WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - In each monthly issue, Our State magazine features a variety of food topics. Included in the March issue is Roadside Eats, a list of 70 locally owned food serving places, from the mountains to the coast, they recommend trying -- and on the list is a Whiteville institution, Ward's Grill.
Most mornings, this is where you will find Junior McKeel, behind the grill of the business he has owned and operated for over 40 years. In the early 70s, McKeel bought Ward's Grill. For the past four decades, McKeel has been serving up what many say are the best burgers and hot dogs you'll find for miles around.
"We have a lot of people who have been coming here for years," said McKeel. "We have a lot of people coming in from Fair Bluff, Hallsboro, Delco, Tabor City, Nakina, Williams and Riegelwood, a lot of people from Riegelwood."
Ward's Grill is a family business. For the past 25 years, his daughter, Kandance Rogers, has been getting the customer's orders, taking the money and bagging up the food, and seems to know everybody.
McKeel and Rogers have kept the menu simple, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs. They say their customers like the soft buns the burgers and dogs are served on. The chili is McKeel's own special recipe.
"It is just one of my favorites, there are a lot of other towns that have burger places, but not like this."
Don't plan to dine in. McKeel doesn't have any tables inside, just take out order. And don't be in a rush if you are hungry. Even at11 a.m. you will likely find a crowd inside and a line forming outside with people waiting to place their orders.
So congratulations to Junior and Kandance for the Our State mention, and we agree with the magazine, that it is well worth the visit to Madison Street, in downtown Whiteville, for burgers and hot dogs from Ward's Grill. Just get there early.
Also on the magazine's list of best eats are Paul's Place, in Rocky Point, and South College Sandwich and Deli, in Wilmington.
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