Randy’s Restaurant, Lexington, North Carolina

After my country ham biscuit/livermush breakfast at Breakfastime and an early barbecue lunch at Whispering Pines, I headed back up to Lexington for lunch at Randy’s

My brother, Jim, recommended Randy’s for its vegetables (non vegetarian, of course) and for a feature I’ll discuss below. Inside, Randy’s is a big open room without a lot of fussy decorations, or unfussy decorations, for that matter.

The interior does have a lot of people eating and enjoying themselves. And Randy’s has vegetables, and a modest three vegetable plate would be just the thing before my next lunch. I told the server that I wanted a three vegetable plate with, let’s see, I’ll have the black eye peas, turnip greens, green beans, and pinto beans. She repeated the order and looked at me. I smiled. She smiled and said, “four vegetable plate.” I smiled, and would have blushed had expanding orders not been a standard occurrence with me.

My plate appeared with the inevitable hushpuppies (one was camera shy and disappeared before the photo.) That little container off to the side is vinegar for the vegetables.

Thinking ahead to the pot likker, I’d asked about cornbread, but cornbread, ubiquitous in Alabama, is rare in North Carolina. The same is true of turnip greens. I have found some places in the Piedmont (Clark’s leaps to mind) that serve turnip greens. I like collards, especially the heirloom collards at Bum’s, but I dearly love turnip greens. So the turnip greens were a real treat. The other vegetables also were delicious. The raw onion on the pinto beans was a particularly welcome touch. And the hushpuppies had just the flavor and texture that you want. And I managed to soak up all the pot likker with them. The meal ran me only nine bucks, including the 33 cent credit card fee (technically no discount for cash), plus tip.

My meal completed and payment made, I used the facilities, and here we get to the unusual feature Jim had mentioned.

As you can see, there are doors to two toilets, neither of which has a sink. The hand washing is in view of the whole room. There’s one sink outside the toilets. I’d seen that before, including once in Paris at a place across from the Marché des Enfants Rouges that had two toilet closets plus one sink, and also a urinal outside the toilets, cheek by jowl withe he sink. The urinal was tastefully separated from the sink by a 12-18 inch shoulder-high partition and inspired a bit of raised eyebrows and giggling from Americans. Randy’s semi-public approach not only has more dignity, and also offers the great benefit of insuring that each and every person washes hands with soap. It’s a model for restaurants everywhere.

Aside from estimable public health benefits, Randy’s offers a delicious lunch at a very reasonable price — laughably low prices by Washington standards. The main attraction of Lexington is, of course, barbecue, but when you’re eating multiple barbecue meals a day, a vegetable plate is just the thing. Try Randy’s when you’re in Lexington, and be sure to order the turnip greens.


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