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Boone’s Dan’l Boone Inn: A family-style find

By Kathleen Purvis
kpurvis@charlotteobserver.com

How’s Sunday lunch at the Dan’l Boone Inn in Boone? It’s almost more than you can say grace over.

Stopping at the Dan’l Boone Inn on my way back from the mountains has been on my list for years. But I’ve been scared off by tales of long waits. On a Sunday this spring, though, it was raining so hard that I figured even students from nearby App State wouldn’t be induced to crawl from their dorm rooms for food. So we pulled in at the rangy, white building at Hardin and West King (U.S. 321 and 421, which has got to be the easiest address in North Carolina to remember).

It was so gray and rainy that it was the perfect day for Sunday lunch at a place so home-style, they can’t spare enough letters to spell out “Daniel.” Dan’l it is, right down to a display case of historic guns where you stand in line for a table and enough knotty pine to build a 1950s subdivision. If you sit still long enough, you’d get ginghamed.

In the low-ceiling dining room, family groups fill long tables set with lazy Susans and the waitresses wear “Little House”-style dresses with black aprons. You get real china, for heaven’s sake.

All of which is sweet, but how’s the food? Folks, it is sweet, too. It’s served family-style, meaning every table gets the same spread. I was relieved that I wasn’t alone, because for $16.95 per person (cash or checks only) you get:

A steaming, cast-iron cauldron of very good, home-style vegetable soup.

Fried chicken.

Country ham biscuits (two per person).

Plain, warm biscuits (so you can spread them with the inn’s own black cherry jam).

Country-fried steak.

Cooked-to-falling-apart green beans.

Corn.

Real-tasting mashed potatoes.

Gravy.

Creamy/sweet green coleslaw.

Stewed apples.

A choice of desserts that includes chocolate cake and peach cobbler.

Endless refills of ice tea.

And a gift shop where you can stretch your legs and buy a coonskin cap before you go.

There are places in North Carolina that never change. Say amen, Dan’l.

This article appeared on Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis’ “I’ll Bite” blog: http://obsbite.blogspot.com.
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