Soon a barbecue restaurant in a former fish campsite

A former fishing camp in southeast Gaston County will soon change dietary focus as aspirants’ paradise for pork barbecue.

Construction has been going on for quite a while this summer at 4571 S. New Hope Road, in the brick building most recently occupied by Captain Jim’s Steak and Seafood. Once a major redevelopment of the property is completed this year, it will reopen as Ray Nathan’s Barbecue.

“They are doing a fantastic job fitting out the building,” said George Fotinos of Greenville, SC, a Dallas native who bought the real estate last year and now rents it to Ray Nathan’s team. “It’s going to be really cool.”

The building at the busy intersection of South New Hope and Armstrong Ford Roads, directly across from Twin Tops Fish Camp, is steeped in culinary history. From 1965 to 2012, it was home to Graham’s Fish Fry, where he was born from the $ 50 a week Clifford Graham raised as a cook of fries at another local restaurant. He and his wife, Dorothy Sellers Graham, have spent 47 years serving everything from stuffed crab and flounder, to catfish, frog legs and fries. Six years ago, their grandchildren closed the brick and mortar site to focus on restoration.

In 2014, local businessman Jim Willard acquired the property and opened a hybrid fish camp / steakhouse known as Captain Jim’s Steak and Seafood. It closed in 2016 shortly after Willard’s death at the age of 67.

Fotinos graduated from North Gaston High School and his parents still live in Belmont after moving there from Dallas. As a real estate investor, he keeps an eye on growing areas of Gaston County and saw the vacant restaurant as a valid bet last year. He paid it $ 550,000 in April 2017.

The old fishing lodge is 8,772 square feet and covers 3.1 acres. It has a Gaston County tax value of over $ 578,000.

Online message boards have partnered with theories about what moves in space, including that it could be a local incarnation of Maurice’s Piggie Park barbecue in Columbia, South Carolina. But Fotinos has confirmed that will not be the case.

Fotinos said that Ray Nathan’s Barbecue will have a whole new look compared to previous restaurants in this space. Cedar wood is installed on the exterior walls of the brick structure, to give a better atmosphere to the exterior.

“They gut the whole interior,” he said. “They are adding party rooms and a gathering room and also installing an outdoor smoker, where they go to smoke all of their fresh barbecue every day.”

Fotinos said he believes the business will benefit from growth in Belmont, Cramerton, Gastonia and the southeastern corner of the county.

“They will be successful in this area,” he said. “There is no barbecue nearby and they know what they are doing.

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.

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