If you’ve ever attended a black southern barbeque, you may have heard a catchy tune flowing from the speakers. The song talks about heading out to an establishment that one may not regularly go to for whatever reason. It may look a little funky, may not have the best décor but you were somehow drawn to it. But after spending sometime there, they actually loved it and didn’t want to leave. Does this tune sound familiar? I am talking about Mel Waters’ “Hole in the wall.” There is a line from the song that I absolutely love that states
“I walked into the room, with my nose in the air, It’s seven in the morning and I’m still in there” (Material Things, 1999)
Oh I think we have all had a similar experience when we talk about hole in the walls. I would like to take the time to list a few of my hole in the wall restaurants that I have had the liberty of enjoying and not wanting to leave over the course of my travels. I would like to call this blog post “Hole in the Walls.”
Being a fellow Charlestonian I have had my fair share of seafood. Fish, scallops, clams, crabs, shark and the list goes on and on. But there is something that I really like to have when I come home to the Chuck and it’s called “Garlic Crabs.
What are garlic crabs you ask? Well let me fill you in on how I think it is prepared lol. I believe the blue crabs are steamed very well and the shell is removed. The crab is then drizzled and or dipped into this very succulent garlic/buttery sauce that just makes the crabs oh so good! It sure as hell beats drowning your crab with Old Bay Seasoning. (Take that Marylanders)
Why do I like these so much? Well, when I come home and grab a plate of this it just reminds me of home and puts a spin on how we Charlestonians prepare our crabs. How can you get your hands on these babies? Well, on Savannah Highway there is a little seafood store called “Ravenel Seafood” .” It’s a little blue store/ restaurant where you can get yourself some garlic crabs. But before taking the drive out there, be SURE that you give them a call to see if they have crabs available. This is a very popular dish in the Chuck and they tend to sell out.
Second on my list of hole in the walls in a restaurant in Gatlinburg, Tennessee called ” Hungry Bear BBQ” . This little restaurant is small and seats maybe about thirty people but my God do they have some awesome BBQ. The restaurant is located off of East Parkway and in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains. Why do I like this restaurant? It’s because of their small hometown, backwoods atmosphere. There restaurant is decorated with the history of the area and a few trinkets of what TN is known for. What did I eat when I was here? I had some ribs, baked beans, string beans, and a roll. The ribs LITERLLY slid off of the bone and it I want to bet that their sauce was probably homemade. Their service was very warm and inviting and if I would’ve ordered more food I was most definitely not going to leave.
Third hole in the wall on my list is a jammin’ little Jamaican spot in Cocoa, FL called “ Jerk Flavas.” I visited this restaurant on a weekend trip to Cocoa Beach, FL recently and was determined to support a black restaurant while I was in the area. After some googling and reading of the reviews, I decided to give this place a try.
I pulled up to the restaurant and it was small and cute. It’s tucked away in a little neighborhood and if you drive too fast you could easily pass it. The restaurant opened at 11 am and to my surprise when I walked in FOOD WAS PREPARED! I chatted it up with one of the employees and told her what I wanted and she was not stingy with the portions honey! I got an order of oxtails, mac n cheese, cabbage, rice, plantains and banana vanilla cake. To wash it all down I finished it with a ginger lemonade, and if you have not had ginger lemonade definitely get some.
What I liked about the restaurant was that it was ran by a family. You could tell they were related by the way they spoke to each other and how they vibed with one another. Another reason why I liked this restaurant is because it’s black owned. Many black owned restaurants are slept on and not given a chance because they compete with the chain restaurants. However, these restaurants lack the love that a black owned restaurant puts into their food. Don’t debate me.
In conclusion, I myself thoroughly enjoy looking for a hole in the wall restaurant when I travel. Above, I provided three pretty tasty examples and hope that if you’re ever in the area that you would give these restaurants a try.