Corbett Shope figured Cary was hungry for a good old-fashioned burger and bottled soda.
If the line of customers at Corbett’s Burgers & Soda Bar on a recent Saturday is any indication, he was right.
“I anticipated people being excited about sodas and burgers, and they have been,” said Shope, who opened the restaurant in July. Business has been steady since the start.
At Corbett’s, everything is fresh. The burgers are ground and hand-pattied daily. Pimento cheese, chili, slaw and the like are homemade.
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Five special “Sodalicious” sauces are made in-house, named by Shope’s wife, Mary, because they are “so delicious.”
Hot dogs are also on the menu, but only two kinds: “Nathan’s and Carolina Bright Leaf,” Shope said. “We take care of the North and the South.”
Pair a Southern Burger – cheese, slaw, chili, mustard and onions – with a bottle of soda and pull up to the counter on a stool shaped like a bottle cap.
Or try a combo burger: a hamburger topped with a hot dog and all the fixings.
Coolers at the front of the store hold the sodas – all 250 of them.
“When I decided to open a burger joint,” Shope said, “I thought it would be neat to have five or six glass-bottled sodas.”
The more he looked, though, the more he found and before long it was too hard to pick the best ones.
This is the South, after all, and Shope said Cheerwine is still the best seller and his personal favorite. But Nehi Grape and Sprecher Root Beer run a close second, he said.
Banana pudding – homemade, of course – and Rootana (root beer and banana) milk shakes are popular desserts.
Shope said a bacon shake will be joining the lineup soon.
And for those in a hurry, there’s the Moon Pie and RC Cola combination by the counter.
“The working man’s lunch,” Shope said.
Corbett’s is a family affair, with Shope’s wife and three daughters often pitching in behind the counter. His 6-year-old son is a little young yet to don an apron.
Still, running a business has been hard on his family life.
“I work 80 to 90 hours a week, six days a week. I’m here before we open and after we close,” Corbett said.
Shope doesn’t work on Sundays.
“Sunday is the Lord’s day, a day of rest,” he said. “Most people respect that. I’ve gotten positive feedback on that decision.”
He said of his business: “It’s been tough, but it’s been fun. We’ve been blessed.”
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