Friday, January 2, 2015
Steve and I always try to eat (and shop) local when we can, and so we set out today to try Allen's for the first time. We were really impressed.
The diner is ground level, facing Jordan, in the old Mid City Motor Hotel, and I'm thrilled to see shops and businesses opening up there. Next door is a neat looking thrift shop called Patina, but they were not open this afternoon. We went through the old revolving door (love that!) and were greeted with a chorus of "Welcome to Allen's!"
The place is spotless and very neat; attractive photos and decorative pieces hang on the walls; the tables are covered with cheerful vinyl red and white tablecloths. A nice touch: there are tiny bottles of hand-sanitizer among the salt, pepper, hot sauce and sugar dispensers on each table!).
We sat ourselves and a cheerful young lady, smartly uniformed in black slacks, white button down blouse, and tie, came to our table. She brought menus and took our drink order with a smile.
Steve and I both went for the catfish today, but as it's Friday, we could also have had hamburger steak or pork chops. The plate lunch came with two sides and it was difficult to choose which two I
There was pleasant conversation among the tables as customers visited with each other about football games and the weather. Because it was an anniversary celebration today, Allen's Grill was giving out door prizes all day. A fellow shuffled up to our table and had me draw a number out of a little styrofoam bowl - #7. I won a coffee mug and nifty coaster which he brought to my table in a cute Christmas bag!
Our food arrived steaming hot and very promptly. The portions were more than generous and all perfectly seasoned. The fish was flaky and tender with a nice batter neither too heavy or too light. Our server brought plenty of tartar sauce without having to ask for it. I'd have been perfectly happy with a huge bowl of the collards with some cornbread on the side; there were chunks of ham hock in the greens which were tender and perfectly seasoned. It never crossed my mind to douse them in pepper vinegar; they were already perfect.
And our litmus test onion rings? Perfect! Not frozen. I loathe the laziness of frozen onion rings. These were great and there were plenty of them.
I'm not sure what the usual dessert fare includes; we were each given a piece of birthday cake in honor of their anniversary celebration and that was just fine with us! We both ate every bite.
I was impressed with the management; good management shows in happy employees, quick service, and a clean restaurant. At one point there was a burst of happy laughter coming from the kitchen and even though the manager/owner (not sure) quietly hushed them, it was certainly not overly boisterous and just showed me that the employees like working there. That's always a good thing!
As I said, we love to support local businesses and Allen's Grill is one that I hope sticks around. We have a couple of hot-lunch places along the E. Kings Highway corridor that we frequent, but Allen's will definitely go into the rotation. Each place has its own ambiance and its own specialty and we liked what we saw at Allen's. Give them a try next time you're out looking for a good lunch. They also serve breakfast all day.
Allen's Grill is located at 729 Jordan St., phone 318-606-2079. Facebook page is here.