Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House
Miami Beach, Florida

“You know,” my sister laughs, “this place reminds me of a big Woolworths.” I study my surroundings: miniature ceramic tiles on the walls, terra cotta floor, wide picture windows. “This place” is Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House Restaurant, a Miami Beach institution that specializes in home cooking with a Jewish flair. Bright and airy, like a sprawling old dime store, the place can seat hundreds. There’s no turnstile at the entrance, but patrons are corralled, according to party size, into lanes separated by tubular chrome rails. Like Disney World.

Shaped like the letter “D,” the counter has room for dozens of diners. This late afternoon, only two of the red vinyl stools are occupied, both by elderly gentlemen. One of them works a crossword, and on three occasions, he asks his limping, white-haired waitress for assistance with the puzzle. Each time, she glances at the old fellow before brushing him off with a curt “I dunno” and a wave of her hand.

Our spacious booth—more red vinyl—sits directly in front of the kitchen. Throughout my meal, I watch as servers rush through the dual chrome doors. In the kitchen, a half-dozen sweating cooks in white aprons shuffle between steaming grills and long stainless tables. They mix, ladle, and plate food with the precision of carnival magicians. About waist-high and a few feet in diameter, a kettle way in the back of the kitchen likely holds the chicken matzo ball soup, a staple here.

A lethargic waiter, Ken, ambles toward our table and greets us. Overweight, with unkempt, oily hair and sleepy eyes, he speaks in short phrases—“turkey’s good”; “go for the beef”; “I’ll be back.” The menu lists hundreds of choices, from chopped liver and kasha varnishkas, to bacon and eggs and seafood, plus beer and wine.

Unable to decide, we spend fifteen minutes studying the menu. In general, the prices appear high. A simple grilled cheese sandwich, for instance, costs $6.95 a la carte, while a corned beef on rye goes for $10.95. Wolfie’s charges $2.25 for a sliced tomato, $1.95 for a dollop of sour cream, and $3.50 for a side of baked beans. However, $10.95 for a full dinner seems fair.

Ken returns and leans on the side of the booth, his crumpled white shirt falling out of his slacks. With arms folded and mouth wrinkled, the waiter listens as we order, not bothering to write down our selections. He looks bored or tired, or both, like he’s been on duty here since the place opened in 1954.

We begin with a trio of relishes—average kosher dills, crunchy coleslaw in vinegar, sweet and sour pickles. The breadbasket holds crisp bialys, soft bagels, onion flavored cocktail rye, and pumpernickel, all baked in house and tasty.

Two thick slices of meatloaf, each about as broad as the sole of a size ten boot, arrive on a plastic turkey platter. They’re flavorful and moist beneath spoonfuls of creamy mushroom gravy. Whipped mashed potatoes and rich creamed spinach accompany the entree. The beef stew contains chunks of tender meat, whole red potatoes, and peas and carrots in a syrupy tomato based sauce. A generous fillet lightly browned, the grilled chopped steak tastes like a basic hamburger, minus the bun. It’s served with crisp and hot French fries. Three members of our group share their meals and still have enough food left over to fill two large take out containers. As expected from a 24-hour diner, the strong coffee tastes great.

The extensive dessert menu could rival the offerings of any neighborhood bakery. It features classics like lemon meringue pie, strawberry shortcake, and pound cake, plus specialties such as coconut macaroons, bobka, and rugalas (walnut filled cookies). Dessert prices range from $2.50 for a single black and white cookie, to a whopping $5.95 for a slice of pie.

Full-page advertisements in local publications laud Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House as “voted Best Delicatessen.” The ads emphasize the “fabulous home cooking,” and picture the busy storefront after dark. Also pictured is an attractive long-legged blonde in short shorts, a halter-top, and high heels. I expect—and hope—to find her type pouring coffee and balancing trays at the Rascal House. Instead, I find Ken and an equally sloppy wait staff in a fifty-year-old restaurant that has never seen an upgrade.

But the food at this Miami Beach landmark is good and plentiful, and just walking through the door feels like an about-face in time. F.W. Woolworth would feel right at home. Well, until he noticed the prices on the menu.

from 2005

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Driving Florida's A1A
Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach

Extending 328 miles from the Georgia line south to Key West, Florida’s State Road A1A offers Atlantic coast travelers a scenic alternative to the hectic monotony of neighboring Interstate 95. One particularly busy stretch of A1A covers some 30 miles of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.

