Foodie Travels: Groovy Beast, Gastonia, N.C.

Brunch Burger

Foodies like us don’t forget a restaurant name like Groovy Beast. And the eats are just as memorable.

My wife Molly first sampled this place’s eats with coworkers. Despite their rave reviews and the endorsements of plenty of other folks we know in our native Gaston County, we didn’t have a chance to enjoy it together until lunch on a recent weekend.

The Groovy Beast (GB) is a simple grill attached to a convenience store and fuel station on the west side of Gastonia. It has its own entrance but shares a sizable parking lot with the neighboring business. Inside, you’ll find plenty of seating, even for a sunny weekend day at the time when breakfast and brunch are slowly fading to lunch.

If you go during breakfast, you’ll find plenty of traditional Southern favorites on the menu, but we must say that “Granny’s Sausage Balls” caught our attention. In our travels across the American South, we’ve rarely eaten at a restaurant that serves sausage balls, a homemade treat usually reserved for family and friend gatherings around holidays. What makes this treat even better is that GB serves its breakfast all day long on most Saturdays.

The lunch and dinner menu offers plenty of mouth-watering sandwich, salad and homestyle plate options, including opportunities to start with creative appetizers like the Belly Brussels, which come highly recommended by one of Molly’s colleagues. That’s what we chose to begin our meal, and we feasted on a generous basket of well-seasoned, crispy-textured Brussels sprouts with plenty of crispy real-bacon pieces and fresh purple onions tossed in. Think of them as a much greener version of onion petals—but with bacon. And we all know bacon pretty much seems to make everything even better.

Numerous menu choices tempted us while ordering. (By the way, you order at the counter and then go sit down and await a server to bring your food. We saw a few folks confused by the process, as tends to be the case in a first visit to a restaurant.) Groovy Beast offers a host of daily specials, which they faithfully post to their Facebook page. However, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on some tasty burgers on the particular day of our visit.

I decided to order the traditional GB Burger, covered with a generous portion of fresh bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and “the good pickles,” as Molly calls the thick and crispy restaurant hamburger pickles. It was a fulfilling sandwich, especially alongside a plateful of hand-cut French fries. I’ve come to appreciate a true homemade French fry, and I can tell when fries aren’t poured out of a frozen bag into a fryer. The tastes contrast so much.

As good as my meal was, Molly “out-ordered” me (as a former journalism coworker of mine used to say) here with her Brunch Burger. She, too, savored a juicy beef burger on a soft bun with cheese and crispy bacon, just like mine. But her sandwich came with a heaping helping of real hash-brown potatoes and a fried egg. It was the brunchiest burger I’ve ever tasted. (We almost always share bites of each other’s plates to get a taste of more items at restaurants.) The Groovy Beast Brunch Burger is like an entire plate of a diner breakfast all in one bite, with a beef patty included. It’s the perfect way to start a Saturday, or any day really. Actually, we could say that about GB overall.

It was the brunchiest burger I’ve ever tasted. … The Groovy Beast Brunch Burger is like an entire plate of a diner breakfast all in one bite, with a beef patty included. It’s the perfect way to start a Saturday, or any day really.

Great restaurants come in all sizes, locations and décor. GB is proof that you can pull into a gas station parking lot, walk into a simple, modern grill and get an incredible meal. It’s no wonder most every table was filled the entire time we were having lunch. Clearly, we aren’t the only ones who’ll remember the name Groovy Beast and the tremendous food they serve.

Check it out! Groovy Beast, 109 E. Hudson Blvd., Gastonia, N.C.

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