MOUNT AIRY—It’s chilly in North Carolina. But not too bad. A light jacket will do. I am walking downtown. Hands in my pockets. It’s my birthday weekend.
I remember seeing Jack Lalane’s 70th birthday special on television. I’ll never forget it. He dove into the water of Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed and shackled, and towed 70 boats containing 70 passengers for almost two miles from the Queen’s Way Bridge to the Queen Mary.
Jack was always doing strongman stunts for his birthday to demonstrate that health and fitness wasn’t just a hobby, but good for TV ratings.
Which is why this year for my birthday, I’ve decided to follow this healthful tradition by doing something similar. Something I can really be proud of.
Namely, I will eat a fried pork chop sandwich.
In many ways, fried pork is far more dangerous than what Jack Lalane did. Ask any cardiologist and they’ll agree. Sure, towing 70 boats for a couple miles through treacherous waters is fine if you’re trying to impress your grandmother. But batter-fried
pork chops? This is for men who look death in the eye.
The particular pork chop sandwich I’m talking about is world famous. It comes from a cafe called the Snappy Lunch in downtown Mount Airy. The Snappy Lunch has been around for almost a hundred years, the building has been here even longer.
The place is a small nondescript storefront eatery. A Coca-Cola sign hangs out front beside an old-fashioned tin awning. There are a few antique cars parked on the curb. The restaurant sits at the rear of North Main Street. There is always a crowd huddled by the front window, and a long line.
They tell me visitors gather here almost daily to watch the grill-cook fry the pork chops. These are mostly tourists who come from all over the U.S. to visit this well-known little township. And if you don’t already know…