His Story: Florence & the Eating Machines
I woke up to the sun peeking through the blinds in our bottom floor bedroom. It was our third morning at Kure Beach. As my feet landed on the cool (and partially sand-covered) tile floor, I heard the shower kick-on from our side of the Jack-and-Jill bathroom shared with my brother.
“Damn-it” I muttered, needing to use the bathroom. I walked half-way up the stairs to the main floor listening to my niece scamper from one end to the other, and my nephew loudly proclaiming that he only wanted to watch PJMasks, a children’s show about crime fighting kids dressed in their pajamas. I decided it would be best to wait it out in bed. It was a family trip with my wife, Chelsea, my sister, her husband and kids, brother, mom and her boyfriend. Chaotic, loud, but one that cannot be beat.
We sat down for breakfast to enjoy eggs, bacon, fruit, and a concoction of crabmeat, breakfast sausage black-beans, and squash, dubbed a “Southwestern crab cake”. We had the news on in the background, and as with most stations, Hurricane Florence dominated the conversation. Our plan was to take a break from the beach in the morning, and take the kids to the Battleship in Wilmington. Quickly we realized we would be forced to leave, with a mandatory evacuation issued for later that day.
We packed our belongings, said goodbye, and took one more look at a place that would be in our thoughts as the storm quickly approached. So many families have made the coastal towns of North Carolina a place of reprieve from work, and other stressors of daily life. Some children learn to swim, or take in their first sunburn, only to cool off with a cold cone of ice cream at Squigley's. Most importantly, it is a place where families from all over the county make memories. We wished our temporary home safety, and to all those who may be impact before heading back to Greensboro.
After several hours of cruising down Highway 421 to avoid I-40 traffic, my stomach growls, and I realize we need to stop for lunch. We have taken Highway 421 many times to, and from the coast, but rarely stop for a bite to eat… But we were staving. We landed up pulling into the Town of Lillington, just past Campbell University, and parked in the downtown stretch on Front Street.
We walked into County Seat Sports Grille, and were greeted by an empty hostess stand with a sign that read “Please, Seat Yourself”. We found a booth, and I was almost ready to drown my vacation ended-early sorrows with the daily drink special of $2.00 well drinks.
“Better not” I said to Chelsea as we looked over the menu. We were cheerfully greeted with water, and quickly placed our orders. I ordered the Fried Shrimp Po-boy, served on a soft-toasted baguette, and piled high with crispy jumbo shrimp over lettuce, tomato, and drizzled with their spicy County Seat Sauce (Remoulade). It’s always a good sign when you have to eat a little bit, before you’re even able to fit a Po-boy in your mouth!
Chelsea ordered a classic French Dip sandwich made with sirloin steak, Swiss cheese, on a soft-toasted baguette, and served with an Au Jus made from steak drippings. Chelsea did not have much to say while eating, which usually means the food is too good to spoil with conversation… She inhaled her lunch, paid our tab, and headed back out on Highway 421 home bound.
County Seat offered the comfort food, and casual atmosphere needed after a hectic drive inland. After the storm passes, and we are once again able to return to the beautiful Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, or others, leave some time to enjoy some house-made potato chips, crispy wings, burgers, steaks or a simple sandwich at County Seat Sports Grille in Lillington, NC.
Visit: County Seat Sports Grille Address: 6677, 1 W Front St, Lillington, NC 27546 Hours: Sunday 11:30-10PM; Monday 11AM-10PM; Tuesday-Thursday 11AM-12AM; Friday & Saturday 11AM-2AM