Sunday, April 28, 2013

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ode to the Nettleton Shoe

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Story of Boar and Castle Sauce

written by Boyd Morris

Leon Thomas developed his sauce in the late 20's.
When he opened his signature restaurant he called
it Boar and Castle Restaurant after the name of a
pub in a Samuel Johnson book. The sauce quickly
became known as "Boar and Castle Sauce".
The restaurant e...volved into a drive-in in
the 40's. By the mid-50's Leon began to bottle
his sauce. He designed the label himself,
established a trademark, and began distributing
it to local outlets. Due to the rapid growth
in sales he eventually contracted with a Greensboro
company to do the distribution. Jim Ennis
arrived on the scene in the late 50s-early
60's as an employee working with Leon in the
drive-in. When Leon retired in 1968, he hired
Jim as the manager of the drive-in and the
bottling process. As owner of the Boar and
Castle® Company, Leon was not involved in
the day-to-day operations but was still the
decision-maker regarding all Boar and Castle®
Company business. When Leon died in the mid
70's, his wife Louise took on the decision-making
role and kept Jim in his existing role. In the
early 80's Boar and Castle® Company, LLP (Louise
and Leon's three children) sold the property.
At that time Jim Ennis was given a contract
with exclusive rights to bottle the recipe and
distribute Boar and Castle® Sauce. Jim purchased
his own bottling equipment and set up shop.
The Boar and Castle® Company (Leon's heirs)
held proprietary rights to the original recipe
and any workplace product modifications while
adapting the bottling to the new equipment.
This oversight and control continue through
each contract renewal. Jim and his wife Evelyn
continued to meet the requirements of the contract
until Evelyn became gravely ill in 2007.
She died in the Spring of 2008. Even though
Jim was no longer manufacturing the sauce, Boar
and Castle® Company allowed the contract to
continue in case Jim came to decide to start
up again. Jim's contract ended June 2009.
In the mid 90's I contacted Jim to explore
the possibility of a subcontract to bottle
and distribute Boar and Castle® Sauce in Texas.
Jim was eager to expand, but working full-time
as an accountant, he did not have the bandwidth
to do so. He took me under his wing and taught
me his business: the recipe, his mixing and
bottling process, the specific sources and
requirements for each ingredient, and provided
me with a list of his current customers and
access to the original label. RBMorris & Co.
LLC signed a contract with Jim Ennis that gave
us the exclusive right to manufacture and
distribute Boar and Castle® Sauce throughout
the United States with the only exception being
his Piedmont NC area and his customer subset.
To insure product integrity, we agreed Jim would
be shipped a case from the first run of the
new bottler and if he were not satisfied, the
product would not be sold until he was. He gave
us his whole-hearted approval for the go-ahead.
Jim continued to work with us, but, unfortunately
the Texas market and its love of tomato based
products was a hard nut to crack. We could not
get our sales up enough, quickly enough. When
we decided to return to our home state, we made
the decision to not pursue possibilities here but
to leave all the territories to Jim's development
if he so chose. When we realized the sauce was
disappearing and learned of his wife's illness
we contacted him to offer our sympathy. He told
us he would contact us if he decided to restart
the operation during the remaining contract period.
Once his contract ended, we contacted Boar and
Castle Company LLP and learned they were accepting
applications from potential contractors. We went
through a long negotiating process to ensure the
integrity and secrecy of the product Jim had been
producing for the last 10 years. They concurred
with our knowledge of process and sources Jim had
been using and confirmed that the work product recipe
we received from Jim was in fact what had been
bottled for them for the last 10 years or more.
In addition the Boar and Castle Company owners held
a taste test of their own and declared us the
"real" deal. They were very pleased with the proposed
new label design and our strong interest in growing
the market for Boar and Castle® Sauce outside the
Piedmont area. As a result, as of October '09 RBMorris
& Co. LLC now has the exclusive rights to bottle,
market and distribute Boar and Castle® Sauce within
the United States. Responses to concerns you may have:
The Boar and Castle Company would never allow the
use of their product name and trademark on any product
that did not maintain the continuity and integrity
of what they had been contracting for for years.
This is a legendary North Carolina product and the
current owners expect to pass it on to their heirs.
A taste test between an aged product and a freshly
made one from the same recipe is fraught with problems.
As confirmed by our own bottler, the aging process
produces a darker color over time and in complex
recipes such as Boar and Castle® Sauce individual
ingredients age at different rates to produce an
ever-changing target. We also have sauce from one
of Jim's last runs and, yes, we expected there to
be slight differences. The same things can be seen
in many other products, for example Heinz 57 or
A1 Sauce. In situations where a product has been
off the market for a while, the best validation
is in the memory of its former users and in the
testimony of its owners. Knowing that memories
of a discontinued product can be tricky, even
in the minds of the most avid fan, Boar and Castle
Company, LLP and RBMorris & Co. LLC conducted a
blind taste test after the contract was signed
with a sample of folks who had been buying Boar
and Castle® Sauce regularly prior to the
discontinuation of bottling by Jim Ennis. While
we did not include the aged sauce that Jim had
bottled 2+ years ago, we did include a variation
of the Boar and Castle® Sauce you have tried
that had slightly more of a savory tang. As you
know, palates also do change with age and from
a marketing standpoint we were interested in
this variable as well as any perceived differences
between the sauce you tried and the sauce the
testers had been buying for years. 95% of the
tasters overwhelmingly selected the sauce you
have in your possession as the one they had been
buying. Comments ranged from "This is the real
deal", "I want a case now - how much is it?",
"This is very close to what I remember. Thomas
'Castle Sauce' doesn't hold a candle to it," to
"It's not 100% but it's very close. I've been
trying all the Castle Sauce imitations I could
find and your sauce is the closest without a doubt!