From the Galt Ocean Mile with its soaring condominium buildings, to the impeccable, palm-lined public beach where tanned and fit specimens sunbathe and exercise, Fort Lauderdale’s oceanfront exemplifies sophistication and fun. South of fashionable Las Olas Boulevard, beyond the elegant mansions that border the Intracoastal Waterways, and past the public marina, State Road A1A’s 17th Street Bridge spans the harbor, towering above cruise ships and container ships stacked high with cargo. Then, working class Ft. Lauderdale comes into view. In neighborhoods here, public buses outnumber luxury automobiles, and modest single family homes predominate.

At Hollywood Beach, A1A snakes through a canyon formed by high rises—mostly residential units with windows shuttered this late spring. By now, many of the seasonal residents have moved north to escape the impending heat of summer. Aside from a FedEX delivery man and one elderly woman shielded by an umbrella, the sidewalks are void of pedestrians this “low season” afternoon.

Farther south at Hallandale Beach and later at Golden Beach, the sky-high concrete eases as gated estates, many of them behind perfectly trimmed hedges 12 feet high, extend for a mile along the oceanfront.

Then A1A opens to three lanes of traffic in each direction. Modern granite towers with tinted windows neighbor aged buildings trimmed with faded awnings and metal latticework. Maids and factory workers stand at bus stops. Vehicles crawl through a string of traffic lights. Car horns blare and trucks roar. Clouds of exhaust hover above the pavement. Graffiti covers light posts and utility boxes. Construction cranes soar above the street, bringing more development to an already overdeveloped beach. For miles, concrete obstructs the ocean view.

Despite its large number of towers, Bal Harbour appears attractive. Pineapple palms and coconut palms line the sidewalks and the street medians along A1A. Tightly spaced, they create a canopy effect, especially evident when viewed on approach from the north bridge. Elegant boutiques, spaced as tightly as the palm trees, form the “Shops of Bal Harbour.”

At central Miami Beach, discount stores, tattoo and piercing parlors, and restaurants with grease stained windows occupy street side plazas. The miles-long boardwalk parallel to the ocean and just steps from A1A attracts tattooed teenagers, bearded beach bums, and foul-mouthed transients who beg for money. A sizable number of police officers patrol this area, in cars, on motorcycles, on bicycles, and on foot.

Thirty miles from Fort Lauderdale at Miami’s South Beach, where A1A ribbons along the Intracoastal Waterway, the 1920s and 1930s Art Deco architecture so characteristic of the area comes into view. It begins gradually, often with a curvy pastel colored building sandwiched between generic neighbors. And, here, neon is king. The Shelborne Hotel, the Geneva, and the Carlton all display colored tubing above their doors.

The feel is unquestionably metropolitan, and this beach side community bustles. Pedestrians stroll along swept white sidewalks. Diners gather at outdoor cafes, sheltered from the midday sun by colorful umbrellas. There’s a marked increase in bicycles and motor scooters, and a noticeable upgrade in style. Women here look elegant in miniskirts and high-heeled sandals. They wear their hair in modern coifs and their makeup in tasteful tones. The men look equally fashionable in pressed slacks and lightweight button–down shirts.

Its streets crowded with low-rise apartments and hotels, spacious diners, and shops, Miami’s South Beach is a city in itself. Save for the modern day fashions and the modern day shops—the Ralph Lauren, the 9 West, and the TGI Fridays—South Beach exudes a stylish, Gatsby-like character. The black Duesenberg parked at the entrance to the Casablanca Hotel, the neon lights, and the stucco facades tinted pink, yellow, and tangerine contribute to the classic atmosphere of this trendy neighborhood. And just beyond the A1A, only steps from all the activity, sea oats overspread mounds of sand and the public beach eases into the Atlantic Ocean.

from 2005

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Greenbrier Restaurant
Madison, Alabama

At the intersection of two remote farm roads in Madison, Alabama, beside cotton fields that stretch endlessly, a faded Coca-Cola sign stands on an old steel post, welcoming folks to the Greenbrier Restaurant. The flat-roofed, faded beige cinder block structure sits on Old Highway 20, just two miles off Interstate 565 but seemingly light years from civilization.

