Try John’s City Diner

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When Your Nuthatch Mama Needs Something Different to Eat

There is something that happens to nuthatch mamas at certain points in life. Something that has everything to do with food, that most basic of all life needs.

How many times have you had to listen to some version of: “I want something different to eat!”

It must happen at least 295 million times a day in the U.S. – probably more.

Come on now. Be honest. You’ve heard it…

So let me ask you.

What do you do if you are stuck in the exurbs surrounded by Arby’s and Applebee’s, Bubba’s Barbecue and Hooters, and the growing number of strip mall versions of Ranchero’s Mexicano and China Garden?

In many Southern cities, when you get tired of cooking it right yourself, you have to go looking for it, but – a sleeper restaurant occasionally sneaks through the Kudzu and surprises you, and it’s just down the street from Everytown’s version of Velma’s red neck beer joint.

John’s City Diner is such a place near here, on old Highway 11, where you can almost taste New Orleans in the Fried Green Tomatoes, the Southern Greens and Cornbread, and the Homestyle Meatloaf topped with mushroom demi glaze and served over smashed potatoes.

The roasted red pepper drizzle on the Fried Green Tomatoes reminded me of the mushroom sauce at the Orange Fest in Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana, although not quite as scrumptious.

At one point with my eyes closed, I could visualize the scene and taste the Mustard Greens already cooked in andouille sausage and pepper sauce, no need to ask the waitress for a bottle on the table, at Dunbar’s soul food restaurant on Freret Street. A certain famous writer friend of mine liked the Fried Chicken there.

While the old John’s Restaurant is still famous in downtown Birmingham, the new outlet in Trussville is suffering from an almost disserted bar, perhaps because the food comes out so fast…

Locally stylish retirees seem to have found the place, but rest assured you can please any nuthatch mama of any age with a trip down this memory lane – with a nod to 1950s Americana Art Deco.

If only the place was built in an old house with some old trees for shade along the old highway, the experience would be better. There is an attractive patio of outdoor seating. Unfortunately, it is built in a concrete jungle and by this time in May, maybe through September, it is too hot to handle by day…

Someone should try the Martinis on Friday and Saturday night. I suspect they might be worth the risk – of DUI that is. It’s kind of hard to find a designated driver when you’re single – in a land bereft of taxi cabs.

With any luck, you could get picked up by a teetoteller.

If you don’t make it home, at least your last meal would have been the best you could get anywhere around here…

© 2007 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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