Arts & Culture
5:02 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Ham Biscuits Reign Supreme At NC State Fair

Alex Granados checks out food at the State Fair and settles on a traditional ham biscuit.
Credit Robyn Lee, Flikr

The North Carolina State Fair is coming to a close, which means time is running out to sample a smorgasbord of foods: turkey legs and fried Oreos. Ostrich burgers and pork BBQ egg rolls. Or perhaps your palate runs to the more traditional. If that's the case, then perhaps you should head over to the Cary United Methodist Church booth.

Well, it's actually more of a restaurant than a booth. And it's been running at the fair since 1916, making it the longest continuous food server there.

It's a joint operation between two Cary churches, White Plains and First United. It raises about $50,000 a year that the church uses to give back.

"This booth has been here for many many years. And we do this as a service to the community. All of the proceeds that we make are given to missions, both locally and internationally," said Helen Papageorgiou, one of the volunteers serving up ham biscuits for the church.

At 8:30 in the morning on a Wednesday, Cary United Methodist was doing a brisk business, something which restaurant manager Brian Webber attributes to repeat customers.

"It helps to have been in business since 1916," he said. "A lot of the people that come here...every year they come to our booth, and nowhere else."

He's talking about people like Jane and Bob Basnight, who stopped off for a simple breakfast before a long day at the fair.

"This is always our first stop at the fair," Jane said. "Because you have wonderful food. I love the ham biscuits in particular," Jane said.

But Bob comes for more personal reasons.

“I come here because a friend of mine works here, and if I didn’t show up first thing in the morning, he’d probably rough me up,” Bob said.

Newcomer to the fair, Reno Palombit heard about the ham biscuits and sought them out first thing. Though he says he won't stop there.

"I will be coming back though, and fried turkey legs is probably towards the top of the list," he said.