Monday, April 9, 2012

Charlotte food on TV April 11

"Man v. Food Nation," the Charlotte segment, airs at 9 p.m. April 11 on the Travel Channel, and host Adam Richman will tell viewers about three places:

* The Penguin (1921 Commonwealth Ave.). Here, he gets a look at what press materials call "crispy fried pickles (and) mouthwatering melty pimento cheese" and burgers. When I checked in today with the restaurant's Lisa Ballentine, she announced she's close to a second Charlotte location for the Penguin. She also talked about her "Yellow Ribbon Project," in which one dollar of the price of every "Penguin Pounder" ($8; a burger with cheese, chili, onion rings and fried pickles on it) will go to "help employ former military in the expansion of locations of the Penguin." She's looked at Charleston too, and hopes to know details soon. Each new location, she said, "will be owned by veterans and employ people coming back from the war." The "theme" of each place, she said, "will be military service people." The Penguin Pounder is available now at the original location; she said the project won't be fully launched until the second location begins. Lisa's father, Jim Ballentine, opened the Penguin in 1954, and she said she's heard from many people that the Penguin was the first place they came upon returning from conflicts through the years, "and your dad fed me." (Lisa Ballentine isn't sure any of this made the Richman show.) Diners who come to the Penguin during the showing, 9-10 p.m., will get free fried pickles.

* Jackalope Jacks (1936 E. 7th St.). Richman shows up here "to coach a college student through the Big Eats Challenge": 25 pulled-pork sliders and a mound of fries that adds up to 5 pounds of food. Note: The Challenge isn't on the menu anymore, though it used to be (and I'm told some 10-15 people had met the Challenge in 45 minutes or less, through the years, for which the successful diner got recognition on the wall of fame/shame). This was a one-time event for the show, but on April 11, for the viewing party at Jacks, the restaurant will offer a "mini Challenge": four barbecue sliders and a side of fries for $5.

* And, of course, Price's Chicken Coop, for fried chicken ...


Anonymous said...

Well that's nice. The current Penguin owners getting credit for a previous owner's creations. Fried pickles and homemade pimento cheese? Who came up with your recipe for that??

Stephen said...

The Penguin was not the first place in Charlotte to offer fried pickles (and definitely not 'minner cheese). I don't think they had to steal Greg's recipes.

I don't care for how things went down with that situation, but I believe that Lisa is a good person, and I have a lot of respect for her father. I just wish she had found a different business partner. Even though I no longer give the Penguin my business, this seems like a noble goal. Speaking of which, perhaps she could seek advice from Jim Noble.

Anonymous said...

will never step foot in the Penguin again. GREED GREED GREED. have to wonder if Jim would have made the same business decisions. i think not.