Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Filling Those Diner Cravings

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Filling Those Diner Cravings

Article excerpt

Byline: J.F. Mix

It's time to talk about a guilty pleasure. I've eaten at more than my share of award-winning, highly touted, fancy-schmancy restaurants. Restaurants that nationally renowned critics have given great praise and a galaxy of stars. As much as I enjoy those experiences, I have to admit to a liking of diner fare.

I sometimes crave a local meat-and-three's specialty. It's where I go when I am looking for sliced turkey and gravy when it's nowhere near Thanksgiving. It's where meatloaf and whipped potatoes can be had as quickly as a burger and fries.

In my youth, one of the few times vegetables were part of my menu is when I'd pop in at Tad's outside of Five Points. This institution wasn't fancy, but it served good food at an affordable price. That ended back in 1997 when the restaurant was torn down to widen Forest Street.

Today, Tad's lives again as Two Doors Down Restaurant in the former Catanese Florist shop two doors down from Tad's original 400 Park St. address.

These days, much like those of old, Two Doors Down is a busy breakfast and lunch spot. Locals gather not so much for the food but to discuss the neighborhood news or conduct business the old-fashioned way - face to face. It stays true to its slogan: "A place to meet and eat."

There's absolutely nothing gourmet about this place. It's a simple restaurant that knows its strengths and plays to them. Regulars might have memorized the daily specials so that they know to come on Monday for the Meat Loaf ($7.45) or on Wednesday for the Sliced Turkey and Dressing ($7.45).

By chance, we were able to get the sliced turkey. The slices of white breast meat were warm and flavorful but a tad dry. The dressing was a savory scoop of herbs and bread crumbs. Like many of the sides, the green beans came from a can. I savored the simplicity.

In another setting, a can opener might be frowned upon as an often-used kitchen appliance, but here it is an accepted tool. The food is reasonably priced for a reason, and there are times when I crave canned corn. After all, this is the home cooking most of us recall.

The Chicken Salad sandwich ($5. …

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