We love a good story of great food and North Carolina history. The story of Charlie Graingers begins way back in 1939 when a travelling musician named Charlie Grainger decided to settle down with his wife in Wilmington. He bought a small building downtown and decided to open a restaurant. After many years, he retired and the building was left empty, but not forgotten. In 2012, Louis North decided to purchase this building and bring back the good food and homey feeling that Charlie Grainger brought to his original restaurant. This, of course, is why Louis decided to name the restaurant after Charlie. Now Charlie Graingers serves the original amazing hotdogs, with some added menu items, like brisket and barbeque. The original location in Wilmington did so well that Louis decided to expand, bringing Charlie Graingers to 12 different locations between Maryland and Florida, and now we have our very own here in the Triangle.
I was lucky enough to go to the Grand Opening celebration of the new Charlie Graingers in Morrisville a few weeks ago. As I walked in I was greeted by live music and the amazing smell of barbeque. The restaurant itself is suitable for both a quick grab-n-go lunch, and a sit down meal with your friends. While it is fairly small and utilizes counter service, there are quite a few comfy seats to chose from as well. Being famous for their hot dogs, I knew I had to give one a try.
I decided to go for the Stetson ($3.75), which had mayo, melted cheese, chili, and crunchy fried potato stix. Now I know that everyone has different tastes in hot dogs, and I’m pretty picky myself, but I loved this dog. I personally prefer a hot dog without a thick skin, so I was very pleased. I also appreciated the thick, soft, fluffy bun, which helped to tame the messy toppings. The toppings weren’t anything particularly out of the box, but it was definitely a great classic dog.
My friend and I also decided to split The Wilmington Sandwich ($7.95), after an employee told us it was her favorite. This sandwich was made of Beef Brisket, pimento cheese, pickled jalapeños, molasses BBQ sauce, Jamaican Relish, and creamy cole slaw. While I did feel it was a little pricey, this sandwich was truly packed full and served on a bun that was a little toastier than the hot dog bun, but still nice and soft. I really enjoyed all of the flavors of this sandwich, and to me it was more of a standout dish than the dog. I felt like I was getting everything Southern packed in to one big, juicy, sandwich. We also decided to try the Brisket Baked Beans ($3.79), because my friend was a huge baked beans fan. I’m not the baked bean connoisseur that she is, but I did enjoy them. They were nice and sweet, and the chunks of brisket added hint of saltiness.
I think that Charlie Graingers will be a great addition to the Cary/Morrisville food scene. They also sell dishes like BBQ and Chicken Salad by the pound and have dinner specials that allow you to try a few different things for a discounted price. As Southerners we can really never get enough hot dogs and BBQ, and Charlie Graingers has a lot to offer.
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to try certain products. This meal or items are usually comped, as these was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
Melissa Guido is currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves traveling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.