This evening I paid my first visit to a barbeque place since moving into the Asheboro area, and Jed’s did not disappoint. If you’re from the south you know that a good barbeque place is worth its weight in gold. Most of the time these places are known for their down-home feeling and delicious southern food. Jed’s Barbeque & Seafood, I was hoping, would give me all of that southern comfort I am used to in a barbeque place.
I went in and the place was packed. I wasn’t too surprised. Even on a Tuesday early evening, southern barbeque joints are busy places. I was greeted with a friendly smile and what we southern folks would call a “hollar” across the room to greet me and motion me to a seat. I took my seat and looked over the laminated menu already perched on the table.
The special this evening was All-You-Can-Eat Alaskan white fish for $6.99, which is a great deal but I wasn’t really in the mood for fish. I looked over the menu and it offered lots of options.
- A senior citizen’s menu complete with free coffee or tea with an entree
- Southern-style barbeque plates, sandwiches, and chopped barbeque
- A wide variety of sandwiches like marinated grilled chicken, flounder sandwich, and Chuckwagon sandwiches
- Fun stuff like a BBQ dog or a BBQskin sandwich, grilled cheese, or a Big Jedburger
- A children’s menu including corn dog, chicken strips, or hot dogs
- Plenty of side options like beets, pintos, french fries, seasoned fries, hush puppies, onion rings, hot chips, slaw, baked potato, potato salad, and fried okra
- Catering service if you need that for parties or cookouts (336-626-2465)
- A full menu of breakfast items (breakfast is served until 11 am)
I ordered one of my favorites: a barbeque chicken dinner, green beans, and those yummy crinkle-cut fries I love. My sweet tea arrived with a side of nice, fresh lemon wedges. (Fresh lemon wedges are a must for me!) It also had that cool pebbly ice that’s so fun to crunch. (I learned in a quick Google search that: This type of ice is also called nugget ice or chewblet ice.)
While I sipped my drink, I eyed the restaurant rating (96.0/A) and a large family portrait of what I presume to be the owners Danny and Sheila Garner. Perhaps the portrait is of previous owners, but it gave a homey feel to the dining area. Most of the dining patrons were deep in conversation about local ball games or recent church activities. My food arrived and I dived into the delicious barbeque-sauced chicken. The food was hot and very good.
While I ate, I heard the drifting bits and pieces of conversation, the pleasantries of waitresses who know their business well, and the goings-on at the check-out counter which was about 12 feet across from my table. At some point in my meal, I noticed a woman sitting in a chair next to the counter.
I didn’t see her come in. She was wearing several layers of clothing despite the near 90-degree heat. She had a backpack decorated with a clip-on pink and lavender fluffy ball, a zippered lunch bag, and a tall plastic refillable water bottle. She looked very, very tired. At times I thought she may have fallen asleep sitting up. I watched the waitress approach her, talk to her briefly, then go to the counter and check out a line of people.
The lady kept slurping from the water bottle which appeared to be empty. She stood a few times, grabbed her bags, and almost left. Once she approached a lady busting a table and I heard the worker tell her she was sorry. Other than that, I couldn’t hear any of the conversations. I looked at my food and thought of how much of it would get thrown away. I hadn’t eaten my roll yet...maybe she would want that? Maybe I could ask for my tea to go and hand it to her as I left. I was pretty much done eating.
As I was trying to decide what to do, how I might help, the waitress finished checking everyone out and approached the woman again.
“Would you like something to eat? Is that what you need?” she asked.
“Yes, please,” I heard the woman answer.
“What would you like?”
Her humble answer moved me. As the waitress moved by my table I heard her say “Ok, I’ll take care of it.” I grabbed her arm as she passed and told her thank you. Then, a man chimed in. He must have been in the booth behind me but I wasn’t aware that he, too, was watching.
“Put her food on my tab,” he said.
I turned and thanked him as well and had a brief, pleasant conversation with him before I took my leave. I had a lot to think about on my drive home. It seems today that Jed’s Barbeque & Seafood had a lot more to offer than good food. I was reminded that empathy and kindness are still on the menu, and there’s no cost for that.
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