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Friday, September 7, 2007

Amy's Diner in Old Hickory, TN is closed

A friend and I went to have lunch over at Amy's Diner in Old Hickory, Tennessee, and it was closed. Must have happened pretty recently - I passed by there not too long ago and there were several cars in the parking lot.

There is a new meat-and-three that has opened in its place now, called Ma & Pa's Kettle [http://www.meatandthree.com/tn/maandpaskettle/]. I have not been there yet, so I don't know anything about it. I called to confirm that they do serve a meat and three (and a meat and two, and meat and one), and was politely invited to come for a visit, which I will do at some point.

If you get over there and check it out, shoot me a note and give me some details: info@meatandthree.com. I would appreciate that!

As always, if you know of a meat and three restaurant, diner, or cafe that is not on this site yet, please contact me with some details - at the very least, the contact information. I will check it out.

Phil Roberson (mn3guy)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waited way too long to go

I am embarrassed to say it, having lived in Nashville as long as I have. It was not done intentionally. I am not even sure why it was done. It just sort of happened that way.

I am sure I'm not the only one, but for a guy who is in my situation, it is almost inexcusable and I hate to have to admit this to you. I mean, can you imagine if the person who started Hallmark Greeting Cards never sent an anniversary card to his wife? Or, what if you heard that Sam Walton never visited the WalMart in Bentonville, Arkansas? Wouldn't that seem a little bit odd to you?

Make no mistake, I don’t put myself in the same league as Sam Walton (don’t earn quite that amount …yet, and I am still breathing), but I have done something – rather, “not” done something – that might seem just as odd as one of those examples. Keep in mind that I created a web site called MEATandTHREE.com [http://www.meatandthree.com].

Since coming to Nashville to attend college in the early 80’s (okay, 1980), I have never been to Arnold’s Country Kitchen [http://www.meatandthree.com/tn/arnoldscountrykitchen/]. Not one time. Not for lunch. Not for breakfast. Not once. I have been by there several times. Have taken pictures of the place. Even submitted an article about it.

I have also had quite a number of people who have told me I need to go: family members… people I have worked with…folks I have gone to church with…parents of a kid who played ball with my kid. You know the drill. And yet, all these years it has been one of those places I had just not been to – for whatever reason. Kind of strange, huh.

You know where this is going, don’t you! A few days ago, a friend and I made our way over to 8th Avenue, just below where it splits with Lafayette Street, a couple or three blocks from the I-40/I-65 overpass. We pulled into the parking lot, found a spot in the overflow section, and hurried in. It was about 11:15 on Friday when we arrived, and not a moment too soon. The line moved pretty quickly as we made selections from several meat options and a variety of vegetable choices, but that line soon flowed out the door. And, let me tell ya, it was one of those hot, heat-wave days when a person did not want to be standing outside!

If you have read any of my blog articles, you know that I don’t do actual food reviews. I’ll tell you what I eat, and what the person(s) along with me choose to eat, but I leave it to you to make your own decision. Every person has their own opinions, like and dislikes – so I give you some information about the particular “meat and three”, relay a bit of its story sometimes, and challenge you to try it out for yourself. See what “you” think about it. See how daring you are.

Some meat and three restaurants are not necessarily in the best sections of town, you know. Of course, perception plays into that “best section of town” thing, doesn’t it?! But, don’t let fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar keep you from visiting one of these most American institutions!

I think people really miss out on some awesome food as well as some wonderful opportunities to rub shoulders with a myriad of personalities from all walks of life when they never visit a "meat-n-three". Arnold’s is no exception. There was absolutely just about every type of person you would think of seeing. Probably somebody famous, too, and I am not just talking about all the celebrities on the walls.

Arnold’s was a whole lot of what you think of, when you think of one of those great places that serves the kind of home-cooked food that you remember from “back in the day”. It’s definitely a place that you should not wait over 27 years to go visit (actually, I’m not sure when they started – maybe someone can enlighten me). As a matter of fact, you should go sooner rather than later. Maybe tomorrow if you are in town. Just look for the bright red building with a whole lot of cars in the parking lot.

Now, having said all that, making a big deal about it ... can you believe there is "another" venerable Nashville meat-and-three institution that I have not visited?

Stay tuned…

Phil Roberson (mn3guy)

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Niki's West and the Birmingham Zoo

A few weeks ago, one of my daughters, Kathryn, "decided" that we were all going to head down to Birmingham for a day trip. With some snacks and drinks packed, iPods and books at the ready, and a fiance and friend-boy along for the ride, seven of us piled into the van and headed south to "The Magic City".

There were a few reasons that Kathryn wanted to make this little trip. One was probably just to get away for a day. That's always a good reason, right? Two, Scott had never been Dreamland, a BBQ place that the family loves to visit. We have been several times and love to eat there. This one is near the UAB campus. Of course, the original Dreamland in Tuscaloosa is where you gotta go, but we just did not have that much time. That will be another trip. All that is served in the Tuscalooa store is ribs, white bread, sauce, banana pudding and drinks. Man, my mouth is watering even as I write this.

The third reason was to visit the Birmingham Zoo. We had never been there and had not been to a zoo in a while, so it sounded a good option. Fourth, shopping. Yes, I have two teenage daughters and a wife. What more can I say? At least I had some male moral support on this trip.

Well, I had a surprise of my own up my sleeve. A few years ago, after a University of Alabama A-Day football game, I had visited Niki's West, a meat-and-three not too far off Exit 262/Finley Blvd., with my son, father, aunt and uncle. Even though on this trip we were going to arrive at Niki's at lunch time, I knew the meal would be worth the potential long wait.

The line was pretty long - probably 50 or so folks when we got there - but moved amazingly fast. We waited "maybe" ten minutes before picking up our trays and silverware. The men and women who worked the steam table didn't hold anything back and were courteously adept at pushing people through in a friendly, fun way.

With a boatload of meat and veggie choices, it wasn't hard for each of us to find something that we liked. And, liked we did. All seven of us chose a different meat and a lot of different vegetables. The cornbread and rolls, and the sweet tea - well, this native Birmingham guy was feeling right at home.

One tip: if you have a party of 7 or more, make sure you heed the sign and let a hostess know about your party. That way, they can go ahead and reserve a table for you as you are going through the line. Otherwise, your wait for a table could be a bit longer.

If you are headed to Birmingham, you should give this place some thought. I know there are quite a few meat and three restaurants there, but this one is not likely to disappoint and would be a great introduction to meat and threes, if this is your first time.

The rest of the day was just about perfect, except for being quite warm and muggy. The zoo featured some entertaining animals, although there were a few of the exhibits that were closed.
If you are interested, I took quite a few photos and have posted a number of them on one of my Flickr Photo Sets. This guy to the left, though, was one of my favorites - he was quite a character.

Yes, we did spend some time at the mall, although not as much time as I would have thought. And, yes, this meat-and-three guy did take the group over to the Birmingham version of Dreamland for the evening meal. I am a big ribs fan and have come to love Dreamland's version, and I was not alone.

We were all very well satisfied, which made the drive home kind of lonely for me. They were all snoozing their well-fed little selves while I was left alone in my thoughts. That can be a pretty dangerous thing sometimes, just ask my family. But, that night's version was pretty good: pondering the blessings of a fun day with family and friends, and thinking about where we ought to go on our next little jaunt.

Can anyone say, "ROAD TRIP!"

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Meat and Three Definition

Saw a blog post earlier today - http://www.michellesmiles.com/?p=115 - where Michelle wondered aloud about the term, "meat and three". I entered a comment to provide her with some thoughts on the subject.

That got me to thinking that maybe it would make sense to include my definition on this