Greetings from Carrboro,
I guess it made sense in the 70’s. The closest we get to it now is when someone sneaks a sandwich into the movie theater. Or, I guess, when you have a hot dog at a Bulls game. But there was a very distinct shotgun marriage between eating out and entertainment in the 70’s that started with themed restaurants and sort of found its apex with dinner theaters.
For the blissfully uninitiated – at a dinner theater you watched Annie Get Your Gun in the round (or any such musical) and at intermission you got up from your table, grabbed a plate, and went through a substantial buffet that had been wheeled onto the stage. There was a separate plate just for the phalanx of congealed desserts. During the show, the performers often danced amongst the tables like guests were props. Looking back, I’d say it was 3rd tier Vegas meets a high school musical meets K&W on a bad day.
My clearest memory is the lead actress singing “Anything you can do I can do better” right next to our table and then pointing her finger at me during the refrain, my mouth full of chocolate pudding. That’s still the first image that pops into my head when someone mentions chocolate pudding – a red haired woman with a bright blue cowboy hat holding a pistol.
The beach version of that kind of food-o-tainment leaned more into dinner than into theater. And the canon consisted of one – and only one – theme. Pirates. It was almost impossible to eat fried shrimp without hearing “Shiver me timbers.” There were fishnets on the walls and treasure chests by the front door. Bartenders wore those sideways hats. And whoever wrote the menus couldn’t help themselves. Peg-leg Pete’s Pirate Platter. Landlubber’s Lunch. Blackbeard’s Burger. Blimey, it went on and on. Can I get an aargh, matey?
But I didn’t care. Anyplace that had tartar sauce on the table when you sat down was fine with me. And captain’s wafers. Oh, and it was equally important that they served hushpuppies. To be completely honest, I still have a weak spot for hushpuppies. Because really, who doesn’t?
And, to that end, I thought that August would be a damn good time to scratch that itch. So, next week, August 2nd – 6th, we’re bringing the beach to Acme for all you scallywags marooned in Carrboro and hereabouts. It’s our annual Calabash Bash. NC Shrimp and flounder, deviled crab, fried scallops, hushpuppies, cole saw, corn on the cob, and, well, watermelon for good measure. Add a tomato plate and you just might break into song. We just ask that you keep the dance moves to, you know, a minimum. Don’t want to scare the kids.
I’m sure that most of you have heard the awful news that Med Deli burned last week. Jamil and his family and team have all been fixtures in this community for so many years; I can’t imagine this town without them. There are many ways that we can all help. 1) contribute to the GoFundMe page that is set up for them. 2) ordering catered meals from them once they get their satellite kitchen set up. 3) not forgetting the other great businesses that were deeply affected – DB Sutton & Co, Simply Audrey, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Moshi Moshi. You can help directly by purchasing wine from David and his team at DBSutton; reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and grab several bottles from their wine shop while they figure out when and where they will return to taking care of people’s hair. Every little bit helps. Together, we can all make a difference. That sense of community is why we all live here and love it so much.
Well, that’s all the news from Carrboro. The staff at Acme look forward to serving you soon.
The Staff at Acme