Wooden beams support low ceilings in the restaurant’s dim dining rooms. Dark paneling covers the walls, while vinyl tablecloths cover the sturdy wooden tables.

We sample the house specialty, the large barbecue pork dinner, a hefty half-pound serving of tender shredded meat for $6.95. The steaming entree arrives on a jumbo plastic platter, beside a baked potato and a mound of tart green slaw topped with a pair of dill pickle chips.

The combination plate—"this one's a lot of eatin'"according to the menu—includes a whole pen-raised catfish and two half-foot slabs of barbecued ribs for $10.95. The breaded catfish fillet tastes fresh and spicy, and our server kindly provides instructions on navigating the fish bones. Although they lack the “fall off the bone” tenderness, the Greenbrier ribs are meaty, if fatty, and tangy. A pile of soft French fries covers the remainder of the plate.

A series of squeeze bottles sits on each table, each one containing a signature sauce. “Only the ketchup isn’t homemade,” our waitress explains. I prefer the unusual mayonnaise and vinegar based white barbecue sauce and the traditional red barbecue sauce with the smoky edge. Louisiana hot sauce, Tabasco, and a spicy vinegar and pan-drippings sauce round out the lineup. Twelve to each basket, the complimentary hush puppies are crunchy and dark with a slightly sweet center. I enjoy several of them as dessert.

A representative from the visitor’s center in nearby Huntsville recommended the Greenbrier. She assured me that the restaurant attracts a local crowd. “Every Huntsvilleian knows about the Greenbrier,” she said. Every Huntsvilleian and, following today’s dinner, this satisfied Chicagoan.

from 2004

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Stop By, Cause I Need Your Money"
North Carolina

From Waynesville to Cherokee, North Carolina, U.S. Highway 19 weaves between fog-draped chasms and tree-capped peaks. But often on this Smoky Mountain route, man-made tackiness interrupts the natural beauty.

For more than 20 miles along the winding and sometimes steep grade highway, roadside shacks hawk everything from moccasins to souvenir tee shirts, to ceramic plates, to pottery, to Indian rugs, to costume jewelry. Masquerading as antiques, rusted tools and farm implements clutter unkempt lawns and gravel driveways. Countless items are available for sale, brazenly advertised in big letters on barns, cinder-block walls, and billboards.

Barbecue stands, casual restaurants, neat little single-story motels, and bed and breakfast inns compete with the vendors for prime highway exposure. The number of roadside establishments overwhelms, prompting travelers to dart their eyes from side to side, if only to investigate this tourist driven panorama.

At Cherokee, North Carolina’s gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and home to the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Native Americans beneath headdress and feathered garb sit beside tepees pitched on the asphalt parking lots of decrepit gift shops. Acting as bait for the heavy tourist trade, they agree to pose for cameras—for a fee—before directing visitors toward the merchandise. Undoubtedly, an emphasis on commercialism has enhanced Cherokee’s economy. But the profit-geared street side displays overshadow the town’s true Native American heritage.

A bold message posted on one billboard facing U.S. 19 might serve as the official motto for area merchants. It reads, “Stop By, Cause I Need Your Money.”

from 2004

Monday, February 15, 2010

Way Down Yonder In...Treasure Island
Treasure Island, Florida

I first heard the Dixie Chaps last November, during a visit to the Treasure Island post office where a recording of their lively arrangement of the Dixieland classic “South” fluttered across the room like a windswept envelope. In response to my inquiry, a postal clerk nodded toward a speaker on the wall. “Oh, they’re a local band,” he said. “They play at the Bilmar Hotel every Wednesday. “

Our group arrives at the popular Bilmar just before sunset on a balmy June night and locates an available table in a courtyard formed by sturdy stucco walls and decorated with palm trees and tropical shrubs. One side of the courtyard opens to a swimming pool where, this evening, motel guests lounge on inflatable rafts or slam oversized beach balls. Steps from our table, at the hotel’s beachfront lounge, a handful of patrons relax at wicker tables with beers and mixed drinks. Through sliding doors left ajar, I can see a clarinet and a trombone resting on stands beside a trio of microphones.

The aromas of char-grilled beef and baked fish waft on the warm sea breeze as servers dressed in tee shirts and shorts carry plates laden with entrees, sandwiches, and salads across the cobblestone walkways toward an outdoor cafe.

