GRAHAM — About a 20 minute drive from campus is the Graham Soda Shop and Grill, a small-town diner and grill that serves up classic American meals and milkshakes.
Located at the Court Square, the Graham Soda Shop and Grill sits snugly in a corner near the courthouse.
“Originally there was a soda shop, but not in the same location. We opened in 2007; the original shop was where the bell is. It burnt down 15 or 20 years ago,” said Barbara Jones, a server at the Graham Soda Shop and Grill.
Upon walking in, customers are enveloped in a classic atmosphere, inviting them to seat themselves at vinyl booths or the ageless bar.
The “Room of Legends” holds memoirs of past first-responder departments in the surrounding areas.
“Owners are very community-oriented and it’s their way of acknowledging first responders. A lot of local stuff, and the names of the burgers," Jones said.
Keeping with the theme of community, old photographs line the walls, creating a nostalgic feeling for customers.
“We still have to this day [customers] who say ‘that’s me in this picture,’” Jones said. “A lot was donated and given by the community when they first started.”
The menu presents affordable, delicious appetizers, entrees and deserts ranging from $4.29 to $12.99.
Pricing at the Graham Soda Shop and Grill makes it a perfect destination for groups, college students and families looking for a quality meal on a budget.
"Our chips are home-made, our fries are home-made, our ranch and sweet sauce is home-made," Jones said.
The Graham Soda Shop and Grill creates home-style food that tastes authentic, making customers long for home.
Robert Pelosi, a customer and Elon freshman, commented on the "Heavy Hitter Bacon Cheeseburger" he ordered.
“It was amazing. I even doubled it, it was so good,” Pelosi said.
The Graham Soda Shop and Grill also offers a mixture of specialty drinks, soda and milkshakes in flavors such as black cherry.
The shop's investment in the community benefits not only the patrons, but also those working for the eatery.
When asked what the best part of working at the Soda Shop was, Jones said, “Working here, I’ve gotten to know the community and patrons. Watching the kids grow and do different things in the community. And we’ve got a pretty cool manager in the back.”
The soda shop brings in customers with their good food, but creates regulars with their dedication to the community. Not only does it invite the community in; it is also dedicated to helping the community in times of turmoil.
After Hurricanes Michael and Florence tore through the state, the Graham Soda Shop and Grill offered different forms of relief, according to Jones.
“We donated ice, we donated drinks, we did have a meal here. The owners themselves did a lot to help those in need. Stayed open and kept serving for people who asked for it,” Jones said.
This relief was what North Carolina needed in its hours of need, creating a safe haven and comforting those who needed it most.