Fuzzy's BBQ Sign - Madison
Restaurants/Food, Travel

Fuzzy Impressions of BBQ in Madison

Fuzzy’s BBQ sits on Hwy 220 Business which connects Madison with Mayodan, NC.  It’s a respite for those that love great chopped pork BBQ, vinegar slaw, hush puppies and sweet tea – to get away from the larger cities and chain restaurant monotony.

Fuzzy's BBQ - BBQ Tray

Fuzzy’s BBQ – BBQ Tray

You’ll notice a couple of things that are different about Fuzzy’s.  Their BBQ comes with a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce already mixed in the BBQ (and they bring extra sides of sauce).  The slaw is unique because it is super finely diced.  And the hush puppies are long fingers of hush puppies – several inches long.

Fuzzy's Interior - Madison

Fuzzy’s Interior – Madison

The interior doesn’t look like it has changed much over the years.  Lots of booths, coke ads, photos of food, and several media clippings and old photos.  The service is very friendly and accommodating.

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu Cover

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu Cover

 

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu 2

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu 2

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu 3

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu 3

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu 4

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu 4

 

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu 5

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu 5

Fuzzy's BBQ - Menu 6

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Menu 6

 

A great dessert is the banana pudding, though they have cobbler as well.

Fuzzy's Banana Pudding - Madison

Fuzzy’s Banana Pudding – Madison

 

 

They also have a great family pack/catering option.  Chopped pork or chicken BBQ with fixins.

Fuzzy's BBQ Family Pack

Fuzzy’s BBQ Family Pack

Fuzzy's BBQ - Family Pack to go

Fuzzy’s BBQ – Family Pack to go

It’s worth a trip to Madison to visit Fuzzy’s.

Fuzzy's Check - Madison

Fuzzy’s Check – Madison

Fuzzy's BBQ Sign - Madison

Fuzzy’s BBQ Sign – Madison

 

 

 

Fuzzy's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

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Aerial Map of Greensboro, NC - 1 mile rings around Grocery Stores, Blue indicates Food Deserts
Government, Real Estate, Restaurants/Food

A Developer’s Approach to Solving Food Deserts – Part One

How do you solve the problem of food deserts?  Income levels, education, grocery store locations, mobile markets, and transportation all play a part in the solution.

The USDA defines what’s considered a food desert as a “low-access community”(read lack of transportation) with at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract’s population residing more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).

You can view the location of food deserts with the USDA Food Desert Mapping Tool.  Here’s a screenshot of Greensboro’s food deserts as last updated and published online.

USDA Food Desert Map of Greensboro, NC

USDA Food Desert Map of Greensboro, NC

We’ve been able to lessen the food desert areas with grocery store projects in the last few years including Li Ming Global Mart at High Point Rd/Holden, Save-A-Lot at Yanceyville/Cone, and other grocery stores in the city.  The Wal-Mart projects at Cone/29 and S. Elm/I-840 have provided grocery options in prior food deserts as well.

Here’s an aerial map of Greensboro, NC that my company Kotis Properties produced, showing all grocery stores with a 1-mile ring around them.  The blue area is what remains of food desert areas outside the ring.  It also factors in current USDA food desert data that varies from the online tool above.  My market research staff create tools like this to help explain the Greensboro market to grocery stores that we hope to recruit to the area.

Aerial Map of Greensboro, NC - 1 mile rings around Grocery Stores, Blue indicates Food Deserts

Aerial Map of Greensboro, NC – 1 mile rings around Grocery Stores, Blue indicates Food Deserts

You will note that the bulk of the food desert areas are in Northeast Greensboro.  It visually demonstrates what people in East Greensboro have been saying for the past few years – that they want and need grocery stores.  One of our new projects – at the intersection of Wendover and the Outer Loop (I-840) should help to solve the food desert problem in that area.  Additional solutions may be Phillips Avenue or South Elm/Lee.  The challenge is convincing grocery stores to locate there as they tend to focus on higher profit and lower risk potential locations (more in a future post).

It’s interesting to note that both UNCG and Bennett College are both considered food deserts.  That’s something I plan to explore further.

In the absence of a full blown grocery store, people tend to shop in convenience stores or dollar stores.  Those often offer less variety and at a higher cost.  However stores like Sheetz have broken the mold with a much broader offering.

There are three solutions to food deserts – transportation (including low cost cars), income level of the residents, and close proximity of groceries.  

One novel approach is the idea of bringing groceries to people via a mobile food truck concept.  There is a farm food truck concept in Raleigh called LoMo Market.  It makes around 40 stops per week in different areas.  NC A&T could work on something like this as well given that they have a large University farm.

LoMo Market Trailer and Truck

LoMo Market Trailer and Truck

Inside of the LoMo Market Trailer with Webpage Scheduling

Inside of the LoMo Market Trailer with Webpage Scheduling

I saw an expanded version of this concept outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  A caravan of farm trailers were pulled by trucks to various neighborhoods on certain days.  The various trailers included produce, meat, fish, and general merchandise.  The idea of a mobile grocery store or farmers market is an immediate solution to food deserts.

