RO's is one of those local low-frills institutions that you rarely find in the modern era. It has been around since 1946 and it specializes in a BBQ sandwich that you either hate or adore with nothing much in between. The thing to know about the BBQ is that it does not work without the restaurant's trademark slaw, which is unlike any other slaw you have ever tried. It is a finely minced concoction of cabbage, mayo, chilli sauce, pickles and pimento peppers to name a few ingredients. If you order a BBQ sandwich WITHOUT slaw you are in for a bland disappointment.
I'm a dedicated BBQ eater and I've had BBQ from all over the country, but RO's is different from all of them. It is, in fact, not so much a BBQ as a special sandwich of slaw and roast pork. But RO's has been around since the dying days of WW2 and it continues to pack 'em in despite a bad location in a small, dying town, so logic suggests they are doing something right.
At RO's, you can go inside to eat in the clean but spartan dining room or you can flash your lights and let a curb boy take your order and deliver it right to your car. Either way, the service is good, fast and friendly. If you eat in your car, ask for extra napkins because the sandwiches are pretty messy.
You might also check out a somewhat local softdrink called Cheerwine, which is sold at RO's. Despite its name, the drink, which was born about 65 miles from RO's home-- in Salisbury, NC--contains no alcohol. Like RO's, the drink is unique. It has a light cherry flavor and a touch of citrus, I think. It it is darn good and goes great with an RO's BBQ sandwich.
I do not recommend any BBQ dish except the sandwich (minced is best) because you really need to have the pork and the slaw blended into a single item in order to get the true RO's effect. You can also get a hot dog with the slaw on it that is pretty good. You can even get a slaw sandwich, meaning one made of slaw only, but you have to be a pretty serious lover of the slaw for that one to work for you. RO's also sells pimento cheese and bologna sandwiches, just to give you an idea of how down-home and Southern the place is.
RO's only location is in Gastonia, NC, a textile town (or it was until the industry began fading away) of about 50,000 people 20 miles west of Charlotte. It doesn't advertise much and isn't t on a main highway, so you will have to make an extra effort to find it. It's well worth the effort if you want to visit a drive-in restaurant that has barely changed in more than 60 years. RO's is a special place. And for most who go there, the BBQ is downright addictive.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.