Lindley Park Filling Station

by Daniel Bayer

Living near Greensboro’s Whiskey District at the corner of Walker Street and Elam Avenue puts yours truly within a one-hundred-foot walk of several quasi-legendary local taprooms, but with the exception of Fishbones (and the occasional late-night hot dog vendor), there are not a lot of non-liquid nourishment options on what locals call “The Corner.” That’s why I was excited to see the Lindley Park Filling Station open in the former auto garage that housed the short-lived Offshore Lounge and, before that, the Lindley Park Coffee House. Finally, I thought, a convenient place to go when I grow tired of my standard-issue student/musician diet of cold-cut sandwiches, bananas and Little Debbie snack cakes.

“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for ten or fifteen years, and I’ve always wanted to be on the Corner,” says owner Sarah Keith, who also owns Emerywood Fine Foods restaurant in High Point. “This came up and I was able to grab it.”

The Filling Station – a “deli, bar & grille,” according to the sign – has an upscale vibe to it, different from the more working-class, biker-friendly Wahoo’s Tavern or the collegiate atmosphere of the Blind Tiger. The inside has a clean, modernist look to it, with several easily viewed plasma TVs in attendance, as well as paintings from local artists. There’s also a two-level patio outside for the summer months.

“On the lower patio we’re going to put shuffleboard, because it’s a huge patio, and a couple of outdoor games,” says Keith. “In the spring and summer, when there’s nice days, you can get a burger and have a beer and hang out and play some games.”

The menu offers typical light lunch and dinner fare, with many sandwiches named after streets in the neighborhood, such as the Chapman Street (Pimento cheese and bacon burger on an onion roll), the Corner (deep fried hotdog with chopped onions and pickle relish) and the Englewood sandwich (Crab cake, jalapeño tartar sauce and Bermuda onions on a potato roll). There’s also baked artichoke and Parmesan lump crab dip, among other appetizers, and a wide selection of salads and wraps.

“My executive chef, Chris Blackburn, and I put together the menu,” says Keith. “I also took some of the most popular sandwiches that we have at the other restaurant and put those on here. A lot of it was just making sure we didn’t have the same thing that Neil Reitzel [owner of the restaurant that’s going to occupy the former Wild Magnolia building] was going to have across the street, so we’d all be a good destination point.”

I decide to go for the Brice Street, partially because the ingredients are a familiar benchmark for me (roast beef, provolone cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary mayonnaise), and partially in honor of Brice Street, the semi-legendary band that took their name from the same neighborhood street and played at the Blind Tiger for years. The Brice Street was a tad smaller than similar sandwiches at other establishments, but it definitely had a taste and texture that set it apart; and, after all, it’s quality, not quantity that really counts. The roast beef was dark and flavorful, and next time I’ll order it with an extra helping of the tasty mayonnaise (I got my sandwich with no onions). The handcut French fries were excellent; you can feed me those by the bucket, thank you. I also could have chosen sweet potato chips, pasta salad, potato salad or carrots and celery sticks as a side order.

“I’ve wanted to have a restaurant since I was five years old,” says Keith, who’s been in the restaurant business 14 years. “I grew up in Winston-Salem, and I’ve always worked in restaurants. I went to Guilford College and worked in the corporate world for five years after that. I didn’t like it and the opportunity to buy the High Point restaurant came up and I took it.”

Keith believes that her new restaurant will find a niche in the close-knit community that is the Corner.

“It will definitely be the summer place to be,” says Keith of the Filling Station. “It’s a good neighborhood. Every time you come in everyone knows your name, just like my place in High Point. When someone comes in you know what they drink or what their favorite sandwich is.”