Charlie Graingers – Hot Dog’s, Brisket and BBQ, plus a lot of house made chili slathered all over the place!

Charlie Graingers in Morrisville

Charlie Graingers in Cary is one of the new kids on the block in the row of shops and restaurants at Rise Drive on Chapel Hill Road. It is in good company with a whole batch of other resturants set up to feed the complex and also the local triangle crowd. Fellow traders include Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro, Guasaca, and Famous Toastery (don’t be surprised to see posts about them soon 🙂  )

Charlie Grainger’s is part of the franchise chain spawning from the original location in Wilmington, now apparently according to their website; “The Charlie Graingers’ story began in 1939 by Mr. and Mrs. Charlie and Anne Grainger…. Settling on Queen Street in downtown Wilmington, NC he opened the “Peacock Alley” restaurant that became the first drive-in in town. After 40 years in business, the Grainger’s retired in the 1980’s leaving a long legacy of good food, great memories, and lifelong friendships 

Then in 2012 “Louis North purchased the site of the Original Peacock Alley…and decided to rebuild the location to it’s former glory. He built the new restaurant with heritage in mind – fine food served with a smile in a Classic Americana atmosphere. North revived the hot dog tradition but added his own staples to the menu introducing his famous brisket, bbq, and chicken salad to accompany the homemade soups and sides”

Now they are expanding across the South with locations in North and South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, and Florida.

Anyhow I didn’t know any of that when I pulled up outside in the parking lot! all I knew was that I liked the sound of the whole tagline on the sign outside on the wall:


Yum to the max! I like all three!

Let’s Check this out!

Charlie Graingers Menu

There was a lot to choose from on the Charlie Grainger’s menu, and it was all little bit too complicated and messed up (in a good way) for my liking. This was a minefield, as many of the sandwiches had just one or two things I wanted and one or two that I didn’t!

This was a tough gig to decide!

I kind of fancied just getting The Beef Brisket Sandwich with the house made molasses BBQ sauce, but I didn’t fancy coleslaw (even though it is a staple). The same fate awaited the possible choice of that Bar-B-Q sandwich filled with ‘slow cooked pork shoulder’. Oh my that sounded good and my mouth waters thinking now of the missed opportunity 😦

Perhaps I could have really gone feral and eaten the Trail’s End which is ‘Charlie’s famous hot dog with mustard, chili, slaw, topped with beef brisket and house made molasses BBQ sauce’. I guess as with all three I could have said ‘please hold the coleslaw’

I didn’t though, and I picked out the one that had no slaw, and that did have that meaty brisket that I really did fancy shoving into my mouth.

I ordered the “Big Daddy”

Charlie Graingers Brisket Sandwich

The Big Daddy was described as “Mouthwatering beef brisket with housemade molasses BBQ sauce, topped with melted cheese and Charlie’s Signature Chili”

It seemed to be the least messy, but I didn’t read properly, I didn’t realise how prominent the Chili as going to be! Oh my How did I not connect the dots.

It was OK though, I grabbed a lot of napkins, did the hunch, and tried not to generate spillage and splatter as I ate. Trick one was to cut it in half, trick two was to use a spoon to eat a lot of the excess of that Charlie’s Signature Chili from off of the top of my Brisket sandwich.

Now is it just me or is the way that this is presented a bit random? I could not decide if the pickle made it look rude, or if someone had built me a Chili topped BBQ sandwich Tank? Either way I tossed the pickles to one side so that I could chow down into the sandwich itself!

The Big Daddy in cross-section

Half Slice Brisket Sandwich at Charlie Graingers

When you dig down into this sandwich and take a look inside you really get to see the inner beauty of the beast, and you get an idea of why this chain has a good chance of being a success.

You really do get a huge filling of tender, moist juicy, smoky, chopped up BBQ brisket shoved into the bread bun. In itself that is enough of a reason to be joyous, but then someone went and topped it all with a mound of molten cheese and a pile of that chili sauce gravy, excellent work Mr Sandwich maker!

They also do Hot Dogs at Charlie Grainger’s which I think was where the story started for them back in the day. I like the look of quite a few on their list! the Fedora topped with ‘Mayo, Melted Cheese, and Real Bacon Bits’ is making me hungry as I type, and not just because it is one of the few not topped with Chili! 🙂

If I was getting all traditional and classic then I think I would have to also order either the ‘Charlie Grainger’ with ‘Mustard, Chili, and Slaw’ or the ‘All The Way‘ topped with ‘Mustard, Chili, Slaw and Onions

On the gourmet front it would just have to be ‘Ray’s Way‘ topped with ‘Housemade Pimento Cheese & Charlie’s Signature Chili

Whatever you end up choosing make sure that you grab a great big handful of napkins! The sandwiches are great but they sure are messy to eat 🙂


Charlie Grainger’s in Cary is located at 9924 Chapel Hill Rd, Cary, NC 27560

Check them out on their Facebook page and on their Twitter Feed which is named @PrepareToCrave  I like that!


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