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Southern Lunch Getaway

In an era where "time is money" and "speed is the need," fast food restaurants and meals on-the-run have become the norm, rather than the exception. Among the super-sized chaos, however, there exists several traditional, southern lunch counters in Western North Carolina that offer a wealth of charm and nostalgia to those with a little more time.

Since the early twentieth century, lunch counters have been a staple of the southern dining experience, and have maintained a presence despite the effects of the "dine on the dash" revolution.

Unlike its fast food cousins, lunch counters do not flag patrons down with 50-feet signs and in-your-face advertising. Visitors typically have to search them out and word-of-mouth continues to be the preferred publicity tool. Some, however, have had a little help in getting the word out. In Mt. Airy the oldest eating establishment in town is Snappy Lunch, which has become famous from several mentions on the 1960s television series "The Andy Griffith Show."

Lunch counters are a great place for a bite to eat and a glimpse of the past and they also demonstrate the determination of a community to maintain a sense of where it came from. In many of the older, historic towns of the state, the lunch counter is a reflection of the people and personality that established the community's identity. The survival of the lunch counter reflects the commitment of these towns to preserving the values and ideals that defined them, and ensuring they pass on to future generations."

Whether your taste is hamburgers and milkshakes or breakfast with all the fixings, North Carolina's lunch counters offer a taste of Americana that you can't find elsewhere. A selection of Western North Carolina lunch counters include:

Snappy Lunch , Mt. Airy -- The oldest eating establishment in town, Snappy Lunch is famous for several mentions in "The Andy Griffith Show."

Hilltop Restaurant, Burnsville -- Highly reminiscent of earlier decades, the Hilltop is noted for classic hamburgers, though the restaurant has a full menu of lunch specials, including Mexican dishes. The fact that regulars include judges and Yancey County politicos attests to the fare.

Olde Tyme Soda Fountain & Grille, Boone -- A classic example of a lunch counter masquerading as s drug store, located in the Boone Drug Company.

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