“Is that okay, Ralph?” Frances calls from the grill, standing behind the counter at the Olde Carolina Eatery. As soon as you walk in the door, you can sense immediately that this is a place where you not only come to eat, but also to feel a sense of home. The continuous peal of the wind-chimes out front only add to the excited buzz of this restaurant at lunchtime, where almost everyone knows your name.
Frances Burns, the owner and operator of Olde Carolina Eatery, traveled a long hard road to make it from her home state of New Jersey to Burgaw, NC, the charming town she’s called home for 20 years. After Frances’s husband suffered a traumatic back injury, the family lost their home. Filled with determination to support her family, they relocated to Burgaw, and she got a job at the local pharmacy. After working the counter at Dee’s Drugstore for 14 years, Frances moved on to helping out at the local eatery. She eventually took over ownership, and the current version of the Olde Carolina Eatery was born. Today, it is a favorite amongst the locals, with many downtown-ers enjoying it everyday.
Frances, lovingly called “Mama” by the patrons of her store, highlights the historic, homey ambiance of her restaurant, which she has decorated with a variety of items from her past outpost at Dee’s Drugstore. The restaurant boasts a vast, expansive menu including BBQ platters, a variety of sandwiches, hotdogs, and delicious desserts like root beer floats and milkshakes. Each offering seems to fill your spirit along with your belly, like only true comfort food can. Frances speaks with a deep fondness for Burgaw, and, like in her restaurant, she emphasizes the importance of the people and of the communal aspect of the town. She loves that her eatery has become a place of fellowship, and that it has so often been dubbed a “home away from home”.
So, if you find yourself away from home, and in need of some delicious comfort food or some good, old-fashioned TLC, stop by the Olde Carolina Eatery.
It’s worth the drive.