I noticed in the new Roadfood newsletter, Michael & Jane suggest a visit to the Cypress Grill in Jamesville, NC. I thought I should write about my recent visit. A few weekends ago, I took an USAir Esaver to Raleigh for the weekend.
According to my atlas, Jamesville is a town of 502 people. Honestly, I would have guessed much smaller. Still, I had a hard time finding the restaurant. Some guys in front of the auto repair place pointed me in the right direction.
The first thing you notice when you pull up is just how close the restaurant is to the the Roanoke River. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Photo.aspx?RefID=2746&PhotoID=8813
Secondly, you notice the place really is just a shack. This is one of more rustic Roadfood locations I have ever seen.
When I went inside and sat down, the waitress came over and asked for my order. I told her it was my first time there and I was going to read what my Roadfood book recommends and then I would like to see a menu. When she came back with a menu, she asked if she could see the book. After reading it, she took it to an older woman sitting behind the cash register. Soon, all the employees were looking at it and they were visibly excited. As you can probably guess, they had no idea they were in the book.
The woman behind the cash register was the owner Sally Gardner and she asked where she could get a copy of the book. I told her the local Barnes & Noble would have it, but obviously I forgot where I was. Still, she wrote down all the necessary information and said she was going to pick one up the next time she went to town.
Anyway, they treated me like a special guest. They brought over the scrapbook from when there were articles about the place in the local paper, along with the family photo album. The other owner, Leslie Gardner, also came out of the back to say hello and talk herring. They also asked for me to sign their guest book.
As for the food, they did not have the river herring like the review suggests. The waitress explained that it is illegal right now, due to the population. They still had salt herring on the menu and a combination plate along with fried shrimp made a fine meal. It came with choice of sides and I went with boiled potatoes, cole slaw and the hush puppies come with every meal.
They also bragged about their pie, with the chocolate, lemon and coconut being homemade. I tried the chocolate and it was excellent.
When I got home, I mailed an extra copy I had of Roadfood to the Gardners and thanked them for their hospitality. Last week, I received a really nice thank you note from Sally and a check to cover the book and shipping.
If you find yourself in eastern NC between now and April (they are only open from January through April), I strongly recommend stopping by the Cypress Grill.
Here is the restaurant review: http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=2738&RefID=2746