove compartment or seat pocket, and at $6.95 is cheaper than many of the meals you’ll find.
The book is available in most bookstores or through Our State magazine.