“The coconut pie is to die for,” a customer leans over to say, in that discreet way that lets you know you’ve just been told something special. It is another busy lunchtime at the Rosebriar restaurant in Albemarle — open for just three midday hours on weekdays. In the 1920s building that was once the mill grocery, waitresses shuttle back and forth to plate up slices of the day’s pie offerings from a case to the right of the cash register. Gail Burris, who owns the 25-year-old landmark lunch stop with her husband, Alan, arrives about 8 a.m. each day and bakes 15 to 20 pies, many of them topped with a tall layer of meringue, before the 11 a.m. opening. Pie flavors include orange cream, banana split, and candy bar take-offs of Almond Joy and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Her personal favorite is the strawberry coconut. “Now, don’t put me in front of a computer,” Burris says. “But I can make me some pie.”
To commemorate our 90th anniversary, we’ve compiled a time line that highlights the stories, contributors, and themes that have shaped this magazine — and your view of the Old North State — using nine decades of our own words.