Saturday we went on a little antiquing mission in Ellenton.
Although I ended up purchasing a vintage needlepoint pillow, our biggest find was lunch.
The three women behind the counter answered almost in unison, when we inquired where we could go to grab a bite to eat that was good, local and not a chain.
"Look for the restaurant with the headless pig out front," one of the sales clerks said.
We learned Hickory Hollow is known for its two styles of incredible barbecue, fabulous vegetables and more than 50 bottled craft beers.
This family-run business has been serving both traditional and eastern North Carolina pulled pork barbecue for 27 years. The menu takes quite a while to peruse with so many intriguing options like Key Lime or Wasabi deviled eggs, Soft-Shelled Crab, Corn Fritters with Powdered Sugar and Baltimore-style Crab Cakes.
I opted for the N. C.-style pork barbecue sandwich, which was hickory-smoked and marinated in sweet vinegar and seasonings, and an order of fried green tomatoes. Great choices! The sandwich was stuffed with moist, tender meat and a slaw that was tangy and wonderful on my sandwich. The thick-cut fried green tomatoes had a tasty cornmeal crust fried up right and crispy.
I left Hickory Hollow feeling like I'd just barely had a taste of all of owner Donna James' southern comfort food. I'll be headed back real soon.
If you decide to give it a try, Hickory Hollow will be closed for vacation July 3 - July 19.
If you're wondering about the headless pig, the head was taken by local pranksters. It was later found on the side of the road and needs to be reattached.
4705 U.S. 301 N.
Ellenton, FL 34222