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What did Bill Murray get to eat (and drink) at a hot Charlotte barbecue spot?

Bill Murray and cellist Jan Vogler bring their unique variety show, “New Worlds,” to Belk Theater on Tuesday night.
Bill Murray and cellist Jan Vogler bring their unique variety show, “New Worlds,” to Belk Theater on Tuesday night.

You know that feeling when you get off a late flight and you just need some barbecue? Actor Bill Murray apparently does.

Murray, arriving at Charlotte Douglas International Airport late Monday in advance of his Tuesday night concert at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, hit town with a craving for barbecue. Someone called Midwood Smokehouse, 1401 Central Ave., and asked if they’d be willing to stay open a little later.

The restaurant crew was happy to help — well, of course they were — so the staff stayed on after closing. Sure enough, Murray and a few other people arrived around 10:15 p.m., after the restaurant closed.

Manager Walter Penilla was still kicking himself Tuesday morning: He had left a little early and missed it until he saw the pictures popping up on Instagram.

“I’m the maddest I’ve ever been,” he admits.

Midwood has become a regular stop for big-name diners who come to Charlotte: Past visitors have included Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2016 and former House Speaker John Boehner in 2012, and more.

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“Tons and tons,” says owner Frank Scibelli. “It’s insane.” A lot of musicians have stopped by or ordered takeout, he said, including Gene Simmons, Jack White, Gregg Allman and more.

What did Murray order? Apparently, after living in Charleston, he knows his way around Southern food: His group got two combos with ribs, pork, brisket and brisket burnt ends, collards and smoked vegetables. And plenty to drink, but it wasn’t ice tea.

“He got a lot of good barbecue and a lot of good bourbon.” (Sadly, Penilla wasn’t able to tell us which bourbon.)

The drinks must have gone over well: The staff member who is back-to-back with Murray in an Instagram picture is bartender Carli Stradinger.

Since the concert, “Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends: New Worlds,” isn’t until Tuesday night, will Murray stick around for another late dinner? Penilla has his fingers crossed.

“I’m kind of hoping that he loved it so much, he’s coming back.”

Kathleen Purvis; 704-358-5236.
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