Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Kentucky Food: The Dixie Cafe in Tollesboro
There is probably no reason you will ever find yourself in Tollesboro, KY, unless you were born there. Best I can tell the population is about 100. It's about 20 minutes east of Maysville right off the AA parkway, which connects Maysville to Ashland with not much in between except beautiful country. But I find myself driving through there on business several times a year, and when I do I always make sure and hit the Dixie Cafe. It's just a typical small-town diner with good country eatin', good prices, and lots of local color. Every time I go inside the place is pretty full, and the customers all stop eating and stare at me from the time I enter until I sit down. Now, I'm not the most attractive feller in the world, but I'm pretty sure they do that to everybody. But after you start eating they go back to their business. Expect to hear a lot of talking about deer and turkey, and how granny is doing since she got out of the hospital. One time an old feller came up to me and showed me his old driver's liscence, just because the picture was funny. Didn't even try and bum a dime from me or anything, just being friendly. The waitresses are always nice, and cute, which is pretty important to get my return business.
As far as the food goes, I suggest either trying the liver and onions or soup beans and cornbread. Their cornbread is a sign of Kentucky authenticity. It isn't one of those stupid muffins, it's the real thing - fried in a skillet and soaked in butter. Anyplace that tries to serve you a hard muffin and calls it "corn bread" is either owned by a corporation or a Buckeye. I've had some of their specials, which are usually a meat-and-three and come with Sweet Tea (of course) for $5.95 or so. A bargain. Both the fried and baked chicken are pretty good, but you need to get beans and cornbread as sides whatever you get.
I travel all over the state, and these little places are getting harder to find. They are either squeezed out by chains or try to cater to "red hat ladies" and are too fancy and expensive. The Dixie is just right. Of course, I noticed as I ate lunch there today that they have a "For Sale" sign in the window. If you want to enjoy some real Kentucky fixin's you better get there fast before it becomes a Subway.