GREENSBORO, N.C. — As soon as customers walk in, mouth-watering barbecue sandwiches and large plates are put together. But as owner Mike Neal tells us, his south Greensboro restaurant on Randleman Road doesn’t serve your ordinary barbecue.
“I like to say we are in North Carolina and we sell barbecue made from turkey,” he said. “There’s no pork barbecue at Neal’s eatery.” At Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ, turkey is tops. “When we first started, it was something we had to introduce people to,” Neal said. “As people become more health-conscious, it is gaining popularity.”
It’s so popular that a bowl of Crack-n-Cheese®, a delicious combination of mac-n-cheese, turkey meat, cracklings, and barbecue sauce, won the People’s Choice award at the 2018 North Carolina State Fair. Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ defended their title in 2019 with another creative concoction.
“Two years ago Crack-n-Cheese® was the number-one seller. Last year was the stuffed turkey leg,” Neal said. “We designed a dish for festivals and the food truck. But now we serve it inside the restaurant because people come here and ask for the dish so we serve it here.”
And it’s the customer commitment that is keeping the business going during the pandemic.
“Luckily the restaurant is doing pretty good right now,” Neal said. “But we still miss the opportunity to interact with some of our fans that may not be in Greensboro.”
The Randleman Road restaurant started around the same time as the Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ food truck. The pandemic has wiped out nearly all of the outdoor food truck rodeos. But Neal is still able to use his food truck at a few events to spread the love of turkey barbecue.
“Instead of walking up to the window, in Burlington, we line the trucks up and people drive through,” Neal said.
Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ is at 2804 Randleman Road in Greensboro.