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home : news : e-news August 18, 2022

4/30/2014 2:27:00 AM
Restaurant Scene: Some Changes Coming
Above: PopeyesBelow: Sweetfire BBQ New Location(Lincoln Herald Staff Photos)
Above: Popeyes

Below: Sweetfire BBQ New Location

(Lincoln Herald Staff Photos)
+ view more photos

Wayne Howard
Reporter


When Popeyes closed the deal buying the former Its location, they told us they would be opening by the end of April.  That sounded overly ambitious, but it turned out to be accurate.  Popeyes opened for business on Tuesday (April 29th).

New restaurants often draw huge crowds when they first open, and Popeyes was certainly no exception.  Finding a parking place was not easy.  For some, this was the first time they had ever eaten at a Popeyes.  Others had been to Popeyes in other cities.  The new Lincolnton location is the furthest west location in North Carolina.  The nearest other locations are at Mooresville and Concord to the east and Johnson City, Tennessee to the west.

I ordered the Surf & Turf combo--no, it's not lobster and steak, it's shrimp & chicken--and it's no longer available, even though the flashing board overhead still shows it.  Since that wasn't available, to check out the new Popeye's (I've eaten at Popeyes many times elsewhere...they had a location on Freedom Drive in Charlotte many years ago, but they left the market and that location is now a Bojangles) I ordered a Tackle Box (shrimp) combo and a chicken breast as well. 

It's no secret to anyone that Popeyes and Bojangles are somewhat alike.  Popeyes sells shrimp and Bojangles sells breakfast, but both are known for their spicy chicken.  I've been a bit disappointed in recent years that Bojangles chicken isn't as spicy as it once was--it all started when they offered a choice of Cajun or Southern style and eventually the Cajun became much more like the Southern and a lot less spicy.  Based on the breast I ate Tuesday, Popeyes has also gone milder than I remembered.  Both serve biscuits--and I'd give Bojangles biscuits the nod on that front.  As for the fries, there's no comparison--Bojangles wins that one hands down.  Popeyes offering of shrimp and fish will mark one difference that may cause some to choose Popeyes over Bojangles.  The chicken, based on my taste test, is pretty much the same.  Of course, taste is individual, and your opinion may be completely different from mine. 

Popeyes does offer one thing that some will enjoy.  They have a Coca-Cola Freestyle touchscreen soda dispenser.  The machine allows users to select from mixtures of flavors of Coca-Cola branded products and added flavors like grape, cherry, raspberry, etc. 

Another 'new' restaurant opened last week when Sweetfire BBQ moved to the former Lucy's location at the corner of S. Generals Blvd. (commonly called the bypass by old-timers) and Country Club Road.  Chances are you've sampled their offerings before at events like Hog Happenin' or at the corner of East Main and Generals Blvd. where they sold out of their mobile kitchen.  In the new location, they've added Tony's ice cream to their offerings.  Based on their first week, the move was a good one.  The parking lot hasn't been as full as Popeyes on its first day, but it has been almost full most of the time during lunch and dinner periods.

It's not a new restaurant--but Taco Bell has added breakfast to its offerings.  Despite the TV ads featuring men named Ronald McDonald, they really haven't made a dent in the McDonald's breakfast sales.  Hardee's and Bojangles have both been the other strong players on fast food breakfrast--and that continues. (see note at end of article re: Breakfast at Popeyes)


Work on the new location of Zaxby's in front of the Walmart at NC16 & NC73 is moving at a fast pace.  Also new in east Lincoln is the Dunkin Donuts on NC16-business, which is, if anything, even busier than the one on East Main Street in Lincolnton. 

Two relatively new restaurants serving seafood seem to be doing well.  Red Fish Grill opened last year at 421-A N. Generals Blvd.  They're only open Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 until 9, but seem to have developed a fair following since they opened, moving the name from the Country Club location.

Lighthouse Fish Camp & Grill is an even bigger success story.  They opened last year at 1920 Gastonia highway (US321-business south) and have been growing steadily.  They're open for dinner only on Wednesday and both lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday.

Lincolnton's biggest restaurant is Homesteads Grill & Taphouse.  It hasn't happened yet, but owner Byron Sackett told us during the winter that he was going to open a patio for outside dining this year.  Homesteads, on Generals Blvd., is open for lunch and dinner every day.

A Lincolnton landmark continues to operate.  Several months ago, rumors were rampant that the Lincoln House Restaurant might close.  David Farrar told us he might have to find another location if the owner of the building didn't make some repairs.  Farrar told us Tuesday that some repairs have been made and others promised and for now, he's planning to continue his operation at its current location.  Older Lincolntonians can remember when the Lincoln House was not only Lincolnton's best restaurant--it was the only place where lunch and dinner meetings could be held. 

We keep hearing people complaining about the lack of restaurants in the Lincolnton area.  By our rough count, including fast food locations, you could eat one meal daily at a different restaurant every day for a month in the immediate Lincolnton area and you wouldn't have eaten at all the restaurants when the month was over.  While the distance you might have to drive may be a bit more, the same is also true for East Lincoln. 

So whatever your food choices, Bon Appetit!

REPORTER'S NOTE:  My previous experience with Popeyes did not include breakfast.  They traditionally did not serve breakfast, but they test marketed it last year at their Mooresville and Concord locations and it has been added in many markets.  The Lincolnton Popeyes DOES serve breakfast.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Natalie Veres

Please withdraw the comment about our "taking over Main Street Cafe" - that deal is not completed and your releasing that information without checking with the principals is irresponsible. It is true we have decided to not locate on Court Street and are working on an alternative space in Lincolnton.
Thank you, Natalie Veres
Vice President, Farmer-Baker-Sausage Maker, Inc.




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