Ten minutes after our arrival, the band begins with an up-tempo song reminiscent of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street jazz halls. Comprised of five senior gents, the Dixie Chaps continue with “Basin Street Blues,” followed by “Jeepers Creepers.” They perform for nearly an hour, alternating soothing rhythms with swinging sounds.

Seated at an iron table beneath a palm in this courtyard on a sultry evening, I feel lonesome for the Crescent City. I recall the horse drawn carriages inching past Jackson Square, the warm, powdered beignets and steaming chicory coffee at Café du Monde, and the brassy tunes spilling from the dim old clubs onto the narrow streets of the French Quarter.

Then suddenly, a laid-back melody performed by the legendary clarinetist Pete Fountain comes to mind. “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” Yes, Indeed.

from 2009

Monday, February 8, 2010

Carnival Motor Inn
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

From the small lobby, I observe scratched guest room doors equipped with heavy-duty deadbolts. I notice worn carpeting and corroded railings in the breezeway. Traveling without motel reservations on an autumn weekend, we ask to see a guest room before checking in at the six-story Carnival Motor Inn on Ocean Boulevard.

Dad and I ride the shaky and slow, dim-lighted elevator to the third floor and another well-worn breezeway. I’m about to discount the Carnival Motor Inn as another rundown motel among a string of aging oceanfront properties when I realize that 30-plus years of exposure to the salty sea air has had a corrosive effect on some of the surfaces. But as we enter Room 301, I retract my initial assessment. The basic double-bedded room is spacious and very clean. It has a mini-fridge, a microwave and anything but a basic view.

Through oversized windows, we’re greeted by the Atlantic Ocean—two tones of blue with foaming whitecaps atop four-foot waves. A private balcony overlooks the motel’s swimming pool and the beach immediately beyond that. Next door, the 21-story Best Western Carolinian seems close enough to touch.

Like so many mom and pop motels that survive along coastal resort communities, the Carnival Motor Inn offers no-frills accommodations at low rates. Certainly, the room has seen its share of traffic, but a few scuffs on the furniture and a few stains on the carpet won’t affect the quality of our visit. And we can’t complain about the price. Last night we spent $44 and some change for a room overlooking the parking lot at a Motel 6 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tonight at the Carnival, the off-season rate for our room is only pennies more, at $45. But here, of course, we’re paying for the ocean view.

from 2008

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Myrtle Beach
South Carolina

We exit Interstate 95 at Florence, South Carolina and join U.S. Route 501 for the 70-mile journey south to Myrtle Beach. Despite a dense pack of vehicles, many of them sporting license plates from neighboring states and likely hurrying toward an autumn weekend getaway, traffic moves steadily at the posted speed limit.

I expect to follow a route littered with super-sized souvenir shops, pottery warehouses, craft stores and maybe a few 12-foot alligators on display in rickety roadside cages. And I spot one such place, a gaudy behemoth of a fruit and souvenir stand, painted red and yellow, and reminiscent of Florida’s back roads. Otherwise, the route follows a series of small-towns with predictable occupants, like Hardees, Walgreens and Sleep Inn, except for the “official” Myrtle Beach welcome centers. I count six of the welcome centers, each of them official, each of them offering discount tickets to the local attractions, and each of them promising the cleanest washrooms. Five billboards, each one with a bold arrow pointing toward the entrance, flank one of the official welcome centers.

I remember little since my last visit to Myrtle Beach nearly 30 years ago. I can recall driving north on Ocean Boulevard, past a wall of high-rise hotels that prohibited any view of the Atlantic Ocean, and I remember the abundance of restaurants and golf courses. Back then, we simply drove through the town, stopping only at a beachfront Holiday Inn for a peek at the ocean.

Today, as Highway 501 merges into Kings Highway (U.S. 17) at the heart of Myrtle Beach, a hodgepodge of souvenir shops, restaurants and amusement arcades collide. Here, miniature golf meets seafood restaurant, meets tee shirt emporium, meets pancake house, meets tattoo parlor.

