The last time I ate at the Mexican restaurant on Riverside Drive, it was called El Marquez. Later, it was El Agave. Now, it's El Marquez again. The former owner has taken over again and has begun adding a bar to the western end of the location. Open every day except Monday for lunch and dinner, El Marquez had very good food when I ate there before and it was still very good when I tried them last week. I had Pollo Loco and plantains. Some like their plantains with sugar, but I ate mine like french fries with my meal. They were very good.
I saw menudo on their menu, but they didn't have it the day I was there. Menudo (the hearty soup, not the boy band from Puerto Rico) is a staple in Mexico, but not something many would care to try. Some say it's an acquired taste. Hey, I like chitterlings (when prepared right) so I'm inclined to make use of the whole animal. Menudo--when it's good--is spicy and flavorful. It's made with tripe and is also called pancita.
Other restaurant news includes the possible reopening of Lincoln Seafood. It closed suddenly last year. One of the former owners opened Barry's Seafood in the former King's Chicken & Fish location. Now the other is planning on reopening Lincoln Seafood. A post on the Lincoln Seafood Facebook page last week said, "It will be awhile yet."
When Popeye's opened, it took a lot of business from Bojangles briefly, but when the new wore off, most of that business went back. Popeye's has given up on breakfast--not just in Lincolnton but at other locations. In Lincolnton, Bojangles appears to be THE breakfast place. McDonald's runs #2. In Stanley, Hardee's is still the top breakfast spot, although their Bojangles is catching up.
If you like an old-fashioned eggs, grits or hash browns, toast or biscuits and meat breakfast, it's hard to beat Zippers. Of course, City Lunch still offers the lowest priced breakfast (or lunch) anywhere around. In West Lincoln, Mitchem's Kitchen is tops in breakfast and lunch. On highway 16, there are other choices, but I've still found Westlake hard to beat.
When the Lincoln House closed, one of the groups that met there was a biker church group that held breakfast meetings. They were looking for a new place to meet and Byron Sackett posted that Homesteads might soon have breakfast. Byron has also said he's planning on opening another restaurant (or two) but there's been no indication that any of that is happening very soon.
Taco Bell continues to try to make serving breakfast work. Being located next door to Waffle House and across the street from Bojangles may be an advantage or a disadvantage. The advantage may be that if those two are packed, Taco Bell may get some overflow business. I've been less than excited about their breakfast offerings. I love a good breakfast burrito, but I have yet to find one in Lincolnton that really measures up. Harvest Moon Grille added one to their menu--I found it passable but less than exciting. They had something similar on the menu, although served as an open faced pita, but it's been dropped. I told them then it was as close to a good breakfast burrito as I had found in Lincolnton. Taco Bell has already added some changes to their breakfast menu and now I understand they're going to serve biscuits starting soon. I swear I didn't make that up!
Billy's BBQ is finally reopening this week (Tuesday March 10th) on highway 27 in Mt. Holly. While the name implies barbecue (and yes, they serve barbecue), Billy's was a favorite for people in Mt. Holly, Stanley and surrounding areas for home cookin' until the restaurant was destroyed by fire last year. The restaurant had the same owner as Vasilio's on Main Street in Mt. Holly. To their Italian fare, Vasilio's added breakfast while Billy's was closed, but will discontinue breakfast with the reopening of Billy's.
When we reported last year that Big Lots would be moving next to the new Ross store in the old Walmart location, some doubted us. One reader said, "I asked them and they said it isn't so." There were some questions at first--largely because of the repairs needed for the building, but Big Lots and Ross will be neighbors when Ross finally opens this summer.
I'm old enough to remember when the only store that was open 24 hours a day was Hoyle's #2 on East Main Street (next to where Walgreen's is now, the ABC store was there then). Later, every supermarket in town was open 24 hours. Now, the trend has reversed. Bi-Lo cut the hours at its Generals Blvd. store last year. About a month ago, they halted the 24-hour operation at the store on NC27 West. Now both stores are only open until midnight. Other Bi-Lo stores including the one in Stanley have also ceased 24-hour operations.
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