NOTE: This restaurant has closed.
I headed out early for my kayaking trip on the Enoree River this morning, with the intent that I would get breakfast in route somewhere. I didn’t have to meet my fellow paddlers until 9:30, so that gave me plenty of time. I knew there were several Waffle Houses along the way, but I was more interested in finding a little Mom & Pop place somewhere in Whitmire.
I drove through the little town. It looks like they are trying to spruce up the place, with new paint on the buildings downtown and a fresh new look to the store fronts. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any place open for breakfast. My GPS was of no help, as it only showed the local Chinese and Mexican eateries. Heading north on Highway 176 I finally hit pay dirt – the Whitmire Truck Stop.
Let’s be clear. The only trucks that this place can accommodate are of the pickup variety, and of those there was an abundance. I entered and took a booth, and it was obvious that I was not appropriately attired. I had on nary a bit of woodland camouflage. Still, they let me in, and soon a young waitress was taking my order.
The walls were covered with signs from “The Mgmt”, including, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” and “No profanity allowed.” Those were side-by-side with a signs that read “Hunters, fisherman, and other liars gather here.”
Off to one side was a larger round table where the regulars gather. The occupants of this table came and went, but they all knew each other. One regaled the group with tales of weird food he had eaten in Vietnam and compared that to his own recipe for turtle soup. Others talked about local politics and areas of concern. At one point a man came in, walked past the counter to the kitchen, then joined the table with his own plate of food. I’m guessing he was the owner.
Behind me two women were carrying on a lively conversation about local gossip and just about anything else. They spotted the kayak on top of my car and said that they would hate to spend the day sitting out on a river in something like. They also cast aspersions on the hunters that came in, saying that they wouldn’t want to sit outside waiting for a deer to wander by, either. One of the women was not happy with the way her grits looked, and sent them back. This was truly a Southern institution.
I got my coffee in a mug covered with Easter Eggs. I saw other tables with coffee mugs making up an oddball mix from other commercial establishments, events, and patterns. No matching china here, they make do with whatever is at hand. Fine with me – it held enough coffee, and did the job with no problem.
My food soon arrived. I had ordered my standard – two eggs scrambled with grits, bacon, and toast. I understand why the woman had sent back her grits. Mine were a bit lumpy and a bit tepid, just barely warm enough to melt the copious amounts of butter I had lathered into them. Still, I was hungry enough (and enough of a stranger) to not send them back.
I was provided exactly one choice of jelly for my toast – mixed fruit. I guess they thought that a mixed variety would satisfy everyone. If you want grape, it’s in there. If you want apple, it’s in there, too. Very cost effective, I’m sure. Breakfasts at these types of places are always inexpensive, and so I understand cost cutting measures.
Everything tasted fine, and I finished up my meal quite satisfied. More woodland camouflage arrived, and I needed to meet the rest of my party. I approached the counter, which had on display one rather large white leather-bound Bible, and paid my bill. Despite the tepid grits, I’d trade a hundred Cracker Barrels for a place like this any day.