A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Illustrations by Emily Wallace Cheese Biscuits The buttery yellow exterior of Mom’s Grill in Washington is an apt advertisement for the golden biscuits baked inside. True to eastern North Carolina

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Illustrations by Emily Wallace Cheese Biscuits The buttery yellow exterior of Mom’s Grill in Washington is an apt advertisement for the golden biscuits baked inside. True to eastern North Carolina

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Illustrations by Emily Wallace Cheese Biscuits The buttery yellow exterior of Mom’s Grill in Washington is an apt advertisement for the golden biscuits baked inside. True to eastern North Carolina

Illustrations by Emily Wallace


Cheese Biscuits

The buttery yellow exterior of Mom’s Grill in Washington is an apt advertisement for the golden biscuits baked inside. True to eastern North Carolina tradition, each comes stuffed with a thick wedge of melted sharp Cheddar.

Fried Chicken & Potato Wedges

Take a hint from the ampersand in B&B Food Store’s name. Yes, you could simply order fried chicken or just a tray of “taters.” But there’s something magical about the combo — the way the flavors mingle in the Hildebran mini mart’s warming case.

Nabs

For roadside assistance that’s better than jumper cables, a tire iron, or a map, there’s the blazing orange Nab. Lance’s cheese-and-peanut butter crackers are available at nearly every convenience mart in North Carolina — and with good reason. They’re cheap, dependable, and just plain good.

Pickles

Under a gas station’s fluorescent lights, jarred pickles have a gorgeous glow — from olive-green half-sour cukes to vibrant pink sausage links. Aside from the latter, the pickle jar is also perhaps the best place to find a vegetable, and a perfect foil for fried chicken.

Boiled Peanuts

Any gas station worth its salt (and a lot of it) keeps a crock steaming with hot boiled peanuts. That gas station knows, too, to have a stack of Styrofoam cups and a full sleeve of napkins at the ready.

Fried Pork Skins

For the discerning road hog’s palate, there’s Carolina Country Snacks’ fatback skins, deep-fried in Henderson and distributed across the state. Cooked in lard, these chicharrones are extra crunchy (read: extra satisfying).

Cheerwine

More than a century old, Salisbury’s Cheerwine soft drink company predates the proliferation of cars, interstates, and gas stations. But the cherry soda is an excellent console companion — with a jolt of caffeine, extra carbonation, and its cheery cherry tang.

B&G Pies

The crust of a Winston-Salem-made B&G hand pie (made with lard!) is perfectly suited for roadside convenience. But the paper sleeve isn’t bad for an extra layer of protection, especially when it comes to B&G’s five gooey fillings: apple, peach, cherry, lemon, and chocolate.

Hot Dogs

At the Hasty Mart in La Grange, a small sign in the gas station window boasts “Internationally Famous Hot Dogs.” It’s big bravado, but hot dogs are known for roadside hyperbole — even when, as The Grocery Bag in Clayton claims, they’re “almost famous.”

Glove Box Guide

For an A-to-Z exploration of the foods that fuel us, look for Emily Wallace’s Road Sides: An Illustrated Companion to Dining and Driving in the American South in your local bookstore.

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This story was published on Feb 28, 2022

Emily Wallace

Emily Wallace is a freelance writer and illustrator with a master’s in pimento cheese. She is the art director and deputy editor of Southern Cultures, and her illustrated book Road Sides: An Illustrated Companion to Dining and Driving in the American South was published in 2019. Find more of her work at eewallace.com.