“C’mon, hoss, let’s go to Bob’s.”
That phrase will forever be engrained in my mind. My paternal grandfather would say it to me whenever he wanted to go to his favorite restaurant. That restaurant was Bob’s BBQ in Creedmoor, N.C.
Look up “old school” in the dictionary and a picture of Bob’s is probably there. The restaurant is tucked away right off of I-85. I’m not well versed on its history, but I’ll venture to guess that it was there before most - if not all - of the other establishments that surround it. Probably even the interstate itself.
When you arrive, you see a small building on an oversized, gravel lot that I swear hasn’t been touched in the 25 years of my life Bob’s has been there. The inside of the restaurant hasn’t changed in my lifetime either, with everything down to the tile floor, light fixtures, even the tables and chairs surviving the test of time.
My grandpa loved this place dearly. It was probably not just the food, but the small town atmosphere one experienced there. My grandpa was from Littleton, N.C., a town located near Warrenton (or the Virginia border) that definitely lives up to its name. He enjoyed that small town, everybody-knows-you atmosphere. It was a welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of Durham. I still recall those trips to Creedmoor where we’d take the scenic route. We never took the highway up there. Instead, my grandpa would drive us through North Durham, the countryside in Butner and finally to our destination. I didn’t appreciate those trips as much then as I do now. I’ll also never forget my grandparents splitting a barbecue sandwich and, sometimes getting Brunswick stew to go with it. But, if there was one thing my grandpa always got, it was the homemade chocolate pie. No matter what. The folks at Bob’s do great work enticing you with dessert the moment you reach the quick service counter with a dessert case full of delictible treats. My grandpa raved over that chocolate pie and it was the perfect end to his meals there.
It was bittersweet walking into Bob’s for the last time this past weekend. The owners announced they are retiring and closing down after 40+ years in business. When I walked in, I was immediately brought back to all the times I went with my grandparents. All the times I walked inside those two sets of double doors and being greeted by the smell of barbecue, stew, chicken, you name it. Greeted by that ‘ol dessert case at the start of the line. A piece of chocolate pie always calling my name but I never obliging. Yes, I’d never had a piece of Bob’s chocolate pie in my life. No reason why. But I did on this, my last time there. I did for my grandpa - and I know he was smiling.