Charlie Graingers offers good food in comfortable atmosphere


Spencer Yarborough, left, and Karey Carlton Yarborough are the owners of Charlie Graingers in Suntree.

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There is a story behind the new Charlie Graingers Suntree restaurant, and there is another story behind that story. But first, there is the food.

Charlie Graingers serves four main dishes: gourmet hot dogs, house-made beef brisket, pulled pork and turkey salad. Slow-cooked throughout the night, the smoked brisket and pulled pork arrive directly from a North Carolina smokehouse.

“We do not use fryers or prepare the food with any grease,” co-owner Karey Yarborough said. “This enables us to keep a very clean kitchen and dining area.

Yarborough and husband Spencer Yarborough describe the Charlie Graingers menu as an intersection of aristocracy and bohemian. The 19 hot dogs feature chili, onions and cheese toppings. Sides for house sandwiches include baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and turkey gumbo. The simple menu is enhanced by the restaurant’s soothing atmosphere, with dark wood tables and counters surrounded by brick walls displaying photographs. It all feels very friendly — because it is.

The Yarborough's story in pairing up with Charlie Graingers is a happy one. While looking for a franchise, Spencer Yarborough discovered Charlie Graingers, a newly franchised restaurant out of North Carolina. When Yarborough told his wife that they were going to sling hot dogs for a living, she thought he was joking.

“A week later, we were driving up to Wilmington, N.C. for discovery day with the CEO and founder of Charlie Graingers, Louis North,” Karey Yarborough said. “We not only fell in love with the concept and brand but were so impressed with the passion that Louis North displayed with his customers. He not only knew their names and asked about their families as they came in the restaurant, but he (also) knew what they were going to order when they walked in.”

In 1939, Charlie Grainger, a talented musician, married his sweetheart Anne and decided to settle down and open a drive-through restaurant in Wilmington, N.C. The popular restaurant, named Peacock Alley, attracted hot dog-loving customers for 40 years.

The tradition re-emerged in 2012, when North purchased the site of the original Peacock Alley, rebuilt the restaurant to resemble the original structure and added a few other menu items including a unique brisket, pulled pork and turkey salad. The friendly, casual atmosphere remains. Charlie Graingers is now expanding, and the Yarboroughs were one of the first franchise teams.

“We knew the day we met the owner, Louis North, that this is what we wanted to do,” Karey Yarborough said. “Not just because the food was so delicious, but we wanted to do something where we get to know (our customers). We love this area and feel the same about the people.”

Charlie Graingers, open daily, is located at 6555 N Wickham Road. A second location will open in the Viera Colonnade Shops in late fall of this year.