When in Siler City, NC, you have to eat at Pollo Libre!

On our stretch of Hwy 64 between Pittsboro and Asheboro, en route to grandma & gramdpa’s over the years and recently, I am struck and disturbed by the same roadside distractions: Lorax-fabled land-use practices, the thriving MHP businesses and vacant strip malls with shiny new combo fastfood-and-gas stations out in front.

But of the roadside a-ttractions,we pass a wonderful pair of stacked stone pillars in front of a distinguished enough Carolina I-house, one black, one white and of the same form and proportion, nicely spaced and slightly larger than the human scale, that Goldsworthy himself would be proud to call his own.

Early "Goldsworthy" (with mortar)
Early "Goldsworthy" (with mortar)

There’s the plain and simple “Hog Slat” brand logo on the supply co. building with all the cool galvanized stuff  that Chapel Hill architects covet and a logo that any hipster would pay to have on a t-shirt or distressed ball cap to wear at kickball practice.


And there’s that old Exxon station in Siler City, $1.13/gal still up on the sign. It’s old but not way old, more 70s vintage. And small by today’s standards, one- sided and backed up against an industrial chicken processing plant, and pinched by the widening of 64 in the past 10 years or so.

Pollo Libre with Townsends, Inc. Processing looming over
Pollo Libre with Townsends, Inc. Processing looming over

Only the road-weary bothers to ponder the re-use of a brownfield site like this Exxon. I can see the Aardman-faced chicken leaping to freedom over the CMU-and-chainlink between the Exxon and the proceesing plant, seeking safe haven at…Pollo Libre!Siler City’s response to McChipotle but with the real soul of taquerias on wheels!

Pollo Libre: freedom from industrial poultry processing
Pollo Libre: freedom from industrial poultry processing

Aunt Bee may not have appreciated the humor or the 2000 census putting Central NC counties at the  top of the latino immigration populaiton explosion. But Pollo Libre! is almost already Siler City’s premiere third place for locals that I’d stopped in everytime on these roadtrips from Chapel Hill to garndma’s house in my mind. Imagine: Univision, the spanish-dubbed version of Chicken Run looping continuously and futbol matches on large flat screens with lines at walk-up windows for the only all-locally grown all-vegetarian, pupusa,  tamal & menudo experience for miles deep in the heart of the latino immigrant south! Beautiful lowriders, custom pick-ups (and liquor-sickles too) out front cranking next gen corridos about social justice and their rightful place in the American mainstream!

Frances Baviar: Siler City's own Aunt Bee
Frances Baviar: Siler City's own Aunt Bee

…and open ’til midnight. Salud!


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