A few weeks back I wrote a story about the longtime downtown business Ashland News & Game Room, which owner Shirley Massie reports may have made the situation there even more gloomy with customers incorrectly thinking the place has closed.
“We are still open,” Massie said (with emphasis) when I asked what message she wanted me to pass along to help correct the perception.
Since that story ran, I have talked to lots of local people who have fond memories of the downtown news stand and game room and it is clear the small business holds a fond spot in the hearts of many. In recent times, however, the shop has suffered from the reality of decreased demand for things such as magazines and newspapers — a problem we’re staring down on this side of the press as well. And, Massie makes no excuses for the people who once made sure she could provide local readers with newspapers from places such as Louisville and Cincinnati.
So, if you are a fan of the business, stop by next week and say hello, buy a magazine and maybe even spend a little time in the back polishing up your billiard or pinball skills. Massie says she has not made a firm decision about the future of the shop, but I can’t help thinking encouragement from customers (new and old) might influence her.
The shop is open from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (606) 329-9053.
To my wife’s dismay, I was guilty of being myself and chasing cheeseburgers while on vacation recently.
Many places have legendary burgers, such as the near-mythical Flying Saucer from the Bluegrass in Ashland, although I’ve never encountered a sandwich with a backstory as rich and interesting as that of the Goodwill Burger, which (to my knowledge) can only be found in the city of North Wilkesboro, N.C.
I’ve been hearing about these burgers for nearly as long as I’ve known my buddy Jerry Lankford, and the stories were only enhanced when I asked his boss, storyteller and antiques enthusiast Ken Welborn, about the hometown favorite. Welborn practically lights up when he remembers the days of buying a bag full of Goodwill Burgers for a dime each and selling them for 15 cents each to people along his paper route each Saturday. Welborn begins and ends the story with the Goodwill Burger’s recipe/formula, or the local reference to the sandwiches as “bread burgers,” which was considered an extreme insult to the ladies who used to make them up every day.
“Each batch was mixed in a large dishpan. It was simple: flour, chili powder, yellow soy grits, sage, food coloring, and five pounds of ground beef. From each five pounds of beef, over ONE HUNDRED patties were made up, by hand, to be fried on one of the two big, flat grills in about three-quarters of pure lard,” Welborn once wrote on the subject.
While the original location is long gone, you can still get a Goodwill Burger at Woodhaven Restaurant on D Street in North Wilkesboro. Welborn called Woodhaven manager David Reeves during our visit and informed him he had some out-of-towners looking for a taste of something good, and we were treated like royalty during our lunchtime visit. Lankford insisted I try the Goodwill Burger topped with mustard and slaw, and he was right on the money.
Unlike the ladies who got mad when they heard them called “bread burgers,” Reeves enjoyed telling the story of a lady who once visited and ordered the Goodwill Burger without any knowledge about it. After being served, the lady called the manager over and said she feared her order had been mixed up, pointing out there seemed to be no meat between the buns.
“That’s a Goodwill Burger,” he said with a chuckle.
I’m leaving a lot out, but if you enjoy this sort of thing, just type “Goodwill Burgers” into a Google search and you’ll find all kinds of entertaining stories on the topic.
Lankford also pointed me toward another “you have to try it” treat while were in those mountains, suggesting I stop at a place called Dixie Donuts for a sausage doughnut. The place was along our morning path and we were both hungry, so I decided to give it a shot. The lady working at Dixie Donuts reported the selection was made fresh with a Jimmy Dean sausage patty sandwiched between two doughnuts and drizzled with maple frosting — warmed upon order and handed piping hot to the hungry customer.
I don’t want to know anything about the calories or fat grams involved, but I can honestly say it was one of the best pastries I’d tasted.
Debbie Miller, who owns Kids-N-Things in Grayson along with co-owner John Prichard, called before my recent break to let everyone know more about the new business.
The shop is primarily a “children’s resale” business, she explained, although they also offer antique furniture (including some primo oak), as well as things like strollers, “pack and plays,” used prom dresses and lamps. Children’s clothing is available in sizes from newborn to size 12, according to Miller, who is a 1973 graduate of Boyd County High School. Prices range from 99 cents to $9.99, she added.
Kids-N-Things at 166 S. Carol Malone Blvd. is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Miller said “buy days” are once a month and advised anyone with things to sell to call for an appointment. For more information call (606) 475-0407.
Much to do
I have plenty of things to catch up with, including a new frozen yogurt business called Chickabiddy in Louisa, as well as a new Dick’s Sporting Goods and PetSmart and a Japanese-style restaurant in Ashland and a new Wendy’s in Russell, among other things. A reader also delivered a bottle of the hot sauce my “field agent” mentioned a few weeks back, and I’ve been extensively researching that one at home.
I’ll try to have something about one or more of those topics in next week’s column.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2651.