Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Foley, Alabama, is about an hour's drive from our house.  They have a Tanger's Factory Outlet there with a large mess of stores that interest me not at all, but Kitty always had a good time there, especially at the Vera Bradley outlet store.  Both girls and our granddaughters also like the place  -- lots of shoe stores and a place that sells rubber chickens for dogs, as well as a place where you can get fudge.  So we take a family trip out there serval times a year.  (Foley also has a pretty neat used book store [yea!], and OWA ( a large amusement park and entertainment complex [meh]), and a Lambert's restaurant (family dining where the waiters throw rolls at the customers from across the room  -- the food is okay and kids love the idea of catching dinner rolls on the fly).  But the main attraction for my family is the outlet mall.

So why am I telling you all this?  Because before we get to Foley we go through a small town called Elberta.  The main drag in Elberta is Route 98 and the downtown section takes up just a couple of blocks.  There, on the left, as you go through to Foley, is the Road Kill Cafe -- an unassuming hole in the wall that never seemed to be open.  This made us wonder if the place was permanently closed, but, over the years, there it was -- unchanged --every time we drove through.  We got curious and eventually Christina looked it up on the internet.  The Road Kill Cafe was a going concern but it was only open from 10 to 12:30; the internet didn't give her much more information than that.  With a name like that, and armed with the knowledge that it was actually in business, we just had to try it out.  So...

Road trip.

We got there at 10:30, frustratingly later than we had intended (slow-pokey drivers and an unexpected traffic jam for no reason we could discern slowed us down).  Christina, myself, Amy, Erin and Trey.  Walt stayed home to get Jack to whatever summer thing he had scheduled, Jessie had to work, and something came up and Mark needed to be somewhere later that morning.  The five of us entered the cafe, fully expecting to met Larry, Darryl, and Darryl.  Au contraire.

It turned out the Road Kill Cafe was a buffet-style restaurant (who knew?)and the place was packed.  A waitress cornered us as we came in and took our drink orders (sweet tea or soft drink).  We managed to find a table.  The food was good old Southern cooking, and plenty of it.  Porkchops smothered in gravy, fried chicken, cut green beans with bacon, mashed potatoes, some sort of Spanish rice, sweet corn, spinach, black-eyed peas, and a large salad bar, which included potato salad and cole slaw.  Everything was delicious.  People kept coming into the cafe and customers kept going back for seconds; I watched one man build a mountain of mashed potatoes on his plate, nothing else, just mashed potatoes; he seemed very happy.  For dessert, there were two kinds of cake and some soft serve ice cream; the ice cream was delicious, although it tended to melt fast -- you can't have everything.  The buffet menu changes daily, and the cafe remains open until 1 pm on Sundays, for the church crowd.

There were customers of all ages there, but the majority seemed to be the entire over-55 population of Elberta.  (The population of Elberta was 1,498 according to the 2010 census, by the way.)The Road Kill Cafe was the morning meeting place for the town.  Everybody seemed to know everybody else and everybody was super-friendly.  The restaurant staff made you feel at home.   There were pictures on the wall of the local youth teams the Cafe supports.

The cost?  About fifteen bucks a head.  Before you pay, each diner has to pick a token out of a cloth bag; if you get a special token, your meal is discounted.  People over ninety years of age eat free -- there were two nonagenarians chomping down at on table.

After we left, we hit the factory outlet for a bit.  On the return home, about 1:30, parking spaces in from of the cafe were empty and the place once again looked deserted.

I highly recommend this place.  Great food and a great community feel.  the only drawback was that the seats on the chairs were pretty well stained -- something I did not notice until it was pointed out to me.  On the place side, I was not hungry for the rest of the day, eating nothing else until my 6:00 a.m. bowl of corn flakes this morning.

Now for another point of view.

While we were there, Amy texted her mother.  The conversation was as follows:

AMY:  What in the holy southern hell have we done.  

I don't think this is an experience, AJ [AJ is the family name for Jessie; it stands for "Aunt Jessie"], you will be remiss in not having. is a buffet.  The seats are disturbingly stained.  The food partially congealed. amalgamus [sic] and unlabeled in a way that is confusing and deeply southern  The staff is very nice.  Pop [that's me] has created an abomination of a food-touching plate [Amy does not like to have her food touched] that consists of, to the naked eye, shredded loose cheddar cheese, several types of olives, gravy (??), and fried chicken,  Bink [Christina -- another family name] tried to imitate someone holding several plates in their hands (like waiters do) but did not accompany the gesture with words.  Erin was under the impression Bink was about to lead the table in prayer.  This resulted in much giggling.  I am looking forward to the blackberry frozen yogurt.

JESSIE:  [smiley face emoji] tp " is a buffet.  the seats are disturbingly s..."

I am so glad you went because your updates are keeping me entertained during this zoom call.  [Jessie's work involved numerous boring zoom calls about budgets]

AMY: [some sort of other emoji but I'm not sure what it represents because I am old] to "I am so glad you went because your update are keep..."

The corn muffin was yummy.  the gravy (//) is surprisingly good.  We completely lost Trey to the food, he has gone nonverbal and tapped into deep southern roots in the way Nana [Kitty] began to turn feral in McGuire's [an Irish restaurant in Pensacola] the first time.  the staff is SUPER nice.  There seem [sic] to be regulars and they know them by name.

JESSIE:  Oh, I would have loved to have been there for the giggles.

AMY:  Pop has cleared his plate with a speed and gusto rarely known to the common man.  Bink says she did not know if he like [sic] it but he certainly ate it.

To paint a word picture, the atmosphere is very "Methodist Church Basement After the Service Core".  This might be why Erin thought Bink was going to led the family in prayer.  I am having flashbacks.

We are pleasantly pleased by the actual food. Erin and I say that we would eat here again.  Pop is freeloading and is neck deep in a slice of unlabled cake [it was a spice cake; a little bit dry but very tasty].  We have yet to discover where the possum on the menu is.  [evidently an in-joke amongst the staff.]

Bink is wearing a skirt and the seats are, as mentioned earlier, distressingly stained in the kind of all over portion of the chair.  she is perched with about one sixteenth of a butt cheek on her chair.

Strange parting ritual:  we all picked a poker chip out of a crown royal bag.  Not sure what for but none of us won anyway.

CHRISTINA [later]:  A lady is holding the tiniest, fluffiest black kitten in T.J. Maxx.


And that was our Road Kill adventure.  I'd go back.

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