Like a fish outta water

By Janet Gibson

Photography by Matthew Wonderly

OK, I admit it. I reckon I don’t know a thing about outdoor gear. But I can recognize fishing poles, T-shirts and ballcaps. This place has got a bunch of them. And ice cream made by Hershey’s, too. I counted 20 different kinds in the big tubs. “Would you like some ice cream?” the smiling man in a chair asks, in a sweet Southern drawl that could bring the cows home.
“Oh, no, thank you. I’m good!”
Truth is, I’m just passing through. In Deep Creek Outfitters and headed a few steps over to the adjacent Deep Creek Grill (1122 Person St., 910-491-0568).
Right there on the banks of the Cape Fear River, the businesses share a parking lot with Riverside Seafood, this month’s Good Eats feature, and I’ve long been curious about Deep Creek. Any parking lot that’s packed with pickups at lunchtime has got to be good, right?

When I checked out online reviews of Deep Creek Grill, one guy had me at fries. Said the fries alone were worth a trip there.

Really? He’s right. Perfectly seasoned, and I promise you some of mine were 4 to 6 inches long. I’ve never seen such long fries!
But add in a cheeseburger that will melt in your mouth and a Cheerwine to wash it all down – no sissy diet stuff – and you’ve got a meal deal. For about $8.50.

The burger is 5 full ounces of beef, but the grill gals also will cook up, by request, a 10-ounce hand-pattied burger smothered with grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon,
American and provolone cheeses, lettuce and tomato with your choice of condiments on a white bun, for 14 bucks. I think some of the brawny construction guys could work off that sucker in an afternoon.

The menu also features weekday specials like baked spaghetti, chicken and pastry or hamburger steak. There are hot dogs, cheesesteaks, barbecue sandwiches and
that Southern delicacy, the fried bologna sandwich. Sides include fried okra, onion rings and more. Breakfast also is served. The hours are 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday
and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday. It’s not a big place, but it’s got a big personality – and I get the feeling that I’m the only one here who can say this is my first rodeo. Next time, ice cream, too. And maybe a closer look at those fishing poles.