Long trips usually have to be punctuated for various reasons by pit stops: stretching the legs, restroom breaks, to change drivers. But the most anticipated in MY book is for the purpose of exploring new diners, restaurants, truck stops. Sometimes these places to eat are most accurately referred to as holes-in-the-wall. And if you're lucky, you'll happen into a hidden treasure for some mighty fine southern cuisine!
Stan's Restaurant, just off exit 46 on I-65 in Columbia, TN roughly 40 miles south of Nashville, is one of these treasures where true southern food is deliciously prepared. The surroundings aren't exactly what you'd call fancy but it's not the surroundings you taste 'cause the first bite of fried chicken makes you forget all but what's in front of you! And when you see all they have to offer, from perfectly fried pork chops & ham steaks to a huge bowl of chicken n' dumplings & grilled steaks, you realize this is no "thaw & serve" country restaurant. But I haven't even mentioned the side items yet....
Seasoned turnip greens, fresh blackeyed peas & fried okra (only three but they're my faves) are staples found in almost every country restaurant. Stan's knows how to make them extra special & most savory. And the most pleasant surprise I found was the two kinds of cornbread they offered: plain & KRACKLIN' cornbread (they spell it with a "K")! It had been decades since I'd had hot, fresh, moist, delicious kracklin' cornbread.... not since the beloved Sunday dinners of my youth in central Alabama.
For those who are unfamiliar with what a kracklin' is, it's a small tender nugget of fried pork skin that adds an extra UMPH to cornbread! And Stan's doesn't skimp on the kracklin's they mix into each batch. They serve the cornbread in hot, generous half rounds which beg for butter smeared inside when sliced open.
I called to ask if they were open this past New Year's day & the lady I spoke with said in a tired voice, "Yep, we're open every day 'til 9PM except Christmas." One thing I've enjoyed besides the excellent food is the great, friendly service. I like this place!
Stan's has become a destination of its own to me at least once a month. The two hour drive northward only whets my appetite & gives me time to try to decide what I'm going to have when I get there. But no matter what I choose, I know it's going to be mighty good & well worth the drive. A great place for excellent southern food!
After all, any place that has a raccoon sitting in a tree wearing Mardi Gras beads & a red ribbon HAS to be seen & experienced, right??? I think so too!Review Written (and taste tested!) by: Mark@Underthesouthernskies