CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Behind the wheel, Wes Hawn constantly drives in search of the next great meal.
The Asheville man, known as The Carolina Foodie, feeds the seemingly insatiable appetite for mouthwatering social media content, a journey that began at the height of COVID-19.
“Working at home, and the restaurants, you just heard about all the struggles, and I was just having fun making little videos at that point, just having a good time,” he said of his motivation to post clips of himself gorging on great food.
He works as an attorney-at-law, but we quickly realized he’d rather be an attorney at lunch, driving with both hands at 12 o’clock as he made his way towards a Charlotte landmark.
The next stop is Brooks’ Sandwich House in NoDa, celebrating 50 years in business. Earlier this month, Reader’s Digest named their burger the best in North Carolina.
“When you drive up, you know you’re at a good place just from the smell of it,” said Hawn, there for the first time.
Co-owner David Brooks is proud that his food has stayed consistent through changing times.
“Well, back in 1973, there was no social media,” David Brooks said.
But he acknowledged it doesn’t hurt to have someone like Hawn waiting to sample the menu. The food-lover works as an attorney-at-law, but it’s clear he’d much rather be an attorney at lunch.
“I’m hungry, guys,” Hawn said, standing in line.
“People tell me I need to get the cheeseburger all the way,” Hawn said at the iconic local counter, adding fries and a fried bologna sandwich to his order.
He’s a natural-born ham, which might explain his more than 24 thousand followers.
“You talk about being in hog heaven today,” he said, addressing his camera.
He built his hungry fanbase by learning to talk with his mouth full.
“That is a nice mild chili. Man, that is good! That burger, you can tell, is hand-pattied,” he told his audience.
“That is super brisket right there!” he said at Big Tiny’s.
“Look at that shrimp!” he said at Headwaters Kitchen in Old Fort.
No one’s more surprised by his following than Wes.
“When I started doing this a couple of years ago, back during COVID and just getting take-out, and sitting in my car and trying it—just having some fun with it—and helping out a few restaurants, I never dreamed I’d be sitting here talking to you,” said Hawn.
He credits his passion for exploring new places from the OG foodies, his grandparents.
“And we’d go in, try the local food, and talk to folks, so that was kind of in my blood from an early age,” he said, reminiscing about family road trips.
The Carolina Foodie isn’t yet running for mayor of Flavortown (a la Guy Fieri). He chews the fat online to help give a spark to the changing restaurant industry.
“And I hope I can help them out a little bit, too,” Hawn said. “So I hope it’s a win, win, win.”
“Oh yeah, it’s a definite help,” said Brooks.
Hawn emphasized that he isn’t trying to be a harsh food critic and hurt someone’s business, so he only posts about restaurants that he likes.
When it comes to Brooks, the lawyer’s closing argument was compelling.
“Man, that chili is spot… Mmm!” he said, wiping his mouth.
Turns out, The Carolina Foodie even seems genuine when he’s full of baloney.
“Is there anything better than fried bologna!” Hawn said.