By embracing its train station origins, Andrew Moore is revitalizing the Carrboro Railways site, while catering to the local aesthetic through an accommodating menu.
201 East Main Street, Downtown Carrboro, 27510
Monday – Friday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm; 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
Entrees range from $15 – $20 (includes two sides) while sandwiches range from $10 – $13 (includes one side)
Tar Heel Tips
- Not busy on weekdays before 2:30 pm for a quick lunch
- Busy during dinner time upon reopening at 5:30 pm
- Specialty items: Authentic Eastern Carolina barbecue and Texas-style brisket and for dessert try the Rise Doughnut Bread Pudding
- Parking available in and around Carr Mill
- Visit the neighboring restaurant The Station for live local music
- You can order online https://ordering.chownow.com/order/6745/locations
Chef Andrew Moore, owner of CrossTies Barbecue, is single-handedly switching the tracks of the historic Carr Mill, and bringing barbecue to the former train station. Alongside a full bar and live music venue that is literally called The Station, CrossTies Barbecue has been serving authentic barbecue and brisket out of renovated train cars since September of 2016. The venue has seen its fair share of turnover; after the last train ran in 1935, the station housed everything from a Chinese restaurant to a Lionel Trains shop, while also being vacant for a number of years. In spite of all that, Moore is revitalizing the Carrboro Railways site by embracing its train station origins, as well as featuring an accommodating menu that caters to the Carrboro Aesthetic.
A Convenient Crossroads
Originally built in 1873, the Carrboro Railways Station was established a mile away from the campus of UNC. This was intended to prevent students from being tempted to travel so regularly, but still be close enough to accommodate them if they need to do so. The distance from Chapel Hill allowed for a new community to form around the station, eventually becoming Carrboro. As time passed, and train travel tremendously decreased, the downtown Carrboro area found itself increasingly bereft of consumers. This culminated in the closure of the Carrboro Railways Station, leading to the eventual transformation of the venue, eventually becoming CrossTies Barbecue.
Having previously been a train station, the venue is nestled alongside, now abandon, train tracks. This enhances the site’s credibility, as the train aesthetic is even further enhanced by the restaurant’s surroundings. Bestowed with an ideal location, square in the middle of downtown Carrboro, Moore is able to maximize awareness of the restaurant, as it is easily visible to the public, and sticks out due to the renovated train cars that seat customers. The train cars attract the eye of passing citizens, as they are not used to seeing large scale train cars parked alongside in a downtown area, while the smell of the barbecue grabs their attention even further. This makes CrossTies an inviting option for tourists, as the authentic train station feel appeals to the masses, and creates a sense of nostalgia within them, for a time that, while they might not have experienced themselves, they can inevitably relate to. This invariably increases public awareness of the restaurant, and pulls in passersby who turn from curious onlookers to satisfied customers.
It isn’t just tourists that are brought aboard the CrossTies train. Thanks to the neighboring University of North Carolina campus, there are a flurry of hungry college students, each eager to find new delicious dinner venues. This proximity to a college campus is essential to the longevity of the restaurant, as well as the revitalization of the Carrboro community. Moore understands that “[a]t the local level, many colleges and universities are crucial to the survival and growth of local businesses”. Colleges, especially large ones like UNC, bring a massive influx of students to a small surrounding area. These students also serve as consumers for local businesses, like CrossTies, which survive thanks to the economic investment provided by these college students. This has led to the creation of an inviting and enjoyable atmosphere at CrossTies seen through a variety of seating options, each of which offer their own appeal to customers.
The front patio, back patio, and inside seating offer a variety of seating options to customers, so that each visit to CrossTies Barbecue can feel unique. The front patio, situated directly off of Carrboro’s main street, beckons customers to come in and try the town’s lone barbecue joint. This is convenient for passing students who live in Carrboro and are walking to/from their houses. Brennan Proudfoot, a UNC senior, resides in Carrboro and appreciates the restaurant’s accessibility:
“I ride my moped to class every day, and CrossTies is right on the way to and from class. They have onsite parking and I can order online and take it to go. I eat there more than I probably should, it’s just so easy.”
Brennan isn’t alone in his appreciation for the ease of access CrossTies provides. College students represent the restaurant’s most frequent, loyal, and marketable customer segment. This collection of students, “armed with progressive values, ha[ve] created a thriving market community for locally produced food” something embodied by the Carrboro aesthetic.
The Carrboro Aesthetic
According to Matt Barrett’s North Carolina Travel Guide, Carrboro “is the most progressive small town in North Carolina” having previously elected the first openly gay major in the North Carolina, Mike Nelson, and recently electing the first openly lesbian mayor, Lydia Lavelle .
Carrboro’s political representation embodies the overall aesthetic of the town. It is known for being a hub for both progressives and artists, both exuding a sense of authenticity, while promoting local culture. This is well represented in the town’s food scene, as it is “home to a multitude of food traditions brought by the diverse people who live in the former mill village” . You would be hard pressed to find a chain restaurant within town lines (with the exception of Wendy’s, but hey, everyone likes a good frosty). This presents an opportunity for Moore to cater to the Carrboro aesthetic and feed citizens in both an authentic and inclusive manner. Moore accomplishes this through a menu that balances barbecue lovers with vegetarians, something traditionally unprecedented for an authentic barbecue joint.
While it will make headlines for its barbecue and other carnivorous options, CrossTies Barbecue prides itself on being a diverse and accommodating restaurant that will satisfy any and all customers that climb aboard. The Smoked Portobello Sandwich and Barbecue Tofu are two particularly enticing vegetarian options that are raved about on popular food review sites like Yelp! One reviewer even stated that they were “going back for more tofu right now.”
CrossTies Barbecue has perfected the traditional barbecue dishes such as ribs and brisket, while also creating a strong affinity for healthy alternatives like barbecue tofu. This helps the restaurant cater to a vegetarian demographic that holds a heavy presence in Carrboro. This meticulous food preparation has allowed for Chef Andrew Moore to revitalize the Downtown Carrboro area through an intensive reinvestment into a once failing food site.
Citations Sin, Courtney Hon Wall. “Envisioning the Downtown: the Design of Third Places to Revitalize Town-Gown Downtowns.” University of Waterloo, 2007, p. 33. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses [ProQuest].  Barrett, Matt. “North Carolina Travel GuideIntroduction to Carrboro.” Carrboro, North Carolina, www.northcarolinatravels.com/carrboro/introduction/index.htm.  Brown, Whitney Elizabeth. “From Cotton Mill to Co-Op: the Rise of a Local Food Culture in Carrboro, North Carolina.” Thesis / Dissertation ETD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010, p. 45.  T, Freiler. “CrossTies Barbecue.” Yelp.com, Yelp!, 10 Jan. 2017, www.yelp.com/biz/crossties-barbeque-carrboro?q=right%2Bnow.