There’s nothing like the sound of the doorbell ringing when you’re hungry. Sitting in the comfort of your own home, snuggled on the sofa, with remote in hand, there’s no better sound than ‘ding dong’.

Inevitably, someone yells. “Food’s here! Somebody get the door!”

You’ve already got the cash, tip, forks, knives and napkins ready. You open the door and there standing before you is your dinner. Yay!  Whether it be Chinese, Thai, Italian or fried chicken, there’s nothing better than home delivery.

What? No Delivery?

I have to say I truly miss home delivery. “Sigh.” There was a file folder of menus in my kitchen drawer. I loved that someone, other than me, prepared my food, but what I really loved was when it was brought to my house, hot and ready to eat. Live large my friends because here on the Northern Neck, an insulated bag is your best friend. While there are some tasty take-out options here on the Northern Neck, delivery is NOT included with any of them.

Gas Station BBQ

Here in rural Virginia there are are a lot of tasty local restaurants and foods. Some of these I’ll talk about in another blog, but for this writing I’m honing in on where to physically get this marvelous food. Even without home delivery, there are plenty of little niche-y places here on the Northern Neck where you can pick up a great meal.

Besides the quintessential restaurant, almost every gas station or convenience store serves some type of hot food whether it be fried chicken or brisket. There’s always something cooking, piping hot and ready to take-out. When I first arrived here on the Northern Neck, I stopped at such a place to get my gas. While I was inside paying the attendant, a woman came in, and  placed her dinner order. Dinner? It’s 8:30AM, I thought! To my surprise, she was immediately handed two styrofoam cups and two aluminum foil-wrapped (I learned later) hamburger buns .

Being the curious type, I leaned over and whispered to the attendant. “What did she get?”

“Pork BBQ” she replied.

I had a styrofoam cup and foil wrapped roll in hand before I knew it and was enjoying one of the most outstanding bbq sandwiches I’d ever eaten. Each bite a perfect combination of bbq sauce and pulled pork. Heaven. After a couple of fill ups at that gas station, I learned that the ladies who run the station cook and bring in a different lunch dish each day. Some days bbq, some days brisket, so yea, I’ve been there a few times.

Bernice

Believe it or not it gets better. Down the road a ways I found a similar place. Another convenience store with fairly empty shelves save for the emergency napkins and ketchup strewn among some old hot wheels cars and work gloves.

I as ready to leave shortly after I went in, but  I caught the familiar scent of frying bacon with a little bit of apple cobbler. Following my nose to the back of the store, I found Bernice.

Bernice, stood there with her hands on her hips and gave me the look. You know the look.

“What will it be?” she almost demanded.

I wasn’t sure what to say because I wasn’t sure of my options, and I was also a little afraid of Bernice. What if I said the wrong thing? What if I wanted something she didn’t have or was unwilling to make me? I wanted to leave but that smell…

Here at Bernice’s, you’ll find wrapped foods in a spinning ‘hot n delicious’ display case. Hey, I’m always in for hot n delicious. Bernice also has some hot prepared items in trays, and, of course, there’s her huge stove where she makes the magic.

After some chit chat, I learned that there were hot breakfast sandwiches in the spinning thing, fresh salisbury steaks, fried chicken and cobbler in the trays, and whatever you wanted prepared, with some Bernice love, on the stove. No need for fear – just speak up!

You see, here on the Northern Neck, there’s a reason for convenience stores. Certainly, to pick up the work gloves you need or perhaps to grab some night crawlers for fishing, but the most important thing is to be able to get your breakfast and lunch. Because guess what? No one’s gonna bring it to you. Oh, and don’t forget your bag.

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