What Makes a Good Roadfood Town?

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1bbqboy
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2005/01/19 13:28:14 (permalink)

What Makes a Good Roadfood Town?

I read this exchange from Frank and others on the Buz & Ned's thread concerning
Richmond, but it applies to everywhere. Lots of good restaurants, not many roadfood joints. I thought that was an apt description of my area, the Rogue Valley. It used to be a roadfood place, before the Interstate, when cars drove through town, but we lost the old generation of Hamburger Stands and Diners. We've got new ethnic roadfood, but no old standards,
What do you think? When does roadfood turn into upscale, or is roadfood a spirit more than a set of rules?
I would consider the people, the geography, the business and industry, and agriculture as all contributing. Ethnic diversity and blue collar
workforces seems to help, Love of Grease, for sure!
I wonder if you can write off whole areas, or hold out hope even in the most unlikely places?
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    fcbaldwin
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/20 06:23:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    I read this exchange from Frank and others on the Buz & Ned's thread concerning
    Richmond, but it applies to everywhere. Lots of good restaurants, not many roadfood joints. I thought that was an apt description of my area, the Rogue Valley. It used to be a roadfood place, before the Interstate, when cars drove through town, but we lost the old generation of Hamburger Stands and Diners. We've got new ethnic roadfood, but no old standards,
    What do you think? When does roadfood turn into upscale, or is roadfood a spirit more than a set of rules?
    I would consider the people, the geography, the business and industry, and agriculture as all contributing. Ethnic diversity and blue collar
    workforces seems to help, Love of Grease, for sure!
    I wonder if you can write off whole areas, or hold out hope even in the most unlikely places?


    Bill,

    It seems that whenever someone says that this or that area is devoid of good roadfood, someone else will usually pipe up and offer several suggestions of great roadfood places right there.

    I know I don't get around to checking out the possibilities as often as some others do (and I envy them), so that's why I enjoy coming to this site! You never know what you'll learn about an area that you didn't give a thought to before.

    Frank
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    rbpalmer
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/20 08:26:29 (permalink)
    It seems to me that great roadfood towns can take at least two forms: places that have relatively large numbers of good roadfood places (i.e., inexpensive and informal with good food), such as Albuquerque, Nashville, Memphis and New York City; and towns that have a smaller number of restaurants but they are restaurants that serve outstanding regional cuisine, such as any number of places on Maryland's eastern shore or around the Chesapeake Bay (seafood). The larger towns and cities, I believe, make up the bulk of the first category because they simply have a larger number of restaurants of all kinds and levels of ambition to chose from.
    #3
    UncleVic
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/20 08:58:51 (permalink)
    I think what makes a good roadfood town is finding "that someone" in town that takes heart at cooking...
    It can be a small town or big city. I dont think size of the town matters, it's just finding the guy that hung up a shingle sharing his tasty product(s).
    #4
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/22 14:49:56 (permalink)
    A WAFFLE HOUSE, a BOJANGLES, a SMOKEY BONES BBQ, a CRACKER BARREL, a CHICKEN KING ( a local franchise in waterford,michigan and farmington,mi) got to have these resturants they are my favorites
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    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/22 15:07:13 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    The perfect Roadfood town also has to include the following:
    1) At least one, and preferably more, good thrift stores, especially local ones that nobody else seems to know about.
    2) A decent, clean, reasonably cheap mom-and-pop motel.
    3) A halfway decent selection of microbrewery beers, imports, and/or local brands. (A brewpub here is an IMMENSE plus!)
    4) One or more large grocery stores that sell something obscure that absolutely cannot be found in my neck of the woods.
    5) A local, preferably non-chain-owned radio station (often a one-lung AMer) that doesn't sound like homogenized radio.
    Using those criteria, my obvious choices are West Point, Georgia, Anniston/Gadsden, Alabama, Morristown, Tennessee, and Seneca, South Carolina.
    How about y'all's?
    Thriftily And With Good Will, Industrious Ort. Carlton in Athens, Georgia (Which Qualifies For All My Criteria - With The Obvious Exception Of 4) - But I Already Live Here!).
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/22 15:49:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    A WAFFLE HOUSE, a BOJANGLES, a SMOKEY BONES BBQ, a CRACKER BARREL, a CHICKEN KING ( a local franchise in waterford,michigan and farmington,mi) got to have these resturants they are my favorites


