Casual Dining reviews

Whether you need to fill up your gas can for the lawn mower or your belly with lunch and a snack, 421 Market & Grill has you covered. Dancing on the line between Forsyth and Guilford counties, 421 is a gas station with a commitment to local, handcrafted products and is a one-stop shop for sundries, food and on occasion, entertainment.

Inside, a large display of old-fashioned bins with candy by the pound divides the store into two parts: market and grill. To the right is the market side, with a changing selection of merchandise. The display is always changing, so you could find locally sourced beard oil, handmade soap, CBD oil and hand sanitizer next to whole bean coffee or packaged bread perched on top of the motor oil and window-washing fluid.

Other market items include packaged snacks, a varied selection of domestic and local craft beer in the coolers alongside soda, juice and energy drinks.

The grill is a big draw during lunch, which seems to be the busiest time of day. With simple salads, sandwiches, dinner platters, two craft beers on tap and Winston-Salem-based Red Clay Gourmet pimento cheese on the menu, there is something for everyone. Most menu items come with a fountain drink and fries. There’s also hand-scooped ice cream from Mooresville Ice Cream Company in a freezer by the cash register.

I’m not sure what is actually being grilled because during every visit, some part of the meal came out of the kitchen cold: french fries, toast, a hot dog, meatloaf.

The price is right for the quality of food. With no frills and no attention to presentation, you get a straightforward meal that will be sure to fill you up. For a little more than $5 your thirst will be quenched and your hunger will be staved off.

The hot dogs are boiled and placed on untoasted buns. The french fries are sprinkled with seasoned salt, which is a nice touch. The burgers seem to be the pre-made 2 oz. patties, which is fine, but that renders them with not much flavor after preparation. With the addition of some of the complimentary toppings such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, chili and cole slaw, the burger (and the hot dog) gets an upgrade.

The dinner platters are the classic meat entree with two sides. Every weekday features a different combination: Baked spaghetti, meatloaf, hamburger steak, baked chicken with lima beans and corn, collard greens, cheesy potatoes, black-eyed peas and many other options.

Breakfast is also served, beginning at 7 a.m. Simple toasted sandwiches with eggs, breakfast meats and hash browns pepper the menu. There is plenty of seating inside with a few tables and a handful of booths that fill up quickly when there is a rush. Additional seating is available on the outdoor patio, which also serves as a music venue during the warmer months. Local musicians play outside while patrons fill up the patio tables under umbrellas and an awning covering.

Guests order their meals at the counter, then a staff member calls out your ticket number and delivers it to your table. A small table with condiment caddies and coffee urns sits next to the kitchen door, and a fountain drink station sits next to that.

Sometimes small gas station restaurants surprise you. There is more than meets the eye at this little roadside stand. While simple and straightforward, 421 Market & Grill is nice little country store with modern appeal.

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Casual Dining features local restaurants for diners on a budget. It appears the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Nikki Miller-Ka at nicolettemiller.ka@gmail.com.

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