Catie’s Kitchen – The Dirty Truth

Sunday, March 30, 2014 - by Willie Mae

My old friend Lou and I planned a day out to visit a few antique shops in Cleveland and while we were there we stopped for lunch at Catie’s Kitchen. It was a good time to get a story in and this place looked a little interesting.

When we walked in, I couldn’t help but notice the brown spots on the ceiling that looked like they had a leaky roof. Lou said we didn’t have to eat there after we both admitted this place was not the cleanest place, but I thought it would give me a good story and maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

Lou had a lot of Diet Coke while we were out shopping so he went to find the men’s room. On the door to the ladies room it said “sows” and on the men’s door it said “bores” (which fit Lou… he likes to talk a lot).

I sat down at a booth and a girl came walking slowly around the corner toward our table. She wasn’t in any hurry at all. I could tell this place was really country, but the other customers seemed to be fine with the slow pace. I gave the girl an order for sweet teas and she walked slowly to the kitchen.

When Lou came back and sat down, we looked around a little more. They had some nice horse heads on the wall. They were big, but they weren’t real like when people put deer heads on the wall. I also saw a lot of cow bells hanging on strings from the ceiling all over the place. They had numbers on them and mister-know-it-all-Lou said that was how they numbered their tables. There were also lamps hanging from the ceiling made from buckets. I am all for ingenuity, but with the lack of upkeep of this place it made me wonder if it was even safe to eat the food.

Our waitress slowly came back and brought our drinks and we gave her our order. Lou decided on the country fried steak with cornbread, mashed ‘taters’ (as listed on the menu) and green beans all for just $3.99 and I got the hamburger steak with the taters and creamed corn for $4.39. Lou also wanted to try a side order of ‘chicken fries’ for $1.99.

It didn’t take the food long to come out from the kitchen, but our waitress was walking even slower. I think that was so she wouldn’t drop the plate under her arm. That’s right, I said ‘under her arm’. She held our dinners in each of her hands but had tucked the small plate of ‘chicken fries’ between her ribs and left arm. I guess they ran out of trays. It was enough for me not to try Lou’s side dish. I didn’t see the food itself touching her, but I kind of feel bad that I never told Lou about that.

Our waitress had a spoon on our plates but we had no fork or napkins. Lou asked her for a fork and she brought us a napkin roll with a fork. We didn’t have a knife either, but at this point we just wanted to try the food for the sake of the story and then get out of there.

The chicken fries were the one thing Lou said he liked. As far as the rest of the food, it was very bland. I think they ran out of salt that day, because everything was bland and had no seasoning at all. Lou said the green beans tasted very green. The mashed taters tasted like instant flakes and the creamed corn tasted like it was straight out of a can.

There was a customer talking loudly on his cell phone about used cars and he seemed just fine with the food. When he got off the phone, he talked about getting a fried pie. I always have hope anytime I visit a place that isn’t very good. I root for them and hope I can write at least one good thing about them so I suggested to Lou that we get one of the fried pies. When we asked our waitress what kind they had, she didn’t seem to know, but said we could go up to the counter and look at them.

I followed her up to the counter and I swonny …she walked slower than me and I am over 80 years old! I saw chocolate, strawberry and apple. Lou told me to pick for him, so I ordered him apple and I got strawberry. The girl heated them up for us and brought them to us. They were large and looked like they might be pretty good, but my first bite was my last bite. It tasted like they took a piece of edible cardboard and slathered Crisco on it. I was done. Lou said he didn’t like his either. He tried a bite of my pie and said it was a little better, but we both agreed they would not win any blue ribbons.

When we went to the counter to pay, there was a sign hanging over the register that said, “No nagging” so I minded my own business and didn’t say a word. When we left, I told Lou I thought the whole experience was awful and nothing tasted very good. Lou tried to be nice and said, “It was no worse than prison food.”

Now, I know Lou had never eaten prison food, but I still had to disagree – because… even though the price was very inexpensive, we still had to pay. If I went back – they’d have to pay ME.

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