Sunday, May 15, 2005

Blue Plate Special in Mayberry

People who are into television trivia will generally tend to know that Mount Airy, North Carolina, is the home town of Andy Griffith and that Mayberry, the setting of the Andy Griffith Show, is a lightly fictionalized version of Mount Airy. What most people don't know is that Mt Airy has another odd distinction. It appears to be the only place on Earth where you can get a "Ground Steak Sandwich" of the sort they serve there.

Every time I am in Mount Airy I have to eat a Ground Steak Sandwich. I don't particularly like them, mind you, they're not actually very good, but they are so damned peculiar that I simply can't resist. A "Ground Steak" sandwich sounds like it would be just like a hamburger, only made with a better cut of beef, but that's not it at all. It is made with with loose-browned ground beef like a Sloppy Joe except that the tangy tomato sauce is replaced with a thick white sauce. Or, to borrow a military term, it is S.O.S. on a burger bun with a bit of slaw and a slice of tomato.

I had lunch in Mount Airy yesterday and I took a picture of my lunch [!] for my blog. I asked both my waitress and the young man who took my money whether they were aware of any place on earth where you could buy a Ground Steak Sandwich more than twenty miles from the center of downtown Mount Airy. They both said they had heard of a restaurant in Cherokee that serves them (200 miles) but added that the owner was originally from Mt Airy.

I should add that Mount Airy is a pleasant place to visit if you are in the area. It is a small North Carolina town in the foothills of the Appalacian mountains which gets a bit of a boost from Andy Griffith tourism but not enough to lose its soul. [Yes, I am thinking of Gatlinburgland, the themepark built on the hollowed out shell of Gatlinburg, Tennessee -- a nice little town destroyed by tourism.] Mount Airy's Bluebird Diner on Main Street is an excellent place for lunch. Their food, except as noted here, is quite good and their onion rings are world class. If you are with a group you might want to order one Ground Steak Sandwich (detail) for the table. That way everyone can see it but nobody has to eat it.

[No, a Ground Steak Sandwich is not on The R Factor Diet!]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My daughter, at age six, had a saying that would be appropriate here: Don't look at your food too closely before you eat it, you might decide you don't want it. ~B