Restaurants With Good Food But Other Amenities Lacking

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by cover2, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. cover2

    cover2 I've grown old
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    Just read @crosscreekcooter thread about the chicken joint in Jax and @AuggieDosta comment about the condition of the restaurant and it made me think of several places that I've "dined" that had great food and drink, but the condition of the place, the service or something else was lacking. The food, however, was able to overcome the 'what else' that wasn't up to par. We've all gone to these places (and didn't end up with ptomaine poisoning) and may have been a regular. Here's a couple from my lifetime...

    Buffalo Wings and Things (the original) in Tallahassee - Think CJ's, only greasier. You could literally skate to your seating the floor was so slick and if you had on a long sleeve shirt, it would stick to the table top. The waitresses were all young and sorta trashy looking, but they could've been fashion models around 11:00 after they had sweated down in their white tank tops and jorts. The aroma of hot sauce and hot grease wafted through the entire restaurant. Your only respite was on the deck where the temperature usually pegged around 110 during the summer until the sun started setting. But the wings were fantastic and the beer was ice cold. On Thursdays they had .10 wings and 1$ pitchers. If you didn't mind fighting the crowd, you could do some serious damage. One of the best things they had were the curly fries. Made fresh, not frozen. First time I'd ever seen fries like this. Any wing order came with a basket. This was the only dump like this my wife would go to. We went with a group one night during the winter time and one of the ladies with us wore a white sweater. She looked like she had swabbed down with Merthiolate when we left. Sadly, the owner of the place got into some trouble with the law and they sold it and it's now some sort of Caribbean grill. I miss it, but my heart and arteries are probably glad.

    Luten's Drive-In in Quincy was a long time fixture when I was growing up and until it closed back in the '90's. The food was fantastic! Best hamburger around and a barbecue sandwich that wouldn't wait. Always had a Blue Plate Special if you ate inside. You could even get a ham and egg sandwich with mayo that was really good. Their barbecue was the best, however. Had two pits on either corner of the building with a rotisserie in each. An old black guy with a wooden leg named "Booster" worked the pits and they only used fresh ham to be smoked and then sliced very thin. A sandwich on toasted bread with their homemade barbecue sauce was unbeatable. Where they fell short was in the service. Ms. Hasty Luten was about as crusty as they came and when she waited on your table, she'd throw the menu at you and then bark "What you want?" None of the other waitresses that they hired had a full set of teeth and one, named Polly, was short, fat, and mean. One of the big shots in town was in one morning for breakfast and was leaned up against the table top when Polly yelled at him "Get your @ss off the table top! You don't put your @ss on the table at home, do you?!" He quickly took a seat. Shirley, the car hop, was the best however. She was right homely, but could take orders from three cars without writing a thing down and get the orders right every time. In between orders, she sat on a bench reading a novel of some sort. Always heard she was the Valedictorian of her graduating class. Only problem she had was she'd get in the back seat with a drunk from time to time and if we were beside them, my grandma would make me eat with her hand over my eyes.

    If you've a mind, let's hear about some memorable joints you might have happened by or even frequented.
     
  2. gingerlover

    gingerlover Junior Member
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    As a little younger generation (38) I missed out on a lot of these great places to eat. However I found that any town has a dump with delicious food if you know where to look, especially college towns. I grew up about 30 minutes south of Atlanta and while not a dump there is a restaurant called Buckners about 20 more miles south. Not much to look at, but you go in and sit down at any table. Your family might be sharing yours with complete strangers as you fit where you could and every southern food was served on a lazy susan. Some of the best fried chicken around.

    Now my college days in the middle of nowhere Milledgeville, GA produced some great little hole in the walls (Crockets, Pork Chop Cafe, Pickle Barrell, etc). We had Elaine's that was a buffet of southern food for $5 and was the go to place after a night of drinking. Could barely fit 20 people in it, but was worth it. The best though was this little shack near the insane asylum. That was the not so good part of town and my shade of color wasn't usually welcome there, but there was a BBQ joint that was amazing. The staff was charmingly rude (think the Japanese restaurants in the mall where they scream at you and berate you while you order), the store dirty as hell, but the way the ribs fell off the bone was something of legend to us college kids. Worth every bullet I dodged.
     
    • cover2

      cover2 I've grown old
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      @gingerlover I'm familiar with Buckners! Only been to Milledgeville once back in the early '90's for a football playoff game, but the feel I got as we drove through town was that there was probably a good barbecue joint somewhere nearby ;)
       
      • AuggieDosta

        AuggieDosta I Don't Re Member

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        THE Best seafood in St. Augustine is at O'Steens just over the East side of the Lions Bridge. The place ain't much to brag about but you can't get fresher, or better, food unless you catch it yourself.

