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Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria

100 Byrd Way, Greenwood, IN - (317) 887-8888
Posted By Michael Stern on 6/12/2011 5:39:00 AM
Jonathan Byrd’s boasts that it is America’s biggest cafeteria, and we wouldn’t argue. The serving line is eighty-eight feet long with a minimum of twenty entrees at any one time (serving continuously from 10:45 to 8:45 daily) as well as countless vegetable side dishes, Jell-Os, salads, desserts, bread and rolls. In need of comfort food when we first stopped by, we dined on turkey pot pie and a bowl of chicken and noodles, the latter an especially salubrious bowl of thick, soft pasta and shreds of chicken in just enough broth to keep it all moist.

It happened to be a Wednesday, so the other entree choices for the day included wiener schnitzel, stuffed peppers, smoked sausage, fried cod, fried chicken, roast beef carved to order, turkey carved to order, meat loaf, and St. Peter's fish. Each of the seven days a week has its own list of specials; and every day of the week, you can count on beef Manhattan, ham and beans, steak, shrimp, vegetarian vegetable soup, plus low-cal diet items from salad to no-sugar pies.

Among the memorable side dishes were macaroni and cheese with a good portion of crusty, chewy top-cheese mixed in with the creamy noodles from below, a buttermilk drop biscuit that was a textural joy and bread pudding laced with slices of cooked-soft apple and plenty of sweet caramel sauce.

The late Jonathan Byrd was a man on a mission from God. “I was impressed by how many significant biblical events involved people eating together,” he wrote for a story in Guideposts. As a matter of principle, he served no liquor in the cafeteria, not even in its banquet rooms, and even after his passing, the Jonathan Byrd function rooms regularly play host to gospel concerts.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
fried chicken
Corn bread stuffing
caramel bread pudding
Sugar Cream Pie
Greens
Corn Muffin
turkey pot pie
Mac N Cheese
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Hoosier sure know how to fry chicken. The crust on Byrd's pulls away in large, luscious strips.
"Hoosier sure know how to fry chicken. The crust on Byrd's pulls away in large, luscious strips."
Michael Stern





Note the large nugget of pork at the heart of this serving of full-flavored greens.
"Note the large nugget of pork at the heart of this serving of full-flavored greens."
Michael Stern


Word to the wise: if you get sugar cream pie, ask someone behind the counter to warm it up for you. Cool, it's sticky; warm, it's heaven.
"Word to the wise: if you get sugar cream pie, ask someone behind the counter to warm it up for you. Cool, it's sticky; warm, it's heaven."
Michael Stern



""I figured the cafeteria line would be almost a third as long as a football field," Jonathan Byrd wrote. "I was thinking about what could well be the world's largest cafeteria.""
Michael Stern


For us, looking at the brilliant-colored Jell-Os in a cafeteria line is like browsing among precious gems at Harry Winston. The dark ones in this picture are grape flavor.
"For us, looking at the brilliant-colored Jell-Os in a cafeteria line is like browsing among precious gems at Harry Winston. The dark ones in this picture are grape flavor."
Michael Stern


Our kind of salads! In the foreground: carrot-raisin-marshmallow; in the back: creamy peas.
"Our kind of salads! In the foreground: carrot-raisin-marshmallow; in the back: creamy peas."
Michael Stern


A serving of caramel bread pudding. One of about two dozen irresistible desserts along the Jonathan Byrd cafeteria line.
"A serving of caramel bread pudding. One of about two dozen irresistible desserts along the Jonathan Byrd cafeteria line."
Michael Stern


Roast beef is carved to order. Then choose from a few dozen side dishes to go with it. Of course, we'll take mashed potatoes every time.
"Roast beef is carved to order. Then choose from a few dozen side dishes to go with it. Of course, we'll take mashed potatoes every time."
Michael Stern


We find the experience of going through a good cafeteria line absolutely thrilling.
"We find the experience of going through a good cafeteria line absolutely thrilling."
Michael Stern


A buttermilk drop biscuit: farm baking at its best. It's rich and crumbly, good to eat along with any meat or to crumble atop a serving of vegetables.
"A buttermilk drop biscuit: farm baking at its best. It's rich and crumbly, good to eat along with any meat or to crumble atop a serving of vegetables. "
Michael Stern


Jonathan Byrd is gone, but his religious perspective continues to infuse the dining experience.
"Jonathan Byrd is gone, but his religious perspective continues to infuse the dining experience."
Michael Stern


Take your pick of corn muffins, sweet or regular.
"Take your pick of corn muffins, sweet or regular."
Michael Stern


A vista of victuals. Trays are large at Byrd's cafeteria, but never large enough to hold everything I want to eat.
"A vista of victuals. Trays are large at Byrd's cafeteria, but never large enough to hold everything I want to eat."
Michael Stern


Very cheesy mac n cheese. You can request crustier areas of the casserole, too.
"Very cheesy mac n cheese. You can request crustier areas of the casserole, too."
Michael Stern



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