Favourite Aberdeenshire stop changes

Over more than 12 years Gadie’s and its associated business Touched by Scotland became a favoured stopping off point in Oyne, Aberdeenshire, just a short distance from the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.

Gadie’s – which took its name from the Gadie River that flowed nearby and was immortalised in the song The Back of Bennachie – was a popular stopping whether you were looking for coffee and bakes, or a more substantial meal. The clue to the American influence in the offerings came from the big Stars and Stripes over the mantelpiece – the owner was indeed American.

Lil' C's Bar-B-Q Aberdeenshire

Latterly, Gadie’s was making a name for itself as a music venue with regular evening gigs in the restaurant.

But, now, Gadie’s is history, as is the Touched by Scotland shop connected to it.

In its place is Lil’ C’s Bar-B-Q.

As the name suggests the focus is now, even more strongly, transatlantic. The menu features things like a “Dirty Cheeseburger”, ribs, chuck steak, two types of chilli and pulled pork sandwiches. There’s also options of steak, pork belly, chicken, salmon or tofu. There’s also a children’s menu.

They say there’s nothing as American as Apple Pie – unless it is Key Lime Pie, Pecan Pie, or chocolate fudge cake which are among the desert offerings.

Good news for those who enjoyed Gadie’s authentic American milk shakes is that they are still on offer and can also be bought to take away. Music gigs also continue to feature.

We both opted for the pulled pork sandwiches, one going for sweet potato fries, the other for standard fries. We duly ordered at the counter as requested. For drinks, I was directed to a fridge with cans and bottles of soft drinks, while behind the counter was a fridge with American Budweiser. I’m not an American Bud fan – so, even though I wasn’t driving, a soft drink was preferable. I felt the choice was a bit limited and it would be nice to have American favourites like American lemonade or iced tea.

The sandwiches and fries arrived promptly from the kitchen and proved very satisfying. We’d definitely recommend you try the Lil’ C’s barbecue sauce, which is delicious with just the right amount of fire.

It’s always difficult when a restaurant changes. Inevitably we sat there feeling a bit disappointed that there wasn’t the same range of choices and specials that used to be offered at Gadie’s.

You can see why the new format makes commercial sense – the staff complement seemed notably less. There was just one person at the counter and one serving, plus however many were in the background in the kitchens.

For us, though, the whole experience was a less friendly and cosy and felt like less of an occasion.

However there were a number of large tables with families and youngsters, who were clearly enjoying the informality of Lil’ C’s dining style as their tables had the appearance of a picnic venue. That’s maybe the clue to the new style. Let’s face it, a younger clientele is the key to the future as long as you don’t lose too many of the traditional customers in the process.

The bill for two of us came to £22 for the sandwiches, fries and two cans of drinks.
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