Whistle Stop Cafe
whistle stop cafe
As is the case in most offices, Monday morning is welcomed unceremoniously with chatter of the weekend before. The Monday following this experience was no different; I detailed the events of the past weekend to my co-workers. I was immediately met by urging to write a gateway review because it sounded like such a review-worthy experience.
On a warm early summer morning my husband and I found ourselves with nothing to do. This is an uncommon occurrence because our weekends are usually pretty well filled with some kind of family engagement or another. We had an entire day to fill, what would we do with it? Recently several friends had been talking about making the trip to the whistle stop café and as natives of the middle Georgia area we had of course been there before. But as we grew, entrenched in things right outside your front door, we had neglected to frequent the Juliette area. In truth, childhood memories of happy times and then subsequent trips back with images of shuttered storefronts and disappointments had informed my decision to stay away. So when friends talked of fried green tomatoes on a Sunday, I just couldn’t believe my ears- that old tourist spot? Open on a Sunday?
So that’s what we did with our blessed free Sunday. A day trip to Juliette. On the motorcycle- yes a motorcycle. My husband looks for any excuse to ride the motorcycle and I am not always a happy passenger. The bike is not exactly built for long distance passenger riding and Juliette is just over 30 minutes away. But, as a dutiful wife, I strapped on my helmet, held on and prayed for it to be over- until finally- it was. We turn onto the “main drag” and find that we are not alone. This statement is true in two ways, first we are met with an astounding number of people milling about and spilling out of the cornerstone Whistle Stop Café and second we have to hunt for a place to park our motorcycle between the crush of Harleys!
While I’m super excited to see the popularity of the Whistle Stop Café has not waned, I am acutely aware of the size of the Whistle Stop Café. I’m not a math whiz, but I know a thing or two about a wait at a restaurant. Once parked, we swagger in the door and are told to expect a minimum of a 1 ½ hour wait! We’ve driven all the way here- there is nothing else here, I’m hungry, and a wait time of over an hour? As these thoughts are running through my head, we decide to stay and walk around until it we can be seated. So taking our sweet Sunday time we peruse the shops that are no longer shuttered but stuffed to the gills with antiques and gifts and eye candy of all kinds. In and out we go, because let’s face it- we came here on a motorcycle without even the benefit of saddle bags. Everything we are taking home needs to be in our bellies. Speaking of bellies- mine is growling when I spot, the greatest f-word ever invented. FUDGE. I happily buy a block of fudge and my husband and I settle in on a rusty outdoor swing and pass the time talking and people watching and feeling miles and miles away from the Monday morning that looms ever closer.
After a while, we migrate closer to oasis that has brought everyone here and jockey for a position on the porch benches. Finally, our name is called. After being escorted into the dining area, we are seated at the U-shaped bar that functions as the home base to all the waitresses. We watch people check out, and are generally entertained by the goings on. Although the specials board boasts a slew of homestyle eats, I am unable to force my brain to even fathom a meal that doesn’t have fried green tomatoes as the main focus. I remember when a fried green tomato was really a magical thing, something seldom seen on a menu. Nowadays the fried green tomato has become a go to appetizer for local eateries. Although those new-fangled FGTs don’t hold a candle to the ones at whistle stop.
Not treated as a dainty appetizer, The Whistle Stop Café makes their tomatoes a meat replacement on their yummy sandwich. Crunchy lettuce, mayo, onion and rye bread set off the fried fruit expertly. In fact, since my trip to Whistle Stop, I have found a new appreciation for rye bread- solely due to that sandwich. Of course, our sweet tea came in a mason jar, there is movie memorabilia posted all around and tons of families and children crammed into the made for 4 seating, but that’s all part of the charm. It might be a little bit of a drive, and it might be a little bit of a wait. But in a world that moves so fast, I invite everyone to create a day with nothing to do and enjoy an afternoon of the slow life.