Originally published Nov. 12, 2013.
We were married four years before we had our first baby. During those years often on Sunday nights we would leave church and go by one of the local drive-ins for a snack. There were several back then that are no longer in existence.
Do you remember the one named “Toot and Tell” that was located in the bend of the road on Pine Street just before you come to Robinson’s Greenhouse? This place was operated by Kit Tuggle and had the best Bar-B-Que sandwiches. They were not in business very long and we hated to see it close. Later the Boyle family built a home on that location.
The Corn Dog
And I remember the first corn dog I had ever seen or eaten. In the bend of the Shreveport Road was a small restaurant or drive-in that was named “The Dothl House”. The name was a combination of the first names of the owners — Dorothy and H. L. Bridges. The Corn Dogs were delivered to your car along with a small paper cup of sauce. The sauce was a mixture of equal parts of catsup and mustard. We learned to love them. I attempted to make homemade corn dogs, but they were an abysmal failure. I believe that John McCowan operated that business for them at one time.
Southern Kitchen on the Homer Road stayed in business for many, many years. It was under different managements, and served good food. There was always a crowd there. In later years it was known as “Hack’s,” and today it is a Chinese Restaurant. There are always lots of cars there today so I know somebody likes Chinese food.
Of course after the children came the favorite place for “fast food” was Neta’s on the Shreveport Road. Back then it was named “Neta’s A & W.”
They handled A & W Root Beer in a huge keg or container. We bought it by the gallon and carried it home with our hamburgers. The big, juicy hamburgers were 5 for a dollar. That was one hamburger for each of my children, one hamburger for my mother and me, and one for J. C.
Now that John Powell is gone, his son, Mike, has operated the drive-in for many, many years. My children as well as me think that those are just the best hamburgers anywhere.
My grandson who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, loves to come home to Minden and have a hamburger from Neta’s. He agrees that they are unbeatable.
Isn’t it good that some things we thought tasted wonderful in our younger days still has that same wonderful taste today?
It was a long, long time after we had children before we had a McDonalds. We thought it would be wonderful to have a choice in hamburgers, and they children were eager to go there. Still they have always come back to Neta’s and think that their hamburgers cannot be beat.
Diners of the Past
Another place that I remember from 50 years ago would be a Bar-B-Que stand out Maiden Lane by Jack Batton’s Grocery. A black man whose last name was Aubrey operated that stand and the food was delicious.
Mrs. Lonnie Baugh operated a family type boarding house that served family style meals each day. Later her son, Happy and his wife, Hazel Turner operated the business. Salesmen made sure they were in Minden at lunch time so that they could go to “Ma” Baugh’s boarding house. The food was always good, and everybody felt welcome. The Turner’s daughter, Harol Lynn, who is now Mrs. Delmar Thompson, still lives here in this area.
I remember Thad’s Cafe was another restaurant besides Southern Kitchen in town where you could go in, be seated, and order a steak or some other item off a menu. Thad’s daughter is Mrs. Kenneth McGowan (Betty) and she owns and operates “Cards and Things” in Park City Shopping Center.
Today I hope that you like Mexican food, chicken, pizza, Chinese or fish since that is just about all we have.
There are four Mexican restaurants, at least three pizza places, and three fish places, and we have three chicken places. I think that there are two Chinese places. Of course at Cotton’s on the Homer Road you can order fish or chicken, and I have not included it in the listing.
From time to time we have had other restaurants come in for a time, and then leave.
There is Mom’s Diner out on the corner of I-20 and Highway 532 that has excellent food, and many of us go there regularly for a good meal.
I love breakfast foods and they really do a good job with that item. I often order a breakfast from the menu for my supper, since I love grits, scrambled eggs, and toast. Their clientele runs the gamut from truck drivers, and laborers to some of Minden’s wealthiest residents and all in between which includes me.
On one night alone I counted about 10 from the First Baptist Church eating there. There is always a large crowd there that attests to the fact that the food is good. It is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Gates. She is the daughter of a girl I attended school with — Vesta Price.
The Golden Biscuit on the Sibley Road is small but we have eaten there from time to time, and there is always a good crowd there. Minden folks like to eat out, and we surely can use at least one other restaurant where you can be seated and served. It gets old going to a drive-in and taking home hamburgers. As the commercial said “you can always go to BurgerDoodle and eat in the bus.”
And downtown there’s Hog Heaven that serve breakfast and plate lunches.
The Country Place out Lewisville Road serves lunch Monday through Friday and on Sunday. The food is good and there is always a good crowd there. But they do not serve an evening meal, and only cater private parties on Saturday. Our class reunions have enjoyed meals on Saturdays since Tommy McFarland is such a gourmet cook. His steaks are just the best, and I wish I could cook green beans as he does. He is such a good host to our class, having an urn of coffee waiting when we arrive to visit before the meal.
Sit and Be Served
Dixie Inn has three restaurants where you can be seated and served. I appreciate being able to sit and be served, especially since I can hardly walk, and certainly cannot carry my little oxygen tank and a food tray, too.
At one time there was a Chinese Restaurant on the Sibley Road. My late husband, J. C. and I went there once. He ordered a soup dish, that had one large noodle floating in a weak broth. I cannot forget the look on his face when he regarded that one noodle. He said he would never get fat eating Chinese food. We were not familiar with the listing on the menu, and we did not know what to order. My daughter and her family really like Chinese food and know what dishes are good. I’ll just stick to the familiar, (Again, this old mind did not know what a “prawn” was. Why didn’t they just call it a shrimp?)
Arcadia has two or three restaurants that we love to go to. One is Luigi’s, another is Sharon’s where they have the best plate lunches that always include several vegetables that are cooked just as I like them. Luigi’s has such good hamburger steak, and the best salad bar I have seen, with such a wide selection of condiments to make a delicious salad. Sure wish one of them would move to Minden, or just open a cafe here.
Somebody Else’s Cooking
I love to cook, but I have cooked for about 65 years and I adore eating somebody else’s cooking for a change. Recently one of my MHS Class of 1939 members came from Houston for a mini-reunion. After checking in at a local motel he asked where was the best restaurant to go that night and get a good meal. I did not know what to tell him, so I just listed what we had.
From time to time I hear people mention different little cafes on the outskirts of Minden, and people have found good food in so many of them. I cannot recall the names of them, but there are signs near these little cafes. There is one or more in Sibley, and one that people like in Dubberly, and there is a sign for one on the Shreveport Road near Tom’s Service Station. So we won’t go hungry.
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.