    Gee, WaffleHouserules- Are there any non chains that you enjoy going to. That's what this website is all about!!!!" />
    #7
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/22 18:54:06 (permalink)
    I enjoy going to Hong Kong Express here in waterford,michigan. It is a non-chain chinese resutrant. I like chineese food.
    #8
    Spudnut
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/22 23:06:57 (permalink)
    Maybe I'm jaded by having lived in a large city for the past 20 years, but my ideal Roadfood town is small -- preferably accessible from a local road rather than a highway. It would have small shops, and most of the people would seem to know each other. The buildings would be old but well-kept. And it wouldn't be a tourist destination. In fact, the ideal experience would be when the people are incredibly friendly, but can't help but wonder how I found them, or what I'm doing there.

    I've found GREAT Roadfood in large cities, of course. But, there's so much else going on that they'll never "define" that city for me.
    #9
    mr chips
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 00:39:08 (permalink)
    I think a town wwith places that value authenticity makes a road food town. Large cities with ehtnic eateries that combine local and other ethnic influences make interesting cross-fertilizations(i.e. a local Mexican place features a quesadilla with pastrami and killer chile cheese fries, Vietnamese sandwiches with a jalapeno option). Fishing cities are bound to have fresh seafood that roadfooders crave. And there are still a lot of truckstops. How good does the quality of food have to be to be considered roadfood? Or is uniqueness more important? I love the free olives at the Olive Pit store in Corning but it has never had a formal review on the restaurant part of the website. It is however a must stop when I drive to the bay area I think this is a great topic and I look forward to hearing from more roadfooders
    #10
    RockyB
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 15:33:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    A WAFFLE HOUSE, a BOJANGLES, a SMOKEY BONES BBQ, a CRACKER BARREL, a CHICKEN KING ( a local franchise in waterford,michigan and farmington,mi) got to have these resturants they are my favorites


    Gee, WaffleHouserules- Are there any non chains that you enjoy going to. That's what this website is all about!!!!" />

    Don't listen to the wanderingjew or any of the other whiney snobs who are so certain that the minute you have more than 1 location you have become evil and tasteless. This is about ALL food that you find on the road. Don't let the snobs beat you down for having an opinion that differs from their whiney opinions.
    #11
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 15:52:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by RockyB

    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    A WAFFLE HOUSE, a BOJANGLES, a SMOKEY BONES BBQ, a CRACKER BARREL, a CHICKEN KING ( a local franchise in waterford,michigan and farmington,mi) got to have these resturants they are my favorites


    Gee, WaffleHouserules- Are there any non chains that you enjoy going to. That's what this website is all about!!!!" />

    Don't listen to the wanderingjew or any of the other whiney snobs who are so certain that the minute you have more than 1 location you have become evil and tasteless. This is about ALL food that you find on the road. Don't let the snobs beat you down for having an opinion that differs from their whiney opinions.


    And this is all about the Pergo Floors you'll find in those restaurants, and the Skinny Ties you'll be wearing when you get to those restaurants. So lets all talk about that too, hey that is what this forum is all about!!
    #12
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 15:52:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by RockyB

    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules


    Don't listen to the wanderingjew or any of the other whiney snobs who are so certain that the minute you have more than 1 location you have become evil and tasteless. This is about ALL food that you find on the road. Don't let the snobs beat you down for having an opinion that differs from their whiney opinions.


