The latest round of restaurant news serves up a smorgasbord of new counter service options.
It doesn't get much more casual than Queenie's Weenies (334-8386), where the counter is attached to a mobile hot dog stand in downtown Apex. However, when you spot the hot pink umbrella, you realize this is no ordinary hot dog stand. And these are no ordinary hot dogs. Owner/operator Pam Oleszewski starts with all-beef dogs (regular or quarter-pound jumbo) and piles on the toppings to create combinations ranging from the Chihuahua (jalapeños, cheese and homemade fire-roasted pepper chili) to the Queenie Supreenie (bacon, lettuce, tomato and a homemade "special sauce"). Weather permitting, you'll find Queenie's Weenies in the parking lot of Basket Tree Florist at 221 S. Salem St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. On Saturday afternoons, Oleszewski sets up shop a few blocks down the street, directly across from Peak City Grill.
Also in Apex, Gordon's BBQ (700 E. Williams St.; 387-7288) specializes in eastern Carolina style pork barbecue. Owner Sonia Beasley named the restaurant for her father, Elvin Gordon, who owned Galaxy Foods, a neighborhood grocery store nearby, for some 20 years before selling it last November. Gordon, who earned a local reputation for the whole hog barbecues he served from time to time in the store's parking lot, is retired now. But Beasley says "he comes by all the time now to tell me how to do things." The restaurant, which also serves Calabash-style fried seafood, fried chicken, sandwiches and a full breakfast menu, is open for breakfast Monday-Saturday and dinner Thursday-Saturday.
In Wake Forest, Frank Alzoor has opened Big Boy Gyro (109 Capcom Ave.; 569-2539; www.bigboygyro.com) in the strip mall space formerly occupied by Havana Jax. Alzoor, who previously owned Taza Grill in North Raleigh, offers a selection of pita sandwiches, kebabs and Middle Eastern deli fare, including six variations on the gyro theme. Big Boy Gyro is open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and offers lunchtime delivery.
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You'll also find gyros among the extensive offering of stuffed pita, subs, burgers and other sandwiches at Hungry's (11538 U.S. 70; 553-2844) in Clayton. Chances are the gyros are pretty good, too, given that owners Robert Owen and J. Nasir also own more than a dozen Nero's Gyros shops in the Midwest, South and Southwest. But at Hungry's, the partners have expanded the focus. And, as homesick Chicagoans will be thrilled to learn, that includes authentic renditions of sandwiches from the owners' native Chicago, from Italian beef to deep-fried Polish sausage to Chicago style hot dogs with the works. Hungry's is prepared to satisfy your hunger 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday.