I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Stony Point, North Carolina.
Greetings from Stony Point, North Carolina
N 35° 51.3682’ W 081° 2.1247’ Elev. 1046 ft.
I sailed into Statesville in the early afternoon on a Saturday knowing I wouldn’t be able to off-load until early Monday morning at the earliest. So as I usually do I asked the people here: “Where’s a good place to eat?”
Without hesitation a woman asked, “Do you like fish?” Oh yeah, I replied. “Well, then go out the driveway, turn right, go seven miles and you’ll see a parking lot on the left, with a little market on one side and a puny little pizza place on the other. Directly behind the pizza place is a restaurant called Captain’s Galley. That’s where you want to eat.”
The next morning I went, I saw, I ate and … she was right.
Captain’s Galley is a 15-restaurant chain, all of them located in North Carolina. I think it hasn’t expanded beyond North Carolina because the good Captain may have multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Okay, maybe not. But that sure as hell isn’t going to stop me from starting the rumor.
This particular Captain’s Galley is in a pretty isolated location. That didn’t hamper it from quickly filling up within a half-hour of its 11:30 a.m. opening. I had the distinct impression that it was all locals filing in for their traditional after-church Sunday lunch. Of course, the hostess greeting half of them by name was a bit of a tip-off, too.
The first thing that happens after you’re seated is you’re brought a bowl of finger-like hushpuppies. I took one bite and immediately realized they were both dangerous (because they’re highly addictive) and a potential business opportunity (opening a chain of Captain’s Galley’s Hushpuppy Addiction Recovery Centers; CG-HARCs for short). Most of the other diners were putting tartar sauce (already on the tables in squeeze bottles) on them. They definitely knew what they were doing. As the late North Carolina native and television icon Andy Griffith would say, “It’s goo-ood!”
Most of the seafood here is fried, although there are a few broiled selections located under the “Weight Watchers” section of the menu. As I wasn’t in the mood for a bunch of fried fish for breakfast, I ordered the broiled Canadian Flounder Fillet special ($6.25). Strangely, if you order the same flounder fillet as a combo you can only get it fried, according to the waitress. I thought this was pretty bizarre but I was too hungry to take the time to even attempt deciphering that conundrum.
In addition to the hushpuppies, the meal came with two other sides, so I got a sweet potato and the sweet cole slaw, along with a sweet tea ($1.69) to drink. The sweet tea was particularly good, not too sweet, and came with a small pitcher of back-up tea.
The sweet potato was served with a spread I don’t think I remember seeing before: Country Crock Cinnamon Spread. Though it seemed sort of suspicious at first, I put it on the sweet tater and was delighted to find it was quite good. The cole slaw was also good but it was of the minced cabbage variety that lacks the crunchiness I really like in slaws.
A curious thing on the menu was crab cakes for $1.50 each. Now tell me this: Where on this planet can you get a crab cake for less than the cost of a sweet tea? Judging by the price I was pretty confidant there wasn’t a single nanogram of real crab meat in it, that they are obviously made with imitation crab meat (pollock).
Because I had to know what a buck-and-a-half crab cake would be like, I ordered one and … it was really, really good, especially with a little touch of seafood/cocktail sauce. The patty was about four inches around with a nice, crunchy corn-meal crust, and was moist and delicately seasoned inside. So good was it, in fact, that I could easily see making a meal of the crab cakes; they’d make an awesome hoagie.
The fillet likewise was perfectly cooked and really good, though I wish it would’ve been a bit thicker. But hey, where else am I going to get a broiled flounder fish dinner with three sides for $6.25? This is a place I’ll definitely be visiting again for a good, low-cost fish fix.
As I was leaving I noticed the restaurant had a separate entrance for take-out orders, with a half-dozen empty cars lined at the curb. Evidently the take-out section also does a land-office business. I could see why.
Captain’s Galley was a great discovery and yet another example of the places one can find only by asking the locals. Heck, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it — seven miles, to be precise — had it not been recommended.
And so we roll.
Captain’s Galley, 5135 Taylorsville Hwy., Stony Point, North Carolina
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.