Blue Ribbon Café – Chunky Chow-Down

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - by Willie Mae

My son Jack and I were heading towards Tidwell’s to get fresh strawberries and we stopped for lunch at Blue Ribbon Café. If you sneezed, you would have missed it. I thought it was an auto mechanics garage when Jack first turned into the road next to this place.

It is located at 9705 Dayton Pike, Soddy-Daisy. There was only room for five cars out front so Jack had pulled on a side road to go around to the back. That road said “no parking” and there wasn’t parking in the back. Luckily there was one space open when he went back toward the front.

It surprised me to see more than five tables filled up when we went inside. I guess the workers and some patrons park across the street or down Dayton Pike.

It was a cute place with collector items hanging up all over. We were given menus to look over and I noticed that they had hand-written comments about their desserts all over the menu. I knew Jack and I better save room for some!

My boy wanted an appetizer of fried green tomatoes and I have to admit that did sound pretty good. I didn’t see a take home menu and our receipt didn’t itemize the prices, so I apologize that I can’t quote prices, but it didn’t strike me as too pricy while ordering.

Jack got the tilapia with fried okra and potato salad. I looked for something spicy, so I ordered the Blazing Jambalaya which was one dish with pasta, chicken, shrimp, sausage, tomato and Cajun spice.

When the fried green tomatoes arrived, they were just too pretty to eat! I had never seen FGT perfectly breaded, perfectly golden that taste good too, but they were honest-to-goodness perfect FGT! It came with two sauces – buttermilk ranch and a chipotle sauce. Jack liked the ranch. I liked the chipotle.

Our meals were piping hot and smelled delicious. Jack didn’t think his okra was tender enough, but he enjoyed the rest of his meal. At first, I wasn’t impressed with the jambalaya, but I like to give things a chance. I had never eaten jambalaya before so it was just a matter of ‘getting to know it’. I wouldn’t have called it blazing, but it did have a little spice to it.

After I got over my disappointment of it not making me grab my water, I began to really like the flavor. The sauce was not too rich, but thick enough to matter. The chicken was delectable chunks that were juicy and tender and tasted really fresh. The shrimp was big and also very tasty. I didn’t prefer the nickel-sized sausage pieces which seemed a bit dry. It tasted like it was some sort of Italian sausage you get on pizzas – nothing really special. I think the dish would have been great with polish sausage instead of what they had – but that’s just my opinion. It was a large dish and could easily be shared by two – I couldn’t eat it all.

People seemed to enjoy this place – they were pretty busy. Jack noticed there were quite a few people who looked like they hadn’t ever skipped a meal. He said it looked as though this was “a place where people meet to eat!” and the owners knew it too – they had a sign over the counter that said, “We don’t skinny dip, we chunky dunk”. Even their drinking glasses were fat! I couldn’t grasp them one handed.

While Elvis played in the background, I decided I liked this place. It was homey and special. Jack and I ordered a dessert each with the idea of giving half ours to each other. That was the intention, but it never works out that way. Once we locked our lips around our spoons of yummy sweetness, we didn’t want to let go!

I had ordered the Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake and Jack got the Strawberry Cake. Sometimes desserts can be so rich, you can’t enjoy them long, but my Chocolate cake was just right! They added enough coco that I knew I was having chocolate cake! But it wasn’t so sugary that it was too rich, I liked that. It was topped with a nice syrup and softened walnuts.

Finally, Jack and I did give each other a taste of our luscious desserts. When I tasted a bite of his strawberry cake I could tell the strawberries were oh-so-fresh! The seeds burst in my mouth with a slight crunch. The pink icing was a bit sweet for me, but it was a very good cake. I loved my chocolate though. I thought I was going to devour the whole thing and …I gave it a good try, but it was impossible.

Blue Ribbon gives you good portions and you will not leave hungry for sure. But be careful …if you made a habit out of it you just might be a chunky dunker too.

Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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