Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South

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ULVER
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/08 19:57:16 (permalink)
Buffetbuster that was the usual most excllent job!!!

As for the Atlanta leg, I'm amazed Harold's wasn't up to par. Been going there 35 years, and it has rarely been off. NEVER had bad stew there, or one batch that tasted different than another. The cracklin' cornbread is a lost art. I haven't found it at any other BBQ joint.

The Varsity is more done for the experience, than for the food. Sometimes it's good, sometimes only passable. The chilidogs are good, if you get a freshly made one (soft bun), and top it with Vidalia onions. The french fries may be the most tasteless, I have ever encountered. Five Guy's seasoned cajun fries, utterly destroys the Varsity's.

I was curious... The Riverside Catfish House...using Lookout Mountain as a reference point, how far of a drive is the place? I have always wanted to try it.Is everything fried or can you get grilled fish, as well?

Lastly, my next trip up that way, I hope find this place still opened. It's an old Burger Chef location, still using the same equipment, to replicate the chain's unique taste. Burger Chef! Good childhood memories!
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Louis
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/08 22:53:56 (permalink)
For what it's worth, if you want to know how far some place is from Point A to Point B as the crow flies, try this link.

Just write in the locations in the appropritate slots, press enter and you'll have your answer in a second or two. I've found this to be very helpful when I'm on the road hunting a good restaurant. It even works on teeny-weeny town.

http://www.indo.com/distance/
#92
buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/09 09:05:55 (permalink)
ULVER-
I was equally surprised to not enjoy Harold's. It is one of those places I have been reading about for a long time and I was really looking forward to my meal there. The Brunswick Stew and other sides were fine, it was the bbq itself that we didn't like.

I am thinking that they must have been having an off day. There have been several other places that I have had bad experiences in (Sylvan Park & Elliston Place Soda Shop in Nashville and Wilbur's in North Carolina immediately jump to mind), yet there are others here on Roadfood who's opinion I respect who love these places. I plan on trying each one again to see if it was a one time thing or I just don't like the place.

I can't remember the exact mileage, but when we left the Riverside Catfish House, we were at our hotel in downtown Chattanooga in 15 minutes easy. I got out the menu I have from the place and they just list it as catfish and don't say how it is prepared. I can tell you that they are so nice and accomodating here, I would be very surprised if they said no if you asked them to grill the catfish instead of fry it.
#93
cecif
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/09 11:46:47 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by ULVER

The Varsity is more done for the experience, than for the food. Sometimes it's good, sometimes only passable. The chilidogs are good, if you get a freshly made one (soft bun), and top it with Vidalia onions. The french fries may be the most tasteless, I have ever encountered. Five Guy's seasoned cajun fries, utterly destroys the Varsity's.


How wild is that??? I post a trip report and rave about the Varsity's fries and someone else sez they stink. Personally, I thought their fries were equal to In'n'Out fries which is saying a *lot*, IMHO... fresh cut, fresh fried, really they couldn't have been improved. (Although I wasn't lookin for cajun seasoning, I like plain...)

I thought the rest of the food was okay, not great, though my chillidogs were very good... but the fries were the best part of my Varsity experience! Ya just never know, huh?!


Actually, as a p.s. to this, BB, I had a great experience at Elliston Place... I think it's tough for any great spot to be consistently great all the time, even for a good spot to be "always" good. Perfection is too much to ask of any person or place, but when the stars line up it can feel like it is possible.
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buffetbuster
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/09 13:54:32 (permalink)
cecif-
My visits to Sylvan Park and Elliston Place were both right before the businesses closed for the day and they were out of most of the menu items I wanted to try. I loved the atmosphere at Elliston Place, but the food tasted like it had been sitting around for hours and to say the service was disinterested would be an understatement. But, no big deal. Next time in Nashville, I plan on trying both earlier in the day and hope for better results.

