by David Cecelski
Yesterday I stopped for a flour burger at a little restaurant on NC 41 in Chinquapin. Flour burgers are a local delicacy in the little country places there in southern Duplin County. They’re made out of roughly equal parts of hamburger, flour, and onion, served on white bread, and, in my case, eaten with mustard and extra onion.
I’ve heard they’re a relic of the Great Depression, when a lot of people couldn’t afford much beef and stretched what beef they had by adding flour. Rarely, but now and then, I see them in out-of-the-way little cafes or old city grills in other parts of North Carolina. When I do find them elsewhere, they’re called either “dough burgers,” “slug burgers,” or “breaded burgers.” But in southern Duplin County, I see them far more than anywhere else and it’s the only place I’ve ever heard them called “flour burgers.”
They’re not hard to find along NC 41, that’s for sure. Almost every little grill on a 10 or 15 mile stretch of that narrow 2-lane road has them. I got mine at the Chinquapin Restaurant and Grill, but you can also get flour burgers atDixon’s Grill, an old, local favorite on NC 41 a mile west of Wallace. You’ll find them as well at Barbara’s Grocery and Grill in Pin Hook, a little community on NC 50, a winding little road that passes through the swamps between Chinquapin and Maple Hill.
Also, if you go a few miles north of NC 41, you can get locally legendary flour burgers at Eva Sue’s Grill. Eva Sue’s is located in the back on an old cinderblock mini-mart at Charity’s Crossroads on NC 11. Even Thig’s BBQ, on NC 111 (just across the county line in Onslow County), serves flour burgers. I know you used to be able to get them at the Carolina Country Store and Grill on NC 41, just east of Wallace, too.
While I’ve never seen flour burgers anywhere else, they’re sure still popular around southern Duplin County. When I was at the Chinquapin Restaurant and Grill yesterday, I heard maybe a dozen customers place orders—they were serving all kinds of other sandwiches, plus daily specials like baked pork chops, roast pork loin with gravy, and fried chicken. I bet half ordered flour burgers.