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.


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