        And Lonnie, the owner, is as good as they come.
         
        • Loogis

          Loogis Junior Member
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          Anybody remember Julia Mae’s just outside of Carabelle? It’s not there anymore, but by far the best seafood ever IMHO. We would drive all the way from SGI to eat there. Good food and good times.
           
          #5 Loogis, Jul 4, 2019
          Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
          • GatorFL

            GatorFL Well-Known Member
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            Every Waffle House ever. Floor so greasy you feel like you might slip and fall but nothing beats a double order of scattered and smothered hash browns, bacon and raisin toast when you're hung over.
             
            • cover2

              cover2 I've grown old
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              Julia Mae's was a great seafood spot. First time I ever ate there was after a basketball game in Carabelle. Ate off of paper plates and it was cold that night and the heat didn't work, but the seafood was worth it. Strange coincidence, but the last owner of the place sold it and bought the house next door to me. I think the site of the restaurant is now an RV park or a motel or something like that. Sorry Julia Mae's is no more.
               
            • crosscreekcooter

              crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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              O'Steens has great seafood but then St Augustine is blessed with an abundance of great food. I always enjoyed Saltwater Cowboys but it ain't exactly a dive in keeping with Cover's thread.
              I remember back a couple hundred years ago when I was a teenager there was a bbq joint somewhere (place has changed so much) on SR 13 in Mandarin called Lula's Barbecue. Back then 13 was kind of a lonely oldtime Florida 2 lane highway that wound by the river through live oaks and palmetto bushes and Lula's Barbecue was an old concrete block building about the size of somebody's garage, handpainted sign and oyster shell driveway immediately off the road. You didn't go inside so I can't speak to their "kitchen" conditions but I'm betting it would be shut down today. You would pull in and blow the horn and an old black man would come out and take your order. I assumed he was Lula's husband. I don't remember them selling anything but pork ribs and your order consisted of a half rack sauced up and wrapped in a piece of paper with a couple slices of white bread for about 4 bucks. I would give a half a hundred to revisit Lula's.
               
              • AuggieDosta

                AuggieDosta I Don't Re Member

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                Don't know about Lula's but it sounds like it was good.

                As for Saltwater Cowboy's...I ate there just a month ago. Before THAT though was in High School on a date. And the scenery is still amazing, especially at sunset as it settles over the intra-coastal filtering through the live oaks. The food is below O'Steens IMO.
                 
                • cover2

                  cover2 I've grown old
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                  You remind me of the first place I took my wife on a date. Jack Wingate's Lunker Lodge was on the southern end of Lake Seminole in Decatur county (southwest GA). Jack had a boat landing, some slips you could rent, cabins and a camp ground, and a restaurant in his little compound. He was one of the forerunners in the bass fishing circuit and hosted many tournaments over the years. He was buddies with Tom Mann, one of the southern bass fishing pioneers who helped him with publicity.

                  If you got a seat by the window in the restaurant, you could watch the sunset over the lake. Barbecue and catfish were his specialties. He also had a Sunday dinner that was pretty good (so long as you got there before the Baptists laid waste to it). As mentioned, I took my wife-to-be up there on our first date. I had the catfish, she had the open face barbecue sandwich. I knew I had a good 'un when she gave me a goodnight kiss even after I'd eaten a big slice of Vidalia onion with my fish. The whole meal cost me 14.95 + tip. She can't say she didn't know what a broke @ss I was after agreeing to matrimonial terms.

                  Obviously, Wingate's has a special place in my heart, so it was a sad day when Jack sold prior to his passing and the new owners promptly ran it in the ditch. I miss the food, and they had the best home fries around, but I also missed the decor which included a bunch of old mounted fish (large mouth, stripers, and bream), turkey feet and beards, arrowheads (from the nearby Flint River), old rod and reels and many pictures. I miss Jack, too. He'd always visit with you and lie about all the fish they were catching. If some kids were around, he'd talk 'em up about rasslin' alligators and fightin' injuns and such. The place was recently sold and due to open in a few months. Probably won't be quite as good or diverse as the old place, but you'll still be able to see the sunset and if they still serve catfish and barbecue, I might just be able to talk mama into another date or two.
                   
                  • Detroitgator

                    Detroitgator General Factotum
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                    Does anyone remember the name of the place near Crescent Beach where the physical bar was like a ship and it actually rocked side to side if they turned it on? I can't remember the name, I just remember being there in like 93 or 94 and the lady leaning in towards us and saying, "Hey, you guys wanna go for a ride?" in are really creepy ass way, then she flipped a switch and the bar started rocking.
                     
