Like most people, during my college days, I engaged in some rather questionable behavior. Falling under that category would certainly be staying up way too late at night, indulging in way too many intoxicants and then seeking out cheap chow in a lame attempt to soak up some of that raging excess.
Like most people, during my college days, I engaged in some rather questionable behavior.
Falling under that category would certainly be staying up way too late at night, indulging in way too many intoxicants and then seeking out cheap chow in a lame attempt to soak up some of that raging excess.
Unsurprisingly, my memories from that era are a little impaired, but I do remember occasionally sucking back a pre-dawn breakfast at that locally owned all-nighter called Tee Jaye's Country Place.
I mention this because I recently noticed that Tee Jaye's was turning 40 years old. That's quite a milestone in the restaurant (or any) business, and that kind of longevity doesn't just happen by accident. So in honor of the occasion, I decided to visit a Tee Jaye's in a way I hadn't before - sober and when the sun was shining.
Thus did I find myself last weekend pulling up to my nearby Tee Jaye's with that undeniably catchy gravy-praising jingle from the commercials rattling through my brain (come on, you know the song).
"Howdy," cheerily chimed my waitress when I entered the eatery (things I would later hear her call me and other customers: "honey," "hon," "dear" and -best of all - "sunshine").
As I was scanning the menu and noticing that indeed gravy was a main player here, my impossibly friendly waitress noticed my not-a-regular status (clearly a rarity in the well-attended place) and kindly recommended the TJ Scramble and the Cornmeal Pancakes.
My opportunistic dining partner green-lighted both of those, whereas I opted for the infamous and imposingly titled Barnyard Buster - which is Tee Jaye's all-time best-seller and the domain name for its website.
TJ's Scramble ($6) was much like a Western omelet plus potatoes and minus the folding-over job. It was a nice melange of cubed ham, hash browns, green peppers, plenty of onions, tomatoes and shredded yellow cheese. Call it a nice little eye-opener.
The Cornmeal Pancakes ($5) had a neat sunny yellow color to them. The cornmeal that lent them their golden hue also gave them an appealing, mild crunchiness and a very pleasant corny sweetness.
As for the Barnyard Buster ($5), well, of course it's over the top. What I got was a plate wholly obscured by a bucket of sausage gravy. Beneath the thick and creamy load were halved biscuits, home fries and a couple of eggs. For all I knew, there might've been a Toyota in there too.
Anyway, if it wasn't really my thing, does that even matter? A classic is a classic.