There was a thread on here where people listed their Roadfood disappointments. Some of my very favorite places (Blue Willow Inn, Mother's, Lexington BBQ #1, etc.) were among the restaurants mentioned. CajunKing, a poster who I hold in high regard and opinions I value, listed the Golden Lamb and Interstate BBQ, two places I have been to multiple times and always enjoyed. It happens...... Everyone's tastes and experiences are different.

The Varsity does seem to be one of those especially divisive places, though. Personally, I like the place!

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Nancypalooza
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/10 13:10:37 (permalink)
I think it's really hard for a RF-type establishment to get consistency; it apparently takes a lot of years and some really anal-retentive attention to detail. The only reason chains get it is because they're lab-testing absolutely everything they serve to make sure it always tastes the same (which is usually kind of bad but always the same bad).

I have to explain a bit about my minority report on the Blue Willow. The first two times I visited, it knocked my socks off. One of those was the Friday night seafood buffet. Those visits were close together, about five years ago. Then I talked it up and talked it up and we took my son and nephew there on the way for them to drop us at the airport to fly to the UK, and it was just okay. I don't know whether it was an off day, like you mentioned, or I had just blown it up too far. It's definitely given me a couple of great meals. And I'm trying to be kinder since my beloved Jestine's also recently gave me a just-okay meal.
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Louis
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/10 22:47:34 (permalink)
Nancy, you probably hit the Blue Willow on a rare bad day. Every time I've been there, I come away wishing I lived next door.
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cecif
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2007/11/11 22:32:56 (permalink)
Nancy, I guess it's widespread... I had Jestine's a few weeks ago - on my maiden voyage to Charleston - and wasn't impressed (see trip report, I think that's where I described it all). I'd probably try it again because everyone raved about it, but not if there was a long line outside. The food was good, but not great.
#98
Allison2008
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/02/25 15:01:17 (permalink)
Well what did you think about Bilbo's?





Not having had nearly enough bbq, we headed to the small town of Bremen in western Georgia, just off of I-20. This is the home of Bilbo's BBQ.


Bilbo's has to have the largest menu of any barbecue joint I have ever seen and I consider that a bad sign. Johnny ordered the combo platter, with ribs, pork and sausage plus a few sides:

He thought it was good, but nothing remarkable.

I got a pork sandwich with a side of brunswick stew.


#99
cecif
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/28 02:08:48 (permalink)
HOLY CANNOLI!
It took me a while just to figure out how to log in (it used to happen automatically) and then how to post!!!! BIG changes around here! (Yes I have been absentee... just too busy to even look at RF lately!)

I wanted to post here though, Cliff, because I just sent a link to this report to a friend headed to B'ham, and browsing thru I was reminded what amazing reports you write and fantastic pictures you take!  It's humbling. Hope all is well (feel free to send me topic links for anything I am called out on, I have heard I have been but honestly no time to look!)  Happy New Year!

buffetbuster
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/28 16:44:24 (permalink)
cecif-
Welcome back!  And you have been missed! Nice to hear that you sent this to your friend.  As for this trip report, I kind of look back on it and cringe, since it was my very first with photos.  Hopefully, I have gotten a little better since then. 
Ort. Carlton.
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/28 17:16:47 (permalink)
BhamBabe Most of the really old places like Pete's Famous Hotdogs, Sneaky Pete's and Gus's Hotdogs are all run by Greeks. With Pete's Famous being one of the first. That little walk in you were in dates back to before World War I and it has been a hot dog place, owned by the same guy, Gus (not the same Gus as Gus's hotdogs) since 1948. Gus bought it from his Uncle Pete, before that it was known as Louis's.
You were lucky. When Gus is gone, so is the hot dog place. He has no children.

BhamBabe; Buffetbuster; Dearfolk,
   Let's hope that SOMEBODY keeps the place alive... that Gus manages to find an understudy... because to lose a place this special would be a total tragedy.
   This thread has helped me greatly, because after the first of the year, I've got research to perform in Birmingham, and I've gotta eat somewhere. Thanks a gazillion for all the information, Beloveds.
      Post-Christmasly Wellfedly, Ort. Carlton in Holiday-Happy Athens, Georgia.