    Rocky,
    Just remember that what makes Roadfood Roadfood and not just anyfood is those intangibles that make the experience different and unique rather than those that make it the same. I prefer to eat at mom-and-pop places because I enjoy putting on my pith helmet and going on safari, so to speak - but I am not adverse to chains per se... I enjoyed eating at my favorite Huddle House just awhile ago, and don't think I erred in doing so.
    I actually know a guy who travels for a living, serving seven states in the South selling textbooks. He will sleep in his car (a Ford Explorer) before he stays in a chain motel or eat from whatever is sold at a mom-and-pop grocery store (especially what is homemade there) rather than eat at a chain restaurant. He's so fanatic that he's lightyears out of my league. (He also won't eat at any BBQ place that doesn't use a pit, but that's another story entirely.)
    It's my theory that we're all here to teach each other something that cannot be learned except by trial and error. Admittedly there's a lot of second-rate family-owned eateries out there - I've suffered through aplenty of them to find the grail I've reported on. All wheat must be separated from chaff or it's unusable; it's observing each contributor's treatment of that very sifting process as applied to food that makes coming to these fora worthwhile for me.
    Unchainedly, Ort. Carlton in Lovely Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. Hey, I rarely drink national-brand beer, either. Why bother when microbrews are so much better? Besides, I drink fewer of them! Plus, we've got a brewpub here that is plumb TO DIE FOR! After drinking beer like that, a person gets spoiled and practically everything else ends up being just flavored and colored water.
    P. P. S. I anxiously await the importation of the products of D. G. Yuengling & Son into Georgia. Now THERE'S a good plain old American beer!!
    P. P. P. S. Waffle House will do when necessary, but I prefer Huddle House - at least one particular one here in Athens.
    #13
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 15:55:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    quote:
    Originally posted by RockyB

    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    A WAFFLE HOUSE, a BOJANGLES, a SMOKEY BONES BBQ, a CRACKER BARREL, a CHICKEN KING ( a local franchise in waterford,michigan and farmington,mi) got to have these resturants they are my favorites


    Gee, WaffleHouserules- Are there any non chains that you enjoy going to. That's what this website is all about!!!!" />

    Don't listen to the wanderingjew or any of the other whiney snobs who are so certain that the minute you have more than 1 location you have become evil and tasteless. This is about ALL food that you find on the road. Don't let the snobs beat you down for having an opinion that differs from their whiney opinions.



    You don't know me, I am far from being a snob, I do know what this website is all about, you should find the definition of "Road Food" on the home page. Second of all one thing we don't do on this website is insult eachother, we may insult the chains that some people try to bring up which is what we are entitled to do because everyone has their own opinion!!!
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 15:59:16 (permalink)
    Ort: I enjoyed your philosophical response to the chain dialogue that has plagued this site. Chains can be good or bad and mom and pops can be good or bad. You have to pick and choose. I last ate at a Huddle House close to Conway GA at a NHRA event with Mamaw Smith and Brother. It is so close to Waffle House, it is not even funny. I understand that they have have had a prior relationship? The menu is certainly very similar.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 16:43:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I last ate at a Huddle House close to Conway GA. It is so close to Waffle House, it is not even funny. I understand that they have have had a prior relationship? The menu is certainly very similar.
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN


    Sundancer,
    Yes - as a matter of fact, there is a connection! Waffle House began in 1955 on old U. S. 78 (East College Avenue) just west of Avondale Estates, Georgia. The chain grew into several other stores quite quickly, then expanded even more rapidly once franchising was begun.
    Someone who worked for WH left and started Huddle House in - I think it was - 1964. One of their first locations was on Moreland Avenue, S/E in East Atlanta, beside where I-20 is now located. Their oldest "original" store is at something like 1111 Moreland Avenue, S/E - about 2 miles south from there - in the Ormewood neighborhood of Atlanta. Another really old location is in the Chamblee/Doraville area... I think it's on what is now North Peachtree Road.
    The idea to open WH came from the old Toddle House chain. There was one of those on Ponce de Leon Avenue in N/E Atlanta, across from Sears and just up from the old Atlanta Crackers ballpark. That is one of my earliest eating-in-Atlanta memories. Those tiny places were open 24 hours and were quite the rage until WH outperformed, outlocated, and outmanouvered them them.
    Both WH and HH have several worthy imitators, both in the Atlanta area and elsewhere. The best I've run across so far is (I think its name is) Mr. Waffle, which has locations on Memorial Drive just west of I-285 and on Candler Road just south of I-20. I think the company is African-American owned.
    There is another fellow who actually bought the WH he had managed for several years when the company relocated the store a mile down the road. This guy is originally from Nigeria, and his eatery - right by Clayton State College - features internet access AND even has a handful of Nigerian specialties on its 24-hour menu! My scouts tell me that I need to check it out. Since I know right where it is, as soon as I am more mobile (whenever that ends up being!), I'll do just that.
    No, I'm still not hungry again... yet.
    Replyfully, Shark-Shirted Ort. Carlton in Sparkling Athens.
    #16
    Shara
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 17:04:16 (permalink)
    The first thing I thought when I saw this thread title was "neighborhoods" because I grew up in a mid-sized city with diverse neighborhoods--Italian, Polish, Black, Spanish, mainly and they all had great mom-and-pop places to eat.

