Lunch Stop on the Road
As we approached the lot, I tried to determine if the place was still a drive-in. There was a lot of covered parking, at least.
Love Those Windows!
As we walked under the covering, I saw no signs of curb service, but I could see the original vintage walk-up window. And I could see a red SUV, pulled up to a drive-thru window. We walked past yet another sign, as we headed inside. "Welcome Ya'll"
We joined a line right away and began studying the wall. I was excited to see the words above the menu. "Serving Marlin With Pride Est. 1946" I love a small town diner, that's older than me!
The line moved quickly, so we were suddenly standing at the doorway to the kitchen. The lower half of the door was closed, while a young woman took our order.
I took a good moment to peek in at the cozy kitchen, with ice cream freezer and the windows that tilted outward. There were a lot of people in that small kitchen, but they all seemed to maneuver around each other, in good spirits.
We took our little wooden order-piece with #4 and headed through the first room, past a table of orange vests.
In the Back Room
As we waited for our food, I took a good look at all the western and country decor in the room. I liked the little horse hook, holding the worn hat. I noticed that no one in the room had their food and I worried for a moment that we might be in for a big wait.
Suddenly, it seemed like every employee that I'd seen in the kitchen, had entered the room at once, carrying trays of steaming food! It was humorous and a little amazing. I felt like I should offer a toast... or a prayer!
Of course I didn't. Instead I opened up my Patty Melt, with grilled onions and pickles and dug in. It tasted so much better than it looked! Maybe that's why all the locals seemed to be eating theirs, while in the wrapper. I used a lot of napkins.
Don had the daily special. Chicken fried chicken with green beans, mashed potatoes and roll. The chicken was surprisingly moist and the gravy was extra delicious.
Off We Go
We finished up and headed out to hit the road. Before I climbed in the car I stopped. "Wait! Where's the lake view?" I had to wander back a bit to get a peek at some water. Maybe in 1946, there were no trees.
The view was not the highlight of our meal and the drive-in, was more of a drive-thru. But the food and service was pretty good!
Roadside Dining in Price, Utah
How can anyone resist a sign like this, when it's lunchtime?
On the Main Drag
We pulled into the lot and had to make a decision. Sit in our car and be served, like the 1960's? Or sit at one of the tables?
That was an easy decision. It was about 95 degrees, there were umbrellas and we had a breeze. Plus we'd been driving from Colorado and we were ready to be out of the car. Trinity came to our table and told us a little about the place.
I peeked in one of the many windows and there was quite a staff, bustling around the kitchen.
On the Wall
This is what roadside dining is all about. I never would have a corndog and tots anywhere else. All food rules go out the window, when I know I'm on the road and it's my only chance to ever eat at Sherald's! Don's burger was quite tasty. My corndog... was a corndog!
Ice Cream Plus a Monkey!
I'm not sure I have ever in my life had an ice cream cone with a plastic monkey on top! The monkey pretty much made my day. And so did Trinity. She was very sweet.
Celebrating with the Kiddos
The hostess met us at the door, wearing a mumu and a flower in her hair. She hardly looked like a bouncer, but she asked all 4 of us for IDs. Then she led us to a table and handed us menus.
Thunder Storms and Volcanic Eruptions
Our Cozy Booth
We felt pretty lucky to have gotten the last booth. The cute little storefront tiki bar wasn't very large. After our eyes adjusted enough to read the menu, we placed our exotic orders.
Lots of Fruit and Rum
The Happy Hour special for $6.00 was hard to beat. I just had to get the Blue Hawaii, with a floral accent. Don got the Lapu Lapu, in memory of our favorite tiki bar from 35 years ago... The Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach, CA.
Cheers to the Newlyweds
Jamie and Heidi were ready to celebrate, since they had just completed their TX to OR drive and had spent the day unpacking. What a perfect place to start enjoying their new hometown, Portland!
Nibbles and Drinks
Luckily we found something besides drinks on the menu, which meant some of us were able to sample a second tiki cocktail. The drinks were marked for strength, which was helpful, for this lightweight.
The staff was more than willing to do a little pose behind the bar for me. Or maybe they were scared to say no, to the lady who was old enough to be everyone's mom. Anyway, the staff was friendly and we left happy. Can't wait to return!
Road Trip Dining in Sweetwater, TX
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.
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."
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!
Tiki, Nola Style!
I'm having a throwback spotlight on a tiki-evening we enjoyed in the French Quarter.
Up We Go!
A year ago in May, we were in New Orleans for our son's graduation from Tulane Law. This was one of the places he wanted us to experience.
You just have to do what your son wants, so we entered the white door and headed up the stairs. Two wicker chairs welcomed us, with some coconut art!
Tiki bars are almost always dark. It takes some nerve to flash your camera, when the locals are gathered at the bamboo-canopy-bar.
Art on a Brick Wall
But the island masks and ship decor were all worthy of my camera's sudden spotlight.
Luckily it was early and there was ample seating available. We found the best corner.
Moai and Flames!
Sitting beneath the Moai tiki god, we felt the need to order something equally bold. The flaming bowl of booze lit up the corner!
Heidi and Jamie
Our daughter and her fiancee were happy to demonstrate, how to share a rum-filled cocktail.
Plus Boozy Bears
To balance out the dangerous adult drink, we added a playful order of gummy bears on ice. Of course the bears were filled with alcohol, so it wasn't exactly balancing anything.
It's kind of scary how many photos we have with our kids enjoying cocktail adventures. Oh well.
With the Parents
This guy graduated from law school the next day, so I guess all our parenting wasn't bad. Cheers to Scott and cheers to tiki bars!
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.