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Saturday, October 27, 2007 - Burlington The Times
News - "Life (and food) is good at The Snappy Lunch"
MOUNT AIRY - At $4, it's the most expensive item on the Snappy Lunch menu, but boy, is it worth it.
Deemed the Famous Pork Chop sandwich by restaurant owner Charles Dowell, this isn't the pork chop your Mama used to make, with a side of applesauce. A lightly battered, deep-fried pork chop is topped with chili, coleslaw, onion, tomato and several squirts of mustard.
By the time it's placed inside the bun, some of the ingredients have oozed out onto the sandwich paper - that's why the waitresses bring forks, along with lots of napkins, to your table.
And is it ever messy. By the end of lunch, don't be surprised if bits of chili and other toppings aren't all over your hands or even worse, all over your shirt. The description on the menu says it all: "It is the only sandwich that may have you washing your hands AFTER you finish eating it."
This sandwich isn't for everyone - some prefer it plain - or revert to other menu options like a BLT, grilled cheese, bologna and cheese sandwich, hot dog or hamburger. The Snappy Lunch, 125 North Main St., also is open for breakfast, serving plates of eggs and meat (bacon, sausage, tenderloin or country ham) and biscuits.
Snappy's other claim to fame is that it was mentioned on "The Andy Griffith Show" during the episode "Andy The Matchmaker," in which Andy suggests that he and Barney go to The Snappy Lunch to get a bite to eat. That, along with the fact Mount Airy is Andy Griffith's hometown, explain the long lines at the restaurants, especially Snappy Lunch. If you arrive on a Saturday, expect to stand in line for at least 45 minutes just to get a seat.
The Snappy Lunch isn't a large restaurant, but since the menu fare features simple sandwiches, it doesn't take that long to enjoy a quick bite.
One thing's for sure: You won't be bored while you wait. Local characters are sure to keep you entertained. During a recent visit, Otis the town drunk (with his mason jar of elixir in one hand), taught my sons how to play checkers. A checkerboard, complete with two chairs, is set up just outside the eatery. And if you get a hankering for something sweet, head on down to Opie's Candy Store, 135 Main St., for some old-time goodies like Red Bird Peppermints and Bit O Honeys.
Several shops, featuring collectibles and Mayberry-related items, are open to tourists, and Old North State Winery & Brewery, 308 N. Main St., holds wine tastings. While there, you can grab a sandwich, salad or entrée at Scuppernongs Deli & Restaurant.
After stepping onto the streets of Mount Airy, it's difficult not to think about Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie and other characters from the famous TV show. At times, you can hear the show's theme song playing in the background (the music is supplied by some of the downtown merchants) and spot a car, similar to the one Andy used on the show, driving by.
Mount Airy has the small-town, welcoming atmosphere seen on the show - and what's even better is that you leave there with a good taste in your mouth - especially if you stop at The Snappy Lunch.
Charity Apple and her family stopped at The Snappy Lunch recently. Her mother requested it as her birthday lunch.