While getting my car serviced on Highway 153 in Hixson, I knew there was going to be a wait, so I thought I’d grab some lunch from somewhere close that I could walk to.
I saw Susie’s Home Cooking and thought I could get a pretty decent, home-cooked meal. I just don’t cook much anymore since I'm on my own.
I believe this place was where Shoney’s used to be and, when I walked in, it had the same look. There were a few hats to the left of the counter that said “I love Jesus” and other souvenir type things.
I was told to sit wherever I’d like so I chose a booth by the window. When the server came to take my drink order she said, “Help yourself to the bar.” Oh no! I do not like buffet-style restaurants! I didn’t see the banner out front until I left for my car - I had only paid attention to the top sign about home cooking.
I try to steer clear of all-you-can-eat places when I go somewhere for a story because I want to be fair and, most buffets I usually don’t care for. But I was there with no car so I determined to be as fair as possible in spite of my personal preference.
I already expected that with choosing a “home-cooking” place, I was already in for trying their Southern fried stuff. I keep saying I don’t like to eat fried foods often, but I seem to let curiosity win over when someone claims to have good Southern cooking and I want to compare it with all the wonderful Southern cooks I know.
I went to the one bar they had and I saw the same generic type salad makings you would normally see on these buffets. I passed on that.
The barbecue chicken looked alright - how can you mess that up? I saw a batch of fried green tomatoes and knew that would be the ‘fried thing I would try’ …for y’all.
I looked at the heated pans of food side by side all the way down the bar and I just wasn’t hankering for any of it. I did think their macaroni and cheese looked pretty good. It wasn’t hard or clumped up; it looked pretty creamy and the yams weren’t all doctored up with sugar so I got a few of those. The pintos looked okay, so I put some in a small side dish. I even plopped a fried chicken liver on my plate just to see if it was anything like my mother used to make.
That was all that I wanted to try so I took my plate full of starch to my table. I asked for hot sauce for the pintos and the girl brought me a big bottle of sauce that was clear bright orange. It may as well have been orange Kool-Aid; it wasn’t hot at all.
I still wanted to find something good about this place and hoped that between the fried green tomatoes and the pinto beans, I could tell you they tasted like Mayberry …but I can’t. The beans had the flavor of a tin can and the tomatoes were mushy.
The chicken liver was hard and the yams were not tender. When I tried the chicken, the meat was moist and tender but tasted like it had sat in the pan for quite a while and as if they had just dumped more of the messy, sweet sauce on it as the hours went by.
At least I could eat the macaroni. Nope! One bite of that and I was done with the whole thing. The ‘creamy look’ it had was probably just milk they stirred in the pan to keep it looking fresh. The macaroni was bland and had no cheesy flavor at all.
Now, I don’t like to say a place is terrible. I’d like to find at least one good thing about every place because I know we all have our own partialities and I try to be open-minded about all food. But folks, I just cannot recommend anything about this place except the price.
For $6.99 you can go fill your gullet with all the mushy, fried, sloppy food you want. But if you want to taste home cooking … you better just stay at home! I think some business owners who are not from here think us Southern folk just want cheap and all-we-can-eat-until-the-ambulance-comes.
After trying just a taste of each thing and leaving the meal, I decided to go back to Pep-Boys and get a Snickers from the vending machine.
Buffet-style food on the bar.