Ort. Carlton.
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/28 17:25:23 (permalink)
cecif  (Yes I have been absentee... just too busy to even look at RF lately!)

 
cecif,
   Let me echo what Buffetbuster just said... you have been seriously missed, and welcome back!
      Typographically Marginally, Ort. Carlton in Amazing, Out-Of-Focus Athens, Georgia.
Ort. Carlton.
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/28 17:28:35 (permalink)
Buffetbuster,
   Thank you, thank you for your great thread and photos here. I'm going to hunt a few of these places down in upcoming travels next year... as soon as I manage to get new glasses so I am once again safe to drive on unknown roads. You've performed quite a service here, and -- again -- thanks.
      Unwanderingly, Ort. Carlton in Athens Regional Library on a non-large-screen machine, thus pecking slowly in Athens, Georgia.
porkchopexpress
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2008/12/29 17:44:58 (permalink)
Wow!!! What a trip report. Your reports make are going to make me fat 
cecif
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2009/01/03 00:00:05 (permalink)
buffetbuster

cecif-
Welcome back!  And you have been missed! Nice to hear that you sent this to your friend.  As for this trip report, I kind of look back on it and cringe, since it was my very first with photos.  Hopefully, I have gotten a little better since then. 



Yer crazy, dude... these are terrific photos. You just get better with age...

Ort.Carlton.... thank you - I wish I could see getting active again soon but life has been so unsettled for me for so long I don't know when I will be able to relax and enjoy RF forums again... someday, just not tomorrow!

carolina bob
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2009/01/04 23:26:18 (permalink)
   BB - Fantastic photos and descriptions, as usual. Your pictures of Bob Sykes brought back some very happy memories of my one meal there back in the mid-80s; back then they were still in the old building. Dynamite ribs! And that lemon pie..... gotta get back someday. I loved the Melear's photos; I've wanted to get there for years. Maybe I will before the decade's over. Great report.                     Bob
Littleman
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/06/27 12:48:01 (permalink)
BB........check out Smokehouse BBQ in Greenville, AL next trip to the Great State of Alabama.  Good luck.
 
Smokehouse @ 2391 Pineapple Hwy., Greenville, AL 334 - 382 - 5868. BBQ. I65/EXIT128.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-smokehouse-greenville
buffetbuster
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/06/27 13:26:49 (permalink)
Littleman-
You are really bringing back some old trip reports.  I think this was the first week long report I did.
 
Thanks for the tip on Smokehouse BBQ! 
crew84row
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/06/27 13:32:35 (permalink)
Littleman,
I took a gander at this in preplanning stages of a trip across the central south. Looked promising and only a short ways off my route home. But, there's a post out on TA, dated this month, that says this place as closed back in May.
Littleman
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Re:Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/06/27 13:38:55 (permalink)
A good Ole Miss fan told me about it this morning.  I will ask around.  He just went there he said.  Thanks for the tip though. 
Littleman
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/06/27 13:46:32 (permalink)
Smokehouse is closed now since May.  Mmmm..........Too bad.............
soozycue520
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/07/02 19:30:09 (permalink)
I posted early on 5 years ago about how great this trip report started out.  Love it!!! Glad to see it again.
EliseT
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/07/05 01:52:09 (permalink)
All you can eat catfish? I'd put them out of business!
love2bake
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RE: Buffetbuster & Cousin Tour South 2012/07/09 15:20:14 (permalink)
I'm so glad people started commenting on this trip report again and brought it up to the top, as I'd completely missed it.  I wasn't looking at forum postings in 2007.  But I was at Pancake Pantry in 2007 and adored it (who wouldn't!).  And just this past April, during a cross-country road trip, I went to Nikki's in Bham and had the vegetable plate and two slices of pie to go.  The custard pie had a TON of nutmeg either on the top or under the custard or somewhere--I couldn't finish it. But the lemon icebox pie?  That was a winner!!  I'd definitely go back here if I get into this area again. 
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