When I’m traveling I try to avoid chains and look for local restaurants. (OK, I those who know me know I do that when I’m not traveling, too.) I’m not against chain restaurants and eat in plenty, but you learn a lot about a town by visiting their local restaurants.
There’s just something special about those local places where people make food for their neighbors and others who may stop by.
A recent trip to Laurinburg had me looking for brunch options on a Sunday morning.
Truthfully I had wondered if I could find anything local - I had already found some local restaurants closed for the weekend. But then from a Google search I saw the Railroad Bar & Grill had Sunday brunch and decided to check it out.
I arrived early, not long after the 11 a.m. opening. I was greeted warmly by staff, who were a nice level of chatty. (A tip - that first hour of the restaurant being opened is quiet. Others began pouring in after church, closer to the noon hour.)
I went for a more traditional breakfast with the Railroad Breakfast platter. Twa scrambled eggs, French toast (option buttermilk waffle), bacon (options sausage or ham), and cheesy potato casserole (option cheesy yellow grits).
Portions were ample and all were delicious.
I have to admit the cheesy potato casserole was a surprise and my favorite dish. Hunks of potato with the skins on, what I believe was garlic butter, and cheese tossed in besides. It was that basic but special kind of dish that you will crave later. Add a salad and that would have made me a great weeknight meal itself. I just may try to replicate.
Another night I went by for dinner. The bar had a good amount of activity, which appeared to be mostly locals, and football was on TV.
That night I chose the blackened salmon. Usually served on a bed of jasmine rice, I substituted a sweet potato. Green beans accompanied it. Bread was serves as I waited for my meal to be prepared.
I enjoyed my meal. I failed to ask for my salmon to be cooked a bit on the rare side, so it was cooked well. This was certainly not the restaurant’s fault. I suspect it would be how many want it cooked.
It was certainly not complain-worthy, and the salmon flavorful. The food hit the spot on a day when I hadn’t had a proper meal.
Still, if you have a preference don’t be afraid to speak up. They were very accomodating.
I never got to try the collard green egg rolls, an unusual appetizer that I know are a favorite of many.
The atmosphere is lively and the owners should be proud of what they are creating, down by the railroad tracks in downtown Laurinburg.
The restaurant is open for Sunday brunch and weekday lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Railroad Bar and Grill is located at 102 South Main St., in Laurinburg, NC.