    Those are my favorite roadfood places--the little family operations that seem increasingly rare nowadays, although Roadfooders do a darn good job of finding what's left.
    #17
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 17:05:33 (permalink)
    I know goodn food when i eat it. I have made good comments on here. wanderingjew makes a negative remark about everything i say.
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    harriet1954
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 17:27:27 (permalink)
    I'm such a snob that I will only eat my waffles when presented thusly:


    On a table set only in this fashion!




    #19
    improviser
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 17:28:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    5) A local, preferably non-chain-owned radio station (often a one-lung AMer) that doesn't sound like homogenized radio.


    Ort.,

    Which station in Seneca meets your criteria? Is it Clemson's student station, 88.1 WSBF? Or something else?

    #20
    LegalLady
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 17:32:28 (permalink)
    Well, according to Ort's rules, we have nothing in Oshkosh, Nebraska, that makes a good road food town. I have known that for a long time. And out here you have to drive about 90 miles to reach a town that has any restaurants to speak of. That's why I spend a lot of time on this site looking and enjoying. We are not travelers, my husband is a cancer survivor (has had it 4 times in the last 14 years). That impeads our traveling a little bit, chemo treatments tend to kill good cells as well as bad ones, including brain cells.

    We intend to go to southren Indiana this summer, and I have gotten lots of ideas of where to stop and eat.

    According to another forum I saw this morning, I am not much of a contributor to this site, but what's to stop me from looking? I have come to enjoy all of your and your contributions and I will continue to look!

    The lady
    #21
    The Travelin Man
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 18:41:09 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    I know goodn food when i eat it. I have made good comments on here. wanderingjew makes a negative remark about everything i say.


    I have to tell you, wanderingjew is more often right than wrong. He tries, as do I, to keep a little focus as to what this web site has some foundations in. As he said, you will find the definition of "roadfood" right on the home page, but that seems to matter less and less around here lately.

    I understand living in a place dominated by chain restaurants, and am fortunate enough to be able to travel often to escape them frequently. Thus, my rule has become that I don't eat at any place on the road that has a location here at home. I can eat my Olive Garden (on the rare occasion when I get the desire) when I am home, but when someone suggests going for Italian on Long Island, I can steer them to someplace more appropriate.

    Checking this web site (I lent my Roadfood book a traveling friend), there is not much to suggest in the way of MI, unless you are in the UP. I suppose if you like fried chicken, Bojangles may be the best you can do in that area. Likewise with BBQ and Smokey Bones. We have one here, too, and little in the way of quality homegrown BBQ, so it does for me in a pinch -- but, I don't think I would compare this to anything I would find in TX.

    Based on what you report, and what this site might agree, is that you clearly do not live in a great roodfood town. <--- desparate attempt to keep this thread on topic That is not, by itself, a bad thing, but when you travel you might to try to find something that does not have a corporate bean counter owner.

    Steve
    #22
    RockyB
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 19:15:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by WaffleHouserules

    I know goodn food when i eat it. I have made good comments on here. wanderingjew makes a negative remark about everything i say.

