by David Cecelski
This morning I stopped at Pierce & Company in Hallsboro when
I was passing through Columbus County. Pierce & Co. has been in
Hallsboro since 1898. Started by a gentleman who had previously managed
one of the old Farmers Alliance cooperatives, it’s an old-fashioned
country store with a little bit of everything: hardware, building
supplies, household goods, children’s toys, a few groceries, and a very
fine butcher shop.
I bought a round of their homemade country sausage and several
smoked ham hocks to use for seasoning my vegetable soup this winter.
Then I went to Ms. Alice’s Kitchen for breakfast. The little diner is
just down the road, in between Hallsboro’s Methodist church and the turn
to Red Bug.
At Ms. Alice’s, the ladies are friendly and they serve a nice
country breakfast, including grits, eggs, biscuits, and fresh sausage
from Pierce & Co. The restaurant is named after Ms. Alice Pope, the
first owner, but another lady owns it now. Originally, Ms. Alice’s aunt
had a store on the other side of the road, but Ms. Alice eventually
took it over and turned it into a restaurant probably 30 years ago.
I sat at the counter, next to a wall covered every inch with
photographs of the restaurant’s regulars going back years.
For lunch, the ladies serve mostly hamburgers and sandwiches,
but they also prepare a daily special with two vegetables, bread, and
dessert. Today the special was fried catfish with fresh peaches for
dessert. Tomorrow, Ms. Shelba Williamson, one of the cooks, told me, she
might fix chicken and rice. They open at 6 AM and close at 2 PM, Monday
to Saturday, and they always make you feel at home.
NCFOOD is the North Carolina Folklife Institute’s blog exploring our state’s traditional cooking and foodways. Every highway and byway in the state is a potential jumping off point for a food adventure, whether discovering the Restaurante Rosa de Saron in Sampson County or the Pakse Café in Greensboro.
You’ll find stories and personal experiences about farmers and food artisans, local recipes, and great traditional eateries -- a celebration of the rich and diverse food traditions of North Carolina. Celebrate the magic that happens when many cultures come together around a common table.
Title photo of Altapass Orchard by Cedric N. Chatterley