Durham's Cracker Barrel lost a customer today, but it wasn't their fault. We were at Duke Hospital to see a church member, and it was getting close to meal time (funny how that happens when we leave the country like that.)
Amanda and I tried Hog Heaven Barbecue at I-85 and Guess Road in Durham instead, and were wowed. Amanda got the BBQ with potato salad and green beans. I got the BBQ and fried chicken breast with baby limas and fried okra. Both plates were $6.75 each, and the tea was awesome. Mark the manager told me it's the same as Bojangles' tea -- S & D.
Nobody knows fried chicken like a Baptist preacher, and I can tell you the fried chicken was the best I'd had in a while, fried just right and juicy, salt and peppered well. It even had Luke saying, "Chick -- en! Chick -- en!" Amanda liked the vinegar BBQ sauce. I preferred the sweet. That is usually reversed for us. Both were the customary NC BBQ red with red and black peppers. But I guess I'll forever be a yellow Upstate SC barbecue person no matter how long we're in NC.
We had banana pudding for dessert. It was the least excellent part of the meal, coming to us in a styrofoam container, cold, but it was still good. We debated whether it was worth the $1.60 we paid for it. We decided it wasn't quite worth that.
The service was great, and the manager asked us twice how our meal was. The dining room attendant asked us at least three times and cleared our table for us. The bathrooms had Scripture verses in them. The office had the Ten Commandments proudly displayed. Their open hours sign said they were closed Sundays to attend worship.
Hog Heaven has been voted Citysearch.com's Best Barbecue in the Triangle 2004 and 2005, and is Durham's best Caterer for 2007. They are in the lead for Best Caterer in the Triangle for 2007.
We spent less money, had better food and service than our usual Durham stop -- Cracker Barrel. I told Mark the manager before I left that Cracker Barrel in Durham had lost a regular customer today. He got so excited he sent me home with two more banana puddings.