Lillie Mae’s Café – The Balancing Act And Fudging

Saturday, December 14, 2013 - by Willie Mae

My friend Alice called me last week and said, “Willie, you are not going to believe it, but I have the perfect place for you to try!” She was excited because she heard about a place with my name and thought it would be humorous to write a story about it.

We both looked up restaurants on the Internet, but neither of us could find it. Alice swore that someone at church said that they had eaten at Willie Mae’s Café. Finally, she found a place that was on Dayton Boulevard, but it was called “Lillie Mae’s Café”.  Well, that had to be the place she was told about.

I told Alice that she needed to go with me and she asked, “Don’t you want to go with Lois?” I told her Lois and Phil were out of town at their daughter’s and Lois probably wouldn’t like the food anyway. She laughed because she knows how picky Lois is.

When Alice and I went inside we saw a long wrap-around pew in the foyer for people to sit and wait, but we didn’t have to wait. We saw a sign that read, “Seat yourself” so we went in the back and a cute waitress named Krissy gave us menus. I like to have a good waitress, but this gal was exceptional. She was so friendly and helpful and let us take our time to look over the menu.

I liked this place. It had a down home feel to it and it was definitely home cooking. I saw chocolate cream pie on the menu and knew that whatever I ordered, I better save room for pie.

I also saw the chicken and dressing meal for $6.50, but before the waitress came back, Alice said that she would have that. I didn’t want to get the same thing, so I changed mine to the chuck wagon for $6.25. Alice order pinto beans and baked apples for her two sides with a roll and I ordered pintos and mashed potatoes with gravy and cornbread.

Krissy let me know that the cornbread was fried like a pancake. I wasn’t sure I would like that, but thought I would try it anyway.

After a bit, Krissy brought our food but she wasn’t carrying it on a tray. She had the plates balancing all the way up her arms! Alice and I were amazed. We asked her if she ever drops them and she admitted that she only dropped a dish once and it was when she barely had a load. Ol’ Krissy was a pro.

The food was good and warm on a cold winter day. I think I end up picking a home cooking place whenever it’s cold outside - who wants salad on a cold day?

Alice was not fond of the baked apples but said the beans were tasty. Her chicken and dressing was prepared different than either of us expected. It looked like the chicken was shredded and mixed into the dressing and they poured cream of chicken soup on top. I was glad I didn’t order that. Alice ate it, but I could tell she was not going to rave about it.

Now, my chuck wagon was good. It was breaded just right and not overcooked. The gravy was good too. I liked the potatoes too, they were thick. Some people like potatoes creamier, but with gravy I like them thick.

Now, I did not like the cornbread at all. I didn’t like my cornbread flat, but it also was too brown and tasted a little charred.

When our gal came back to check on us, we fudged a little and told her everything was wonderful. She said that we should come back on Tuesday or Thursday when they have fried chicken. She said it was the best she had ever had.

When we told her that we wanted to try a little dessert, she named off the desserts that she thought were really good. But Alice and I already had our heart set on what we would get. Alice wanted the coconut cream pie and I wanted the chocolate cream pie. As Krissy talked about the desserts, she said there were only two pies that were not freshly made in the kitchen. The coconut cream pie and the chocolate cream pie. Doesn’t that beat all?

We decided we wanted something that they made there, so I chose the fudge brownie and ice cream and Alice ordered the blackberry cobbler each at $3.

After Krissy left us with our desserts, Alice and I both took one bite and that was enough. Alice didn’t like the blackberry sauce and the crust was too cake-like and not pastry.

And, my fudge brownie was a plain chocolate ‘cake’ smothered in thin chocolate syrup. There was nothing brownie or fudgy at all about it. So when Krissy came back to ask us how we liked it, we fudged again and said it was delicious but we were too full to finish. I felt a little guilty when she looked at the desserts that had hardly been touched.

She asked if we would like a box to carry them home. The ice cream was already melted. Alice and I looked at each other and I tried not to get tickled because I knew we were both thinking the same thing. “Oh, no thank you…we have somewhere to go afterward,” I said. I think I fudged more than the syrup that was on my cake… er brownie.

Now, I am not saying the food was terrible or that people would not like it. I guess this was a case of "to each his own." It was a charming place with hot food that was made with love, but I told Alice that I sure can’t give it a Willie Mae “whee-ee-doggie”. She whispered to me as we were leaving and said, “Well I wouldn’t give it a “whee-ee-puppy” either.

Hours:

Monday - Friday

6:30 AM - 8:00 PM

Saturdays

6:30 AM-1:00 PM


It's Punkin' Chunkin' Time At The Brainerd Farmers' Market

Chunk a punkin’ this Saturday at the Brainerd Farmers’ Market for a chance to win a pumpkin just in time for Halloween The Brainerd Farmers’ Market announces its first annual “Punkin’ Chunkin’ Contest.” The O’Neill Family Farm will supply the pumpkin, ready for Jack-O-Lantern carving and pie making. The game is simple: chunk a pumpkin as far as you can to win a free pumpkin. ... (click for more)

Harvest Fest At Main Street Farmers Market Is Oct. 29

Harvest Fest, a local festival sponsored by the Harvested Here Food Hub, will be on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Event hours are 4-7 p.m. and will coincide with the Main Street Farmers Market on 325 East Main Street. In addition to regular farmers market activities, Harvest Fest will include free local food prepared by premiere local chefs representing 1885, Easy Bistro, Flying Squirrel, ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)