As I’ve stated before, the impetus for this blog began with discovering the first edition of George Motz’s Hamburger America, during a lunch in 2007. I decided that I’d make it one of my goals to eat as many of the 100 “best hamburgers” in the US, as I could, over the coming years. The book is now in its third edition and is up to 200 burger joints, with edits for closings and new discoveries. As we head into a town, for business or pleasure, I always “consult the oracle” to see where I need to stop. As we headed for Charlotte, I knew we’d be stopping at Brook’s Sandwich House. Run by twin brothers Scott and David Brooks since 1973, they’ve seen the NoDa neighborhood grow up around them. After driving through a lot of new construction, we arrived a little early for lunch and didn’t find, what I understand is, the typical line down to the street. After parking in the gravel lot, the first thing you see as you walk up is the “Cash Only” sign on the outside of the building.
Going inside, it’s just big enough for a U-shaped line from the door-to the wall-and back, ending at the register. The menu is simple – burgers, burgers with cheese (not cheeseburgers), liver mush, fried bologna and a couple of other sandwiches, fries, slaw and chili. And they do serve breakfast until 10:30. “All the way” gets you a burger with chili, onions and mustard. What you can’t see behind the TastyKake display is the pots of chili cooking on the stove, next to the griddle. I chose a simple burger with cheese and chili, then went outside and waited for them to call “eight”. A few minutes later, my number was up and I was given a brown paper bag, already with a growing grease spot, and I walked to the covered picnic tables to dig in.
There’s no seating inside (unless you chose to sit on the floor and block the line) but there are a couple of tables that you can stand at, under a lean to, to eat. Most folks seemed to be eating in, or on, their cars. The chili was like a a thin sloppy joe sauce, with no beans and the burger seemed to have chili seasoning, as well. The 81/19 ground round, made for a very “beefy” taste, in the best possible way. This kind of place is why I love this journey.
Note: they are open Monday-Friday, only 7:00 – 3:00 and are Cash Only. Don’t show up for dinner with a credit card…