- KAT ROBINSON
- BIG BUN: Tight burger at Penguin Ed's BBQ.
I’m always willing to try a new burger with promise, even at a place that’s known for something else. That’s how I ended up eating a burger and not the famous barbecue at Penguin Ed’s BBQ in Fayetteville this past weekend.
To be fair, I was looking neither for barbecue or burgers but for pie, my latest quest (which I’ll tell you about later). But by the time we ended up rolling up at Mission and Crossroads I was ready to eat just about anything.
First thing that caught my attention was the large number of vegetarian options on the menu posted on the wall. A full quarter of the menu is dedicated to the non-meat-eating sort, something I find very odd (though refreshing) from a barbecue restaurant. I mean, I have been places before where the only thing that didn’t include pork was the coleslaw (a pork BBQ joint that had bacon in the potato salad, alas) so to find one where not only I but many of my friends could eat too was very nice.
Yet still, that quest to have a fresh burger pic for you each and every Thursday was strong, and the listing looked great, a third-of-a-pound charbroiled burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle and mayo with the admonition “Please allow 15 minutes cooking time.” Hey, a place that does made-to-order, right? And for just $4.95 I couldn’t go wrong.
I was also pretty jazzed on the side items. In addition to the expected coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad there’s also pasta salad, brown beans, green beans, and home fries. I went for the last two — broccoli and mac and cheese. Hey, they were there. I like both. Side items are $1.25 each, $1.95 a pint or just $1.50 for two if they’re part of your dinner.
My traveling companion went for the regular Sliced Beef Brisket Sandwich ($4.50, 5.75 for a Jumbo) and chose BBQ beans and
While we were sitting there, we got let in on the secrets thanks to the helpful history sheets placed under the glass at each table. Seems Penguin Ed’s began in July 1993 at that very corner in a little trailer, the brainchild of Ed and Diane Knight. The couple had decided to leave the corporate world behind to take up ‘cue, and so they did, with a tiny little trailer that was sometimes 10 to 20 degrees hotter inside than it was outside. In 1996 the business moved into the new shopping center built at the same intersection where the trailer was located (the crossroads of Highways 45 and 265). There are two other locations — the old B&B BBQ location taken over in 2002 and the one out on Weddington near Double Springs in 2007.
I had indeed received a burger atop lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion with a little mayo on the extraordinarily large fluffy bun. But the proportion of bun to meat seemed a little… off. It kinda looked like a kid wearing a grown man’s hat. And it wasn’t cooked medium rare. But it wasn’t bad, either.
So the verdict? I think Penguin Ed’s has something good going on with its barbecue. And the burger was pretty good too — I just wish it had fit the bun a little better and have been a little less cooked through. Going to have to give the place another shot.
To get there from Dickson Street (which apparently everyone knows how to get to), head a block north on Highway 71 and turn right on Highway 45. It’s a bit of a ways down but it’s the first major sign of shopping center-age right there on the right-hand side before you get to Crossroad. They have awebsite or you can reach the restaurant at (479) 587-8646. The restaurant is open 10:30-8:30 Sunday through Thursday and a half hour later on Friday and Saturday. Oh, there’s Ed’s Penguin Café next door, serving breakfast… I gotta get back to that, too.