Across from the beach, a wooden roller coaster and a Ferris wheel soar five stories into the air. Long-faced employees with arms folded lean against the doorways of the souvenir shops that rub elbows for blocks along Ocean Boulevard. They wait as tourists stroll past, many of them showing little interest in the merchandise. The hotels are packed so tightly along Ocean Boulevard that, through the car’s windshield, I have trouble deciphering their signs or addresses. However, I happen to locate the aptly named Carnival Motor Inn, a six-story motel about a mile south of the central hodgepodge, but in an area no less crowded.

from 2008

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Treasure Island, Florida

The setting sun hangs low, casting its blinding glow over the Gulf of Mexico. I’m marching south at the shore, ankle-deep in the water, about to make an about face and head back toward the motel. Suddenly, something at sea catches my eye. I squint, and then I shield my eyes from the sun’s reflection, attempting to identify what appears to be someone walking on water. Hallelujah, it’s the Second Coming.

I’m about to drop to my knees right on the sand and mutter a quick Act of Contrition. Instead, I pull my camera from its pouch on my belt as the figure atop the waves continues to move in a northwesterly direction, farther out to sea.

But, wait, the sacred image may not register on my camera’s memory card. Regardless, I attempt to focus the camera and then I snap three times. By now, a woman on the beach, maybe 20 yards ahead of me, has turned toward the water to investigate. Not yet on her knees either, she too gazes in wonderment. Recalling my religious education, I decide the image on the water couldn’t be Christ. His return, I learned would originate in the eastern sky, and we’re facing west.

Soon I realize that the offshore figure, the “water-walker,” is a young man standing on some sort of raft and paddling with a wooden stick. Shrouded by the waves, however, the raft remains unseen from the shore. And the fellow’s upright position partially conceals the stick. Some Tom Sawyer wannabe, I realize, and not yet Jesus Christ. Amen.

from 2007

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eat Fast & Step On It

“Look! A Bug!” The young boy leaps from his seat at the cramped breakfast room off the lobby of a Red Roof Inn along Interstate 75 in Kentucky. About eight years old, the kid crouches to examine the insect. “Uh, I don’t know what it is,” he announces in a voice loud enough to alert the half-dozen diners who spoon generic cereal from plastic bowls and sip orangeade from foam cups. “But it’s dead.”

Set up in an alcove between the front desk and an indoor swimming pool, the fluorescent-lighted breakfast area retains an odor of chlorine combined with the cigarette smoke that wafts from nearby guest rooms. In addition to the cereal and artificial juice, the limited offerings, placed haphazardly on a short length of counter, include white bread for toasting, packaged donut sticks, coffee, and powdered creamer. It’s all included in the price of a room--$69.99 on this summer weekend for a standard, double bedded accommodation with low-wattage light bulbs, thin towels, and threadbare sheets.

“Tommy, quiet down,” the boy’s mother scolds through squinted eyes, “these people don’t want to hear that.” Whether or not they want to hear it, everyone knows by now.

A retired couple dressed in crisp tee shirts and unblemished New Balance sneakers, and seated at the tiny table adjacent to mine, watches as the boy spies the bug. The woman arches her highlighted eyebrows and pouts her lips, an expression more appropriate for rodent infestation. Then she rests an elbow on the table and arcs a hand, like a visor, across her forehead to block out the scene. The husband stirs a packet of artificial sweetener into his coffee while chuckling at the boy’s antics.

By now, Tommy is rushing toward the counter. “I need a cup. I’ve got to catch this guy,” he blurts. Unfazed by the other diners, the boy grabs a foam cup from a stack beside the coffee pot and sprints back to the dead bug. Meanwhile, I peer over my coffee and glazed donut stick, expecting to spot a king-sized roach on the tiled floor. But when I stand and lean forward for a better look, I realize the breakfast room intruder is merely a beetle.

The mother rises from her chair and approaches her son, leaving some corn flakes and milk at her place setting. “OK, we’re going. Tommy, get away from there.” She grasps the lad’s hand and leads him away from the bug. “Doggone it,” she mutters, “I didn’t even have my coffee.” Clutching his mother’s hand, Tommy skips down the hall, the empty foam cup still in his grip.

The retired woman at the next table turns to her husband. She sighs and rolls her eyes, seemingly exhausted by this trivial ordeal. I stifle a laugh wondering how she'd react if that beetle had taken up residence on her pillow.

from 2002

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ellis Bros. Pecans
Vienna, Georgia

Off a quiet two-lane country road, just past a crooked sign that reads “Slow, Congested Area,” and opposite a patch of spindly cotton shrubs that borders a broad, dormant field, a notice posted on the trunk of a pecan tree reads, "Please do not pick up the pecans. Go into the store and purchase them.”

