Since 2000, I've made 2 mad dashes to Mt. Airy, just to eat the legendary pork chop sandwich at Snappy Lunch--always on a Saturday at the end of July (I attend an annual week-long conference in the Valley of Virginia each summer which ends on a Saturday). Neither time did I make it into town before Snappy Lunch closed for the day. I was seriously disappointed the second time as the proprietor had closed at 1 PM (at 1:10 he was eating his own lunch in a locked and empty cafe). Nevertheless, I will try again, hoping to make it before Mr. Dowell retires.
Judging from numerous articles and first-hand accounts, the fried pork chop sandwich is indeed special. I hear about it, here, in Lexington, Kentucky, and it seems nearly everyone I know in North Carolina has made a pilgrimage. Several North Carolinians have mentioned Opray Winfrey's visit to Snappy Lunch. Apparently, Ms. Winfrey was much impressed and ordered a second sandwich. North Carolina folk love to say, "Opray ate two!" It seems I've also read those very words somewhere.
Now, the upbeat part of this report: Finding Snappy Lunch closed I started south toward Winston-Salem and happened upon The Derby (just south of town). A cook was waiting for her ride home in the parking lot and I asked if the restaurant was still serving lunch. She said the restaurant was still serving dinner (lunch), and opined that I would get a good meal that day. She said she knew so, because she had cooked it herself. I thanked her and took her advice.
Well, I certainly did receive a delicious meal. It was a meat and three, with terrific hush puppies and world-class sweet tea. The meal was inexpensive and the portions generous. The cooking really was very good, especially the fried summer squash. Thankfully, I've been back (the second time I was late to Snappy Lunch), and again I had a terrific meal and wonderful service. This attractive little place has an authentic fifties look. I never see anything there to remind me of the last half of the 20th century, let alone this one. It would be unfair not to brag on the friendly and excellent service given by the The Derby waitresses.