RE: Vegetable Plates I Have Known and Loved
Had supper one night last week (not dinner one evening) at a literal roadside restaurant, literal in sense Ed & Kay's sits right alongside Interstate 30 on the southern edge of Benton, AR (about 25 mi. SW of Little Rock). Guess that location contributes to its being a "Roadfood" restaurant as well as its being housed in a big old white block building with the words "ED & KAY'S" painted in huge letters on the roof, being nothing special to look at either inside or out but nice & clean, being owned & operated by the same family for 27 yrs., and offering great food & great service. Our waitress was a family daughter and you could tell all waitresses were thoroughly experienced and professional, unlike those you now too often find. Had heard Ed & Kay's highly praised for years (particularly for its breakfasts, plate lunches, pies, & iced tea), but this was my first visit there.
Its dinner/supper menu is the standard folded, laminated menu with its soup, salad, sandwich, burger, plate lunch (fried & other chicken dishes, chicken fried steaks, hamburger steaks, roast beef, pork dishes, veggie plates, etc.), few steak and seafood dinners, desserts, and other standard offerings printed on it. Inserted in the menu is a daily printed sheet listing that day's plate lunch special, vegetable selections for the day, and any other specials for that day. The most unique thing about this menu was the great number of vegetables offered (some 10 or 12), and the manner in which vegetables were identified. Printed beside those vegetable dishes not previously served at the restaurant (& there weren't many of them) was the word "NEW". Printed beside the vegetable dishes prepared from vegetables fresh from the garden, field, patch, etc. was the word "FRESH" (many of them this time of year). Those veggie dishes which were both "NEW" and "FRESH" were so identified. Those vegetable dishes previously served and prepared from frozen vegetables had no descriptive or identifying words beside them. I've never seen this done in any other restaurant.
The vegetable selections looked so delicious that all four of us decided to go with vegetable plates. I had puple hull peas, a zucchini-tomato-onion dish (tastiest of this type I've ever had due to its butter and seasonings preparation), green beans & new potatoes (so delicious to die for), fried squash, and slaw. Everything was "fresh" except the peas; the zucchini-tomato-onion dish was also "new". The slaw was shredded the finest I've ever seen (really more extruded) and with its light, mild vinegar-mustard flavored dressing was delicious. All of this topped off with a big slab of cornbread made for a vegetable plate I'll long remember. Unfortunately it all left me so stuffed I was unable to try the pies, but from their appearance and our hosts' comments, I have no doubt that they lived up to their reputation. Hosts also said the breakfasts there were the best to be found in that area.
In this day of the small independent being replaced by the corporate giant in so many areas of business, it's good to see a mom and pop establishment which does a good job survive and prosper. That is particularly so with Ed and Kay's being located at the end/beginning (depending on direction you are traveling) of a 25 mile stretch of restaurants, the majority of which are branches of corporate chains.