A Mobile Farmers Market in Argentina - Trailers Pulled by Trucks to a Neighborhood

A Mobile Farmers Market in Argentina – Trailers Pulled by Trucks to a Neighborhood

Meat and Eggs at the Argentine Mobile Farm Trailers

Meat and Eggs at the Argentine Mobile Farm Trailers

In the short term, the city should explore measures designed to encourage grocery store development, farmer’s markets and mobile farm trucks in food desert areas.  It should also look at the long term solution of educating and empowering people in those areas.

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Aerial of Daddy-O's (far left) and Darryl's (far right)
Beer/Wine/Mixology, Real Estate, Restaurants/Food

Daddy-O’s (or Daddio’s) on High Point Road

I just purchased the old Daddy O’s on High Point Road just a couple of doors down from my Darryl’s restaurant.  Thoughts on what we should do with it?  It’s 3 acres and a 10,000sf building.

Aerial of Daddy-O's (far left) and Darryl's (far right)

Aerial of Daddy-O’s (far left) and Darryl’s (far right)

Aerial of Daddy-O's (far left) and Darryl's (far right)
Aerial of Daddy-O’s (far left) and Darryl’s (far right)

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Hand Pumps for the Cask Ales in the foreground, Beer Tower in the rear
Beer/Wine/Mixology, Restaurants/Food

Beer – Cask Ales and Drafts

At my namesake new restaurant Marshall Free House, we’ve just installed our Beer Tower and Cask Ale Hand Pumps.  The tower will serve 12 line fed chilled beers.  The LED rings will display the beer logo and name.  There will be no traditional long handles.

The cask ales will be hand pulled from a separate cask cooler set at a warmer temp.  We’re exceeding Cask Marque standards (with a separate cooler, short glycol line and hand pump all set at proper cask temp) and will control the ale from manufacture at our Pig Pounder Brewery to cask conditioning to the restaurant.

Hand Pumps for the Cask Ales in the foreground, Beer Tower in the rear

Hand Pumps for the Cask Ales in the foreground, Beer Tower in the rear

Cask Ale Handles with Chalkboard of Draughts, Casks, and Bottles plus Topic of Conversation

Cask Ale Handles with Chalkboard of Draughts, Casks, and Bottles plus Topic of Conversation

Looking through the LED rings that will display beer logos and names

Looking through the LED rings that will display beer logos and names

View of the Beer Bar from Outside

View of the Beer Bar from Outside

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St. Dominic's Bee Farm
Restaurants/Food, Travel

Dempsey’s Bout with Honey Bees in Mayodan

In Mayodan, NC (pop. 2,500) a battle for survival is raging.  A short walk from the partially demolished old Washington Mill, which used to provide power to the area’s residents, past the rows of former millworkers’s houses, you’ll find Melvin Dempsey Nelson.

The former Washington Mill - partially demolished for salvage value

The former Washington Mill – partially demolished for salvage value

Melvin’s property spans a few acres, with a few buildings and lots of white boxes set near the trees.  Twelve years ago, Melvin started raising Honey Bees.  He and his daughter named the enterprise St. Dominic’s Honey after the bee charming Irish saint by the same name.  He has around 30 bee boxes and a small bee garage structure, just down from his house.  It’s a labor of love and gives him something to do – from tending to the wooden boxes, checking on the bees and finally harvesting the honey.

St. Dominic's Bee Farm in Mayodan, NC

St. Dominic’s Bee Farm in Mayodan, NC

He works on the farm when he has enough energy and feels like it, though he admits his age is starting to take a toll on him.  He works with a handful of members of his church that want to help and learn about beekeeping.  Though he prefers to just walk out and do what he wants to do, rather than coordinating several people to help.

A few years ago he was making 106 gallons of honey per year, last year he was down to 50 gallons.  He is passionate about the plight of the honey bee.  He blames skyrocketing farming demand which led to imported bees, mites, diseases, and pesticides.  Last year he spent $2,000 fighting pests and diseases in his hives.  There’s a lot of research on the topic from NC State Apiculture, NC State’s Honey Bee Research, NC Beekeepers, and even UK studies.

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Bee Box at St. Dominic's Honey

Bee Box at St. Dominic’s Honey

St. Dominc’s charges $17 per quart or $9 per pint.  Doing the math on 50 gallons, his revenue was roughly $3,500.  In prior years it was $7,000.  Subtracting out expenses and factoring in labor, there doest seem to be much profit if any.  He was sold out on my most recent visit, he’d been out since November and wouldn’t have more honey until June.  I’ll be back then to get some honey and enjoy another chat.

If you visit the area, a nice place to start is the Recreation Center at 300 S. 2nd Avenue (Hwy 220 and Hwy 135 intersection).

Madison Mayodan Recreation Center at 300 S. 2nd Ave in Mayodan, NC

Madison Mayodan Recreation Center at 300 S. 2nd Ave in Mayodan, NC

Madison Mayodan Recreation

Madison Mayodan Recreation

MM Rec Center Design in Brickwork

MM Rec Center Design in Brickwork

Bocce Ball Court at MM RecBocce Ball Court at MM Rec

Game Room at MM Rec Center

Game Room at MM Rec Center

From the Rec Center – you can walk next door to the Washington Mill site and see the demolition.  To get to downtown, head North on 2nd Avenue.