Below the tree, thousands of pecans lay scattered across the grass and the parking lot outside Ellis Bros. Pecans in Vienna (pronounced vie-eh-na), Georgia. With a noisy leaf blower, a young grove worker dressed in dungarees, a straw hat and work boots blows the dust and the fallen pecans off the pavement. Then a second worker rolls a small wire basket across the lawn to collect the loose nuts. His contraption resembles the noisy little popcorn popper toys that toddlers often push across the floor.

During the short drive to Ellis Bros. from Interstate 75 this November afternoon, I noticed an elderly woman on Tippettville Road with a similar implement, collecting fallen pecans beneath a tree at the roadside. Her car sat a few yards away on the grassy shoulder, beside a small orchard of persimmon trees where the orange ripened fruit hung like tiny pumpkins from the sagging branches.

Inside the store, long rows of banquet style tables extend from front to back, each one laden with plastic bags and containers filled with pecan delights. Aside from premium confections like the pralines and turtles, nearly every food product offered for sale is available for sampling. I browse and join the handful of other customers who taste dozens of varieties of pecans, from raw to roasted, from glazed to chocolate covered, from spiced to jalapeno, from cinnamon to yogurt coated. One slender young woman makes her way down the aisles, tasting sample after sample and savoring every bite. Meanwhile, her husband stands by, swinging an empty shopping basket.

In addition to nuts, Ellis Bros. offers homemade jellies and syrups, home baked pies and cookies, fresh fruit, ice cream and more. A sign on the back wall of the store reads, “Pecan wood for sale. Ask clerk for details.” Souvenirs include a line of biblical themed neckties, and tee shirts emblazoned with a clever imitation of the popular milk ad slogan. They read, “got nuts?” Well, half-an-hour and $32 later, I’ve “got nuts,” and they’re packed in plastic bags, ready for the drive home.

from 2008

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dew Drop Inn
Mobile, Alabama

A local institution since 1924 and Mobile’s oldest restaurant, the Dew Drop Inn on Old Shell Road specializes in hot dogs on toasted buns. More than just a sandwich shop however, the eatery serves fresh seafood, choice steaks, and a variety of southern side dishes.

With its rows of orange Formica tables and wooden booths, worn tile floors and wood-paneled walls, the Dew Drop Inn exemplifies casual. The place, in fact, hasn’t been remodeled in some 30 years, and it shows. But the dated surroundings only add to the restaurant’s character. Instrumental blues, piped through cheap speakers, sounds tinny yet fitting.

We arrive at 2:00 on a weekday afternoon—midway between lunch and dinner—to an impossibly crowded parking lot and a nearly full house. From construction workers to professionals in suits, all types patronize the restaurant. A smiling waitress dressed in denim shorts moseys toward our table. She explains the daily specials and even offers samples of the side dishes to help us decide. Dad and I have plenty of hot dogs back home in Chicago (on soft buns and minus the ketchup) so we bypass the house specialty and order an assortment of southern favorites at the Dew Drop Inn.

The dark gumbo, mildly seasoned and loaded with shrimp, oysters, and vegetables is an ideal southern coastal appetizer. We enjoy a breaded and fried catfish fillet—crisp and delicately spiced –and a 5-ounce, grilled hamburger steak covered with sautéed onions and brown gravy. Our sides include turnip greens with smoky bacon, creamed lima beans, tangy baked potato salad, white rice with brown gravy, and ordinary French fries. Sweet, warm finger-shaped hush puppies and crumbly corn bread complement our meals.

I usually skip restaurant desserts, but the peach cobbler served in a bowl sounds so authentic that I order one to share. Hot and sweet, with lots of peachy syrup and tender crust, this classic southern dessert provides an appropriate finish to our meal. The Dew Drop Inn serves beer and wine, and Coca-Cola comes in short 8-ounce glass bottles reminiscent of an earlier era. Entrée and sandwich prices are reasonable, but extra side dishes can increase the tab significantly.

The tasty southern cooking and informal atmosphere at the Dew Drop Inn add up to a satisfying and memorable dining experience. It’s no wonder the place has been around for decades.

from 2004