I once consider writing a travel book of the new south, something like "Burgers, Barbecue, Bagels, and Beans." I decided that the research would do be me in before I could finish the book. Bagels do not seem to be as popular as they were a few years ago so I am not sure they would be a good topic these days. Beans are a far too complicated, but I do claim to have one of the best baked bean recipes around, "The Best Baked Bean Recipe ever."
I will remain content trying to find the best burgers while sampling some great barbecue when I am fortunate enough to run across a true barbecue joint. My gold standard is the burger my buddy Stephen cooked me a couple of summers ago in Northern Virginia. Unfortunately his burger stand is never where I need it to be.
This past week on one of my marathon drives in the rain, I pulled into a Cookout drive through burger restaurant in Sanford, NC. If you are not familiar with Cookout, you should give them a try. They have very good charcoal burgers. I have eaten at the one in Mount Airy, NC a couple of times with very good results.
Unfortunately with my Sanford stop, I was in a rush so I ate my burger at the stoplights while driving through Sanford. That is not a very satisfying way to eat a burger. I had hoped to find a Cookout in Wilmington this weekend to actually enjoy one of their burgers, but I did not have any luck. However, while searching for great burgers, I found a local chain called P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille. One of their locations was not far from the University of NC at Wilmington, so I slipped down there for lunch break.
It was a typical crowded college place where you filled out your own order form. I came away with a very large cheeseburger, fries, and a drink for $7. It was an excellent burger. It is a very different burger from the Burger in the Square burger that I nominated as the "The Best Burger in Roanoke." The P.T. burger reminded me a little of one from "Five Guys Famous Burgers."
If you are in Wilmington, NC and looking for a very good burger with some salt and pepper home made fries, P.T.'s Olde Fashioned Grille is a good place to start. Their three locations are at:
Fountain Dr (College) 392-2293
So. 17th St. (Hospital) 794-4544
Military Cutoff (Wright. Beach) 256-8850