On Location: Alex’s House Restaurant

Young adult author Frank Morelli takes us on a tour of locales from his new novel, On the Way to Birdland.

Pro tip: if you ever want to get me to do something for you, the perfect motivator is food. That’s right, food. If you walk up to me with a hot, steaming steak sandwich dripping with cheese and overflowing with sauteed onions, I’m putty in your hands. A dozen donuts and a cup of coffee? I’ll wash and wax your car.

But a breakfast item?

Well, I can tell you right now, if you’re wielding a Belgian waffle I may drop to one knee and offer my proposal right then and there.

If I think about it, and if I’m being really honest, it may have been breakfast that ultimately lured me to my adopted hometown of High Point, North Carolina. That is, it may have been the final nail driven into the coffin that helped me make the decision to leave the center of the literary world in New York City and land in a tiny, rural town in the South that has more barbecue joints than traffic lights.

And it all started one morning as I sat down in an 80s-style booth in a tiny gem of a restaurant located at 1223 North Main Street in High Point. That’s the location of a storied landmark known as Alex’s House, a prototypical Southern breakfast specialist and grilling expert with a parking lot that gets so crowded with cars sometimes it’s like playing a game of vehicular Jenga.

But it’s worth the tight squeeze and the automotive gymnastics it takes to sit down inside with a steaming plate of grits, come hashbrown, and your eggs cooked any style. And it’s worth it to munch on a slice of buttered toast, and sip your cup of black coffee, while you listen to folks at the counter complain about this year’s recruiting class for the UNC Tarheels or recount the last five ball games played right down the street at Truist Point Stadium.

It’s also where the protagonist of my latest young adult novel, On the Way to Birdland, would stop for a quick bite to eat before school with his brother, Travis. And the restaurant serves to form the very cornerstone of a brotherly relationship that may not be as fruitful and loving as young Cordy Wheaton would like to remember it. 

I hope you’ll have a chance to grab a delicious breakfast at Alex’s House if you’re ever in the High Point area, and I also hope you’ll do your part to support indie bookstores like Sunrise Books by pre ordering your signed copy of On the Way to Birdland today.

Happy reading, y’all!

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