photographs by Anagram Photo // Above: The Main Line art and craft store; the historic Graham Cinema; a community mural off North Main Street.

When Griffin McClure researched old advertisements for Green and McClure Furniture, he was surprised to learn that the store was once open until midnight on Saturdays. “The odd hours were built around accommodating the shift changes at the local textile mills,” he explains.

A lot has changed since the store opened in 1907 — including the hours — but the business has remained a fixture in downtown Graham. In the years since he started sweeping floors as a teenager, McClure, the fourth-generation owner of Green and McClure, has witnessed the once-struggling downtown undergo a dramatic revitalization. “People are rediscovering city centers,” he says. “They want community and conversation, and that is bringing them back to downtown.”

McClure is part of the team shaping the vision for downtown Graham. He hopes that investments like the renovation of the Oneida Mill Lofts, a former textile mill that dates back to 1882, into a residential building will help achieve the live/work/play atmosphere that will sustain the neighborhood. “We’ve really had some momentum, but we’re still a blank canvas to some degree,” he says. “What we do well, we do well in a small footprint.”

 

Steve’s Garden Market & Butchery. McClure says that the neighborhood market provides downtown Graham with a walkable grocery option by stocking fruits, vegetables, meat, and gourmet items like pimento cheese, jams, and prepared meals made on-site.

329 West Harden Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 226-4078 or stevesgardenmarket.com

 


 

Smokehouse at Steve’s. Last year, Justin Long, owner of Steve’s, opened a smokehouse adjacent to the market. The crown jewel is the wood-fired smoker. “He’s really intentional about putting great food on the plate, and it shows,” McClure says.

331 West Harden Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 506-4444

 

 


 

Press Coffee + Crepe. While Press serves cappuccinos and cold brews, it’s much more than a coffee shop. The weekend brunch menu includes beer, wine, and spirits, and made-to-order sweet and savory crepes prepared with local ingredients.

133 North Main Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 395-3645 or presscc.com

 

 


 

Roasted Coffee Depot. Part café, part gift shop, Roasted Coffee Depot serves up lattes and local art. Browse one-of-a-kind items or order a bagel or cinnamon roll and relax on the patio near Court Square.

131 West Elm Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 229-2295 or roastedcoffeedepot.com

 


 

The Verdict on the Square.  It’s not surprising that this restaurant is popular with courthouse staff. “Everything on the menu has a legal theme,” McClure says, from The Supreme Court Burger, to a chicken sandwich called The Stool Pigeon, to the Public Defender po’boy.

28 Northwest Court Square, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 270-3198 or theverdictonthesquare.com

 

 


 

The Graham Soda Shop and Grill.  Generations of the McClure family have piled into the red-and-gray booths at this downtown throwback. Grab a stool at the soda fountain and order a burger and fries or a milkshake to share. Local sports memorabilia, including team photos and jerseys, turn the walls into a time capsule.

22 Northeast Court Square, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 229-0501 or grahamsodashop.com

 

 

 

Fitzgerald & Faulkner.  This Southern Gothic haunt draws crowds, especially on weekends. Classic cocktails like Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and martinis are served alongside charcuterie, deviled eggs, and other light bites.

133 1/2 North Main Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 270-4166 or fitzandfaulkner.com

 

 

 


 

Forgotten Road Ales.  Ben and Janée Farrar “up-and-coming stars in the craft brewing community.” Clockwise from left: the PRM (pineapple, raspberry, mango) sour and the Alpha Cash and Citra Sunshine IPAs.

141 East Harden Street, Graham, NC 27253
facebook.com/forgottenroadales

 

 

 

 

 

The Main Line. This small shop is filled with a curated selection of handmade products, from jewelry, pottery, and painted furniture to soap and pet treats, all made by more than 100 local artists. “It’s like Pinterest came to life,” McClure says.

134 North Main Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 266-9196 or themainlinenc.com

 

 


 

HiFi Records. Owners Jon Guza (left) and Molly Feudale stock an impressive selection of vinyl, and McClure says that they love talking about both famous and emerging artists. The store also has a bar, in case browsing works up a thirst.

103 North Main Street, Graham, NC 27253
(336) 567-4604 or facebook.com/hifirecordsgraham

 

 

 

 

This story was published on

North Carolina-based journalist Jodi Helmer writes about food, farming, and the environment.

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