Friday, August 6, 2010

American Graffiti-Our Boar and Castle

American Graffiti

One of my all-time favorite movies is American Graffiti.
This is not going to be the subject of this month’s rant.
I made it the title mostly to get your attention.
I wanted to draw you to the fact that kids today have
nowhere to hang out unless you count the tattoo parlor
or maybe one of the wing joints in town. It does not
matter to me if the kids choose to hang together.
It does concern me that kids are sporting tattoos
that won’t wash off. However, that is another rant.

No love for the automobile may be a reason that kids
do not migrate towards hangouts like we did in my
teenage years. Now, I know that times are different.
I know that what my father liked and what his father
liked are two different things. I just do not have
a way to share my feelings about the way life used
to be and make the kids of today appreciate it.
My wife says I am starting to sound like my old man.
As much as I love him, I do not want to become him
in my old age. But where is the fun in staying home
on facebook, or playing some computer game against
someone in China, or playing Guitar Hero alone?
I just don’t get it.

Our American Graffiti hangout was a drive-thru in
Greensboro, North Carolina called the Boar and Castle.
You could not eat inside, but bar hops brought your
food to the car. The food was cheap, delicious,
and featured a sauce concocted by the owners called
‘Castle Sauce.”

Even though the Castle closed down in the eighties,
people still talk about it as if it were still located
on Market Street. I met my first wife there, but
that again is another story. I do not have enough
paper to tell that story, even if the lawyers would
give me permission. My main purpose is to make you
understand the camaraderie of the teenagers of my day.
Everyone cleaned up their cars, got dressed in
their finest casual clothes, and drove to the Castle.
The object was to be seen, to meet girls or boys,
and to date. There was a lit up side where everyone
ate and hung out. If you were lucky enough to meet
someone, you took her to the other side, which was
dark and romantic. This sounds mischievous or
somewhat evil, but really it was just good clean fun,
with some kissing or necking as we used to call it.

You knew all the car hops by name and they knew you
and your date’s name if you were going steady.
This is another old term that people do not use anymore,
but for us it was a sign that the person you
dated belonged with you and only you. Seems to me
that today everyone dates in groups, or at least
meets their date out somewhere. When I asked someone
about this they said, “It’s safer to meet this way.”
Safer from what? Is everyone afraid that their date
may be a killer? Have we become so callous as to
worry about who we are dating?

I am sure no one wants to go back to the good old days.
But, if the days when cokes were a nickel, gas was
thirty cents a gallon ,and a cute girl would meet you
over on the dark side of the Castle and smooch for a
while, or at least until her curfew could be resurrected
at least one person around here would be happier.

I guess I couldn’t construct enough word on this page to
bring back the idea of young people getting together for
fun instead of sharing tattoos. Of course I am from
another generation and maybe I need to get a tattoo
that says, “I Love Mom,” then maybe this would turn
out to be more fun than I thought. The wife says just
try it and she is out the door. Could someone please
send me the address of a good tattoo parlor?

Seth Bradley

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Facebook Boar and Castle Group

If you are on Facebook be sure to go to the

Boar and Castle Facebook group. There are

many people in the world who have shared the

experiences of the Boar and Castle and enjoyed

sharing their memories with people of the same

ilk. Join the Facebook Boar and Castle group


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Classmate Response

Thanks for the info on the "Castle Sauce". I want you to
know that I really enjoyed reading your blog. It brought
back so many memories of things I had almost forgotten.
You are a wonderful writer.
Mrs. Dickinson would be so proud!

Anne Hussey Winn

Castle Sauce

Thomas Gourmet Foods in Greensboro, North Carolina
is now distributing a product in the same size bottle
as Boar and Castle sauce called just "Castle Sauce".
The ingredients are close to the original, but the
sauce is a little bit more of the hot spice flavor
than the Boar and Castle Sauce that we loved so much.
Don't get me wrong. I like it. Since buying 12 bottles
on Monday we have consumed two bottles already and this
is just Thursday. We purchased the Castle Sauce at Bessemer
Curb Market in Greensboro .Go by and try a bottle. It is
better than the alternative, which was zero.
Let me know how you like it.