2018-02-10 / Editorial

Good food off the beaten path

This week my editors are letting me take a break from politics and books to write about my favorite topic, roadside eateries.

Here are two gems along U.S. 421 between Sanford and Greensboro.

Rufus’ Restaurant, Goldston

“There is nothing as good as a Rufus Burger,” one of the southern Chatham County locals told me recently. “You can get one at Rufus’ Restaurant right up the road in Goldston.” Goldston (pop. 300) is a trip back in time. And chowing down on the burger at Rufus’ Restaurant is a world-class treat.

The Rufus Burger was the creation of Rufus Owens, who operated the restaurant with his wife Jane for almost 30 years until he died in 2003. These days Jane oversees the operation of the restaurant from her favorite booth.

She insists that there is a lot more good food at the restaurant other than the Rufus Burger. “And if I don’t eat it,” she said, “I don’t serve it.”

Just before I left, Jane told me, “I know everybody thinks Claxton’s burger at Johnson’s up in Siler City is the best, but we think the Rufus Burger has it beat.”

1977 N. Main St., Goldston, NC 919-898-4841. Open breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Saturday.

Bestfood Cafeteria, Siler City

Bestfood is a place you want to be when you are real hungry for fresh country cooking. When I visited for supper, the tables were full and the cafeteria and salad bar lines were moving at a fast pace. Co-owner Mike Terry told me that his salad bar was popular not just from a wide variety of greens, dressings, and sides. It also includes fried chicken, which makes the salad bar a complete meal. Many customers skip the salad bar to take advantage of the variety of meats and local vegetables in the cafeteria line where there was a lot of food for a modest price.

Mike met his partner, Art White, while they were cooking for events at church. During their 13-plus years at Bestfood, they have added an upscale steakhouse and a gift shop. When I asked about the secret of their success, Mike said simply, “We’ve been blessed.”

220 E. Eleventh St. Siler City, 919-742-2475. Open for lunch and supper Mon.- Sat. and lunch on Sunday.

D.G. Martin is host of North Carolina Bookwatch, which airs on WUNC-TV.

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