    Wandering Jew makes negative comments about everyone who doesn't fit into his snobby eliteist views. He doesn't even notice that this is the Miscellaneous Forum which allows for people to go off message. His problem is that if you don't agree with him, you're his enemy, and so he attacks you.
    #23
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 20:33:31 (permalink)
    Hi, it's the snobby elitist here. I do not make negative comments about anyone one on this site, unlike some people (Rocky B) however I will not hesitate to continue to make negative comments about food that are cooked in bags and reheated in the microwave. Now the snobby elitist will go back to enjoying his Caviar, Pheasant under glass and Baked Alaska]
    #24
    mayor al
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 20:46:35 (permalink)

    The topic at hand is the description of the ideal Roadfood Town...NOT the Snob vs Non-Snob personalities of the posters. You guys need to lighten up and make some allowances for individual opinions. Get back to the topic of the thread or this one will get locked up and that would be a shame in my book.
    Al, The Moderator.
    #25
    RubyRose
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 21:03:13 (permalink)
    Back to the topic at hand - I think there has to be an appreciation for small businesses of all types. My husband has had one for many years and the people who patronize his business are the same ones who patronize the Roadfood places in our area. We have so many wonderful local restaurants but haven't been visited by the Sterns yet so don't have national recognition for them.

    The downside is large corporations who are based in that town/city. They do a lot of transferring of personnel to their corporate HQ and many of the transferees are comfortable with the familiar chains from their previous residence. It gives them a sense of continuity in their life, when things have been uprooted by a job transfer. Some go exploring and others don't.
    #26
    WaffleHouserules
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 22:35:26 (permalink)
    we dont have bojangles in michigan. Closest one is in LANDOVER,MARYLAND. i eat at bojangles when i go to NORTH CAROLINA.
    #27
    fcbaldwin
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 23:10:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Shara

    The first thing I thought when I saw this thread title was "neighborhoods" because I grew up in a mid-sized city with diverse neighborhoods--Italian, Polish, Black, Spanish, mainly and they all had great mom-and-pop places to eat.

    Those are my favorite roadfood places--the little family operations that seem increasingly rare nowadays, although Roadfooders do a darn good job of finding what's left.


    Shara:

    I think you have it figured out. It's really the neighborhoods, which, in the case of small towns, could be the whole town.

    This is the little diner where I eat lunch two or three times a week. The owner lives on the second floor above the place.

    Becky's

    First & Cary Streets, downtown Richmond.
    Great RoadFood.
    Daily specials.

    Frank



    #28
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 23:20:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by improviser

    quote:
    Originally posted by Ort. Carlton.

    5) A local, preferably non-chain-owned radio station (often a one-lung AMer) that doesn't sound like homogenized radio.
    Ort., Which station in Seneca meets your criteria? Is it Clemson's student station, 88.1 WSBF? Or something else?


    Improviser,
    That will do just fine, but I also listen to the AM 1560 station in Clemson that plays Beach Music so obscure that I don't know two-thirds of it.
    Sometimes in Anderson, I tune in (or attempt to tune in) WARP out of Due West. Or even WNCW in Spindale (the Isothermal Community College station). Now that last one is a GREAT station!!
    Unlisteningly (At The Moment), Ort. in 30601.
    P. S. Great onion rings and burgers at The Time Drive-In on East First North Street (Old U. S. 123 when it went through town) in Seneca.
    #29
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: What Makes a Good Roadfood Town? 2005/01/23 23:20:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    Hi, it's the snobby elitist here. I do not make negative comments about anyone one on this site, unlike some people (Rocky B) however I will not hesitate to continue to make negative comments about food that are cooked in bags and reheated in the microwave. Now the snobby elitist will go back to enjoying his Caviar, Pheasant under glass and Baked Alaska]

    While I enjoy certain types of caviar (including in mesh bags as bait), I prefer my pheasant in ways other than under glass. I realize this makes a cretin of me, but you go WJ.
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