Venue Review: Stockyard Grill and Thoroughbred Lounge
The Charlotte Observer
Truckers, plumbers, sheriff's deputies and shag dancers all have a table at the Stockyard Grill.
It seems each of them has a special reason for regular visits to the long-standing Rozzelles Ferry Road diner – that is, reasons in addition to the generous home-style meals at reasonable prices.
It's the town hall for longtime neighbors in the rugged northwest Charlotte industrial corridor, where few other restaurants have made a home.
It's a $10-a-night campground for 18-wheelers. Drivers pull over in time for a late supper and grab a bite the next morning before the next long haul on the highway.
The restaurant and adjoining Thoroughbred Lounge are a social club for two local shag-dancing groups. They practice their footwork at the Stockyard to prepare for their next trip to Myrtle Beach, where shag dancing is even more popular.
The dance clubs took hold at the restaurant in the last two years, but the restaurant has been there officially since 1952.
It opened shortly after local health regulators told Morris Livestock owner Harvey Morris to stop selling hamburgers and hot dogs from the same building where he auctioned off chickens, cows, hogs and goats every Tuesday and horses and mules on Fridays.
Morris built the restaurant a few feet from the auction house, which at the time was in a rural farming community. Morris leased the restaurant, but his grandson, Robert, took over about 20 years ago and added the lounge a short time later.
The farms eventually disappeared, and dozens of distribution centers began opening in the mid-1980s, Robert Morris said. Trucks still move in and out of the area all day, transporting goods for retail and commercial operations.
With about 14 acres, there's plenty of room on the property for parking for social events at the lounge and truckers to park overnight. They've helped spread the word about the Stockyard Grill's hand-pattied N.C. breakfast sausage, daily lunch and dinner specials and house-made desserts.
The favorites here include the golden-fried pork chops ($6.95 for two, with two sides and bread), chicken and dumplings ($6.29) and banana pudding ($1.35).
“When I come in the mornings, there are 20 to 30 or more trucks in the yard,” said Cindy Baker, who manages the office for the restaurant and lounge. “It's been that way as long as I can remember, for the last 30 years. They get on the CB (radio) and say, ‘If you're near Charlotte, go to the Stockyard Grill.'”