Road Trip Dining in Sweetwater, TX
Big Sign Little House
Busy at 11
Seeing lots of cars so early, was a good sign.
Picking the Door
We had a pick of doors. I liked the old screen door, but that was for carryouts. We headed for the glass door, with prices clearly announced. $11.50 for Adults. That included drink and tax.
Six Family Tables
We opened the door and stepped into the dining room. The place had just opened up, but three of the six tables already had diners. A busy server greeted and pointed us towards a table with two men. I wondered to myself. Where are we supposed to sit? The table was covered in dishes.
But the young woman quickly moved a couple serving dishes. Suddenly two clean plates were revealed beneath the bowls of veggies. Luckily the two men looked up from their plates and the ice was broken. They put us right at ease.
Studying the Empty Tables
Our Table Buddies
Our 2 guys laughed and nodded when I asked to take a photo. Then they continued to eat, letting my photo look totally candid.
It was fun hearing the stories of one, who had grown up not far from Sweetwater. He had been in the FFA Club in high school and came to town for judging. That's when he remembered eating at Allen's. He laughed about the time his friend almost got them kicked out, because the friend picked up the serving bowl of peach cobbler and started eating the whole thing. I asked if Allen's had changed much. "Not at all." He answered with a laugh.
I was so curious to figure out how everything worked. Most of us just aren't used to the world of family dining... with strangers. I watched as new guests arrived to an empty table. A cart appeared from the open kitchen and fresh food was unloaded.
I counted 15 different dishes on our table! There were things I wouldn't ordinarily go for, but I ended up trying a little of everything.
The fried chicken was pretty amazing... crispy crust, moist and flavorful meat! The hardest part was trying to pass dishes around our crowded table. It forced us to talk to one another, if we wanted to get to something that wasn't within reach.
The Big Table
The biggest table suddenly vacated, just as a young guy came in looking a bit lost. He was sent to our table and I was pretty excited that suddenly we were the in the know diners, who got to show him the ropes. He had been working in the area and someone recommended the place. What a brave young guy, to choose family dining over fast food!
Since the diners had left the big table, I took a moment to study the nearby photos on the wall. I read some news articles about Mrs. Allen and how she opened her home in 1952. She cooked in the kitchen and served in the front room, using the very table for 12, that had just been vacated.
As I studied a wall photo, a server named Tabitha paused to chat. I asked if the photo was of Mrs. Allen.
Tabitha insisted on calling Billy from the kitchen, to come meet me. He was pretty delightful, teasing Tabitha a bit and posing for a photo. Tabitha said she'd worked at Allen's for 19 years. "I'm not family, but they make me feel like family." When Billy was out of hearing distance, she teased about him, then got serious. "Really, he's the nicest boss ever. I don't know what I'd do, if I had to work somewhere else."
One More Pic
for lunch at a community table. I'm glad Don is game for these wonderful road trip stops. We couldn't have been happier with our dining adventure!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.