Downtown Mayodan Coca Cola Mural

Downtown Mayodan Coca Cola Mural

Deep Fried Everything

Deep Fried Everything

A shining entrepreneurial star in Mayodan is Charlie’s Soap, a natural cleaning agent.  Charlie and I served on the Entrepreneurship board at UNCG.  The Triad could use more entrepreneurs like Charlie.

From his website:

Charlie Sutherland Sr. rarely did anything without a purpose in mind. But even he couldn’t foresee what would come to pass when he stood in front of our North First Avenue building all those many years ago. In the photo at right, as he stares at the old Mayodan, N.C., fireman’s dance hall that he had plans to turn into an oil manufacturing facility, you can just about see his wheels turning. And turn they did. From 1976 until his passing in 1994, Charlie Sr. left his mark on this company: a legacy of dedication to excellence with a personal touch.

Charlie JrCharlie Sutherland Jr.

Charlie Sr. is most certainly the “Charlie” of Charlie’s Soap, but his son, Charlie Jr., actually created first the oils and then the cleaner that would come to be known as Charlie’s Soap. While you may not be able to see the wheels turning in this photo (some prefer to think of it as a screw loose), you cannot deny the gumption of a man who, on his wife Jane’s birthday in 1983, quit his day job and took over the small company that had little chance for success.

Through scrimping and saving, a little blood and a whole lot of luck, people were finding out about us and starting to ask where they could pick up some of Charlie’s soap. It had grown beyond an industrial cleaner for machines and textile quality control; people were taking it home and using for literally everything from false teeth to diesel engines.

By 2002, Charlie Jr.’s boys joined the cause and started the long-overdue process of officially branding the product as Charlie’s Soap. They took their grandparents’ ideals, their father’s guts, their own dreams and experiences and turned a small-town shop into a world-class business with product sold to 50 states and 50 countries. So, we must be doing something right!

Charlie's Soap in downtown Mayodan, NC

Charlie’s Soap in downtown Mayodan, NC

You can head West on Main St. past a small public park to Ayersville Rd.  Go South on Ayersville a couple hundred feet between Long St. and Washintgon St. to find St. Dominic’s Honey and Melvin.  From there you can walk South on Ayersville to Washington St. and go East on Washington passing the former mill workers houses.

Cacti on Washington St

Cacti on Washington St

Houses along Washington St

Houses along Washington St

From there you’re just a couple hundred feet from where you started on 2nd Avenue so head back South to the Rec Center.

Walking around Mayodan, you can see the importance of Ruger’s new 220,000sf plant with 450 jobs (former Unifi plant) and planned expansion by 2017.  Ruger’s CEO stated that the decision was based on the people of the area.  Having met Melvin and Charlie, I’d agree.

There are lots of former mill towns across North Carolina.  How to attract more entrepreneurs, farmers, industry, and tourism is something they’re all struggling to solve.

Ruger's Mayodan Plant

Ruger’s Mayodan Plant (former Unifi)

Aerial Map of Mayodan

Aerial Map of Mayodan

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Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom
Restaurants/Food, Social Media

Bathroom Hallway Primitive Twitter

I saw this primitive version of Twitter in a bathroom hallway at the Persephone Bakery in Jackson Hole, WY last month.  Overlooking the poor location (it was a small space) and hygiene issue, it was an interesting idea.  You take a recycled slip of paper (pre-torn into small slips), put it in the old typewriter, type a note, then place it on the wall with a thumbtack.

Poems, love notes, jokes, messages between people, adages and observations covered the wall.  The thought-provoking question is – Why?

Perhaps because it was a machine or toy, people wanted to play with it.  A new technology to a youth.  A nostalgic one for someone older.  Maybe a grandfather wants to show his grandson in the same way a grandson wants to show grandpa the latest technologies.  Or perhaps a means to connect with someone that you know, or someone you haven’t met.  Sitting in the dining area watching the hallway to see if someone reads the message, if it makes them smile, laugh or frown.  Did people feel like they needed to type something to fit in, because everyone else had?  Or did they dismiss it as too cutesy.  What did it say about the person if they stopped to read, typed something or didn’t type something.  When more people were around, did some people use it more often, or less often.  It could have been a way to leave a mark, to let people know you were there.  Or writing a note in response to something you saw on the wall – to chime in or to contradict.  Did they choose to type their name on the slip and was it a real name.

It makes you also wonder if people reading the slips took down any objectionable ones or was that up to the management.  Were there unwritten rules for typing on the wall.  And did the bakery put the typewriter in as a marketing idea or for inspiration.  I didn’t type a note, but I kind of wish I had.

Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom

Old Typewriter outside restaurant bathroom

Slips of Paper Serving as Primitive Twitter
Slips of Paper Serving as Primitive Twitter

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Whisky Bar

Whisky Bar in Marshall Free House

Restaurants/Food

Whisky Bar

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