A Byrd in the Hand…Jonathan’s Byrd Cafeteria
When Pat and I first started going out to lunch and writing about it. We only had one rule, only independent restaurants, diners or bars would be considered. For the most part we have managed to stick by that. With all kinds results. Both bad and good. We decided on lunch because he didn’t want to fall into that “old man-trap of early bird specials and 3 PM dinners. Besides Pat needed to get home and get dinner ready for his wife when she got home from work. However our list of places to go is getting smaller with every passing week. So we decided to try Jonathan Byrd’s cafeteria in Greenwood. So bring on the blue haired ladies. The joint is well-known for its homemade food. And it is a large and attractive space.
At the very beginning I made a rookie mistake when visiting a cafeteria or buffet; I did not check out all the options first. In the cafeteria they will put the deserts at the front of the line with the salads; in order to entice you to eat and spend more. With buffets it’s nearly a war of attrition. They try to spread things out so you will spend as much time walking as you can. So what I’m getting at is I got too much food. Again. Pat, almost always the sensible one ate rationally. He had a nice piece of breaded fish with a side of steamed broccoli, a side of carrots and a nice whole-wheat dinner roll. Although the fish had been fried. He blotted any excess grease off prior to eating. They did have a baked option for fish, but the portion was much larger. Pat’s lunch was tasty, filling and nutritionally fulfilling. Very much keeping in line with the man of his maturity.
Now me, on the other hand, picked a lunch fit for two. Pasta salad, Boston cream pie (why it is called a pie. I don’t know why. It is obviously cake). Having picked the beginning and the end of my lunch . I needed something for the middle. So, I opted for a side of corn bread dressing with a touch of gravy, Turkey pot pie and a biscuit with butter.
The pasta salad was tasty. One of the better versions I’ve had. Multi colored tortellinis with grape tomatoes, and thin slices of red radish. All in a dressing reminiscent of Buttermilk Ranch. The cornbread dressing was very “genteel”. Fine textured and mildly flavored. But considering the rest of my food it fit in well. The biscuit was nice and fluffy but considering I already had pot pie it was redundant. The pie was rather unique. Don’t get me wrong it was very good. Just in my estimation different from the usual Boston cream pie. The cake was fluffier than I am accustomed to and the chocolate glaze was more milk chocolate, then dark chocolate. As for the cream filling. It was sweet vanilla cream. What’s not to like. However, the winner, winner, turkey dinner was the pot pie. it had a top crust only which was more than sufficient. The crust was handmade and flaky, barely containing a large , thick portion of filling. Big chunks of turkey with carrots and peas in a rich gravy. I cannot imagine this dish being done better. The peas even had a slight bite to them. Meaning they were not cooked into mush. If you have an opportunity to try this. I strongly recommend it.
As soon as we sat down we unloaded our trays. We didn’t want people thinking we are institutionalized.The prices were quite reasonable. I believe the whole tab came to less than $19 and we got a lot of food.