                  • Zambo

                    Zambo Poo Flinger
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                    Mama Lo’s
                     
                    • stephenPE

                      stephenPE Senior Member
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                      I swear the Coastal in Panacea was better. It was just an old country southern restaurant with EXCELLENT seafood. Shrimp mullet oysters and crab. The decor was that old plastic covered 50s kitchen chair on metal frames.
                       
                      • AuggieDosta

                        AuggieDosta I Don't Re Member

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                        I think that was a bit South of Crescent at Marine Land.

                        Don't remember the name.
                         
                        • MJMGator

                          MJMGator Slightly amused
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                          I went to school with all those kids that lived in those shacks along 13. Hartleys and Douglass’s. That rib shack got busted for selling the weed they grew out in the woods.
                           
                        • cover2

                          cover2 I've grown old
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                          Coach, I don't recall the Coastal in Panacea, but I do remember eating at the Oaks back in the '60's when I was a boy. The relatives from LA (Lower Alabama for the cultured among us) would come for a stay and we make a day trip to the coast. Sounds like the decor was similar and the seafood outstanding. When they brought your menus, you'd get a little dish shaped like an oyster boat. The front section had garlic butter and the rear section had crackers. I thought we were someplace special the first time I got this before the meal.

                          I don't even know if the Oaks is still open. Last ate there about 15 years ago. Have eaten at Angelo's a few times and initially enjoyed it until the owners wife began greeting customers. I'm not so sure she didn't work at a prison at some point, but her manner undid a fairly upscale restaurant that had pretty good food, a good view, and a nice atmosphere. We don't get down that way much anymore, but the last couple of times we've eaten at Posey's. It's about as good as there is around Panacea.
                           
                          • stephenPE

                            stephenPE Senior Member
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                          • crosscreekcooter

                            crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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                            Hartley's were a big time florist back in the day. This school you went to didn't happen to be located in Marianna did it? Did you know any of the Shyders ( maybe duPont or Landon-pre-Wolfson) or Searcey brothers (Englewood)? Both families were infamous on the southside. Your Lula's Barbecue story gives me an idea for another thread.
                             
                          • crosscreekcooter

                            crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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                            Good job Coach, Coastal Seafood meets all the certs and qualifiers for this thread. if you browse thru the customer provided pictures on the restaurant link, you will see where one customer commented that he had to spread napkins on the table because it was so sticky (picture provide). Is that you with that plate of fried mullet and cheesegrits? There's also a picture of the front of the establishment showing it's magnificent signage and a dead possum in the road.
                             
                          • Gulfstream

                            Gulfstream zzzzzzzzzzz
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                            These types of "Hole-in-the-wall" places weather a BBQ joint, seafood house, or home style cooking are the places that I still seek out in my older years. I usually stay away from the fancy, or trendy places, save an anniversary dinner or something special for my wife. I can think of several i have eaten at over the years. Some on the most desolate of roads, and some at the busiest intersections you may encounter but might not look like something that you would want to stop at.

                            The first place I'll add here is Peebles BBQ in Auburndale. It has been in business since 1947 and in the same building just as long. It is open Thur., Fri., and Sat. From Labor Day to Memorial day and closes for the summer, for good reason. The building is nothing more than 3 rows of block, then screened in windows to the tin roof. It has no AC just a few fans hanging to keep the air flowing. The cooking pit is basically in the middle of the building so the heat is always a factor. During the winter months this is ok but since the winter in Florida in really only January it can get pretty warm.

                            The food is always on point and at lunch/dinner time you cant get a seat. Lots of take out orders due to heat and congestion but the food/service is well worth.

                            Home

                            The second place I'll add is probably my favorite. My best friend and I used to frequent it pretty often in our youth on our way to fish the blue waters of the Atlantic. It is the Desert Inn Motel and Restaurant. It is located at the Intersection of US 441 and SR 60 in Yeehaw Junction, Fl. and dates back to the 1880s. From the outside it is not much too look at but on the inside it has character. It is that place that has signed dollar bills tacked to the ceiling, snake skins, cown horns, deer heads, and alligator heads on every wall. There were, and still are chickens roaming around the buildings and oftentimes horses were tied up at the hithing post. Back in the day you could run into bikers, cowboys, laborers, or truckers at any given time, hopefully not at the same time.

                            The menu offered everything from frog legs, to cheesburgers to seafood and everything was always very good. The dining and drinking took place in one room so there was always excitement. I have not been here for several years now and am thinking of how much I miss those "last calls" on our way to catch the sunrise while hitting the blue water on our way to Walkers Cay. Back in the 1990's the location made the National Registary of Historic places.

                            Desert Inn and Restaurant - Wikipedia

                            There is just something about eating in a place like this that reminds me of my youth so much. Maybe this is why I stiil look for them.
                             
                            #20 Gulfstream, Jul 6, 2019
                            Last edited: Jul 6, 2019

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