Skids: A local business that has stood the test of time with good fun, great food and a home style atmosphere

By Daniel Temple

One breakfast platter: $3.95.  A Skid’s Special Cheeseburger: $4.65.  A local family style restaurant with over 50 years of history?  Priceless. 

                As Alamance County continues to grow, new restaurants from popular franchises are springing up seemingly every other day.  The recently developed Alamance Crossing features new and hip places to dine such as Red Bowl Asian Bistro, Buffalo Wild Wings and Texas Roadhouse. 

                During the years, as new places have come and gone, Skid’s has continued to be a mainstay in the Alamance community, serving up home style food in a family environment since 1947. 

                “Things really haven’t changed much around here,” says George Katsoudas, owner of Skid’s at Elon.  “We still use the same ingredients, the same recipes and we make it the same old-fashioned way like we have for years.”

                The original Skid’s Drive-In, which was opened in 1947 on North Church Street, Burlington, North Carolina, continues to operate today. 

The original Skid’s drive-in on North Church Street, Burlington, North Carolina

The original Skid’s drive-in on North Church Street, Burlington, North Carolina

 

In 1982, the Katsoudas family, who worked at the drive-In throughout the 1960s and 1970s, bought the restaurant.  They later branched out with Skid’s at Elon, which quickly became a local favorite of the Elon community. 

“I’ve been eating at Skid’s for a long time now,” says Gus Lewis, a retired salesman and Burlington citizen.  “It’s a place where you know you can get some good food with some good people.”

Customers enjoy a hot meal and morning coffee at Skid’s at Elon

Customers enjoy a hot meal and morning coffee at Skid’s at Elon

George Katsoudas, whose family still owns and operates the original Skid’s, says that even though Alamance County has gone through some incredible changes over the years, people still remember Skid’s.

                “We’ll have people that have been gone for 20 to 25 years,” says Katsoudas.  “And when they eventually come back they’ll revisit Skid’s and be shocked but genuinely pleased that we’re still running.”

                The secret to Skid’s success, Katsoudas says is in the way they treat their customers. 

                “The people who run this place really care about the customers,” says Katsoudas.  “We love to see people come in here with their families and years down the road we’ll see them bring kids of their own.”  

                It is this kind of environment that makes Skid’s so attractive, not just for local citizens and residents, but for Elon University students and faculty as well.  Skid’s provides a number of services to the university including pre-game meals for Elon coaches and athletes. 

                “I love to eat at Skid’s,” says Steph Hicks, a junior and a cheerleader for Elon University.  “The servers are really friendly and I’m in love with their pancakes.”

                Many local restaurants survive these days by finding a niche customer group and relying on their continued service.  However Skid’s has proven that local businesses can continue to grow and attract new customers.      

                “The great thing about Skid’s is that you get to meet all sorts of people,” says Linda Robertson, manager of Skid’s at Elon.  “It’s not for the rich, the poor, the old, the young, it’s really for everyone.”

                The restaurant, which goes through about 17,000 lbs of food per year, is run with the philosophy that fresh food and preparation is instrumental in the quality of the meal.  With so many tantalizing options, the hardest decision is often what not to order. 

                “My favorite item has got to be the pancakes,” says Hicks.  “I could practically live off of their pancakes.”

                “Most people who have never come in before will order a burger or some kind of sandwich,” says Katsoudas.  “Once they start coming back, they love to try new items like the meat loaf or the chicken and dumplings.”

          

Katsoudas (on left) talks to customers as they enjoy an old-fashioned, home style meal

Katsoudas (on left) talks to customers as they enjoy an old-fashioned, home style meal

                 One thing that Skid’s prides itself on, according to Katsoudas, is the way people who work there give back to the community.  This is achieved by pleasant conversations, in which the Skid’s employees not only ask, but listen to their customers.

                “We get people coming in here and we don’t hesitate to ask how they’re doing or see how they’re going,” says Katsoudas.  “It’s in this way that we get to know people and start to build relationships with them.”

                “Skid’s really has a good sense of community,” says Hicks.  “I’ll go in there and they already know my order, which is something you don’t see every day.”

  At a time when economic woes seem to be troubling everyone, places like Skid’s show that there are some things that are just more important than the almighty dollar. 

“Business-wise you know you want to provide a good service and be successful,” says Katsoudas.  “But what we really want to do is give back from the heart.” 

As for the future of Skid’s, Katsoudas is confident that freshly prepared, old-fashioned food and service will be around for many years.  He estimates that he has several more years of hard work ahead of him and when the time comes to pass on the Skid’s legacy, he’ll make sure that whoever buys the place understands the value and meaning of community.

“I’d say I still have about 20 to 25 years in which I’ll run this place, and I’ll do it with the same hard work and care that I’ve always had,” says Katsoudas.  “And when I finally sell Skid’s, I’ll be looking very carefully to ensure that the next owner will commit the time and energy necessary to make Skid’s what’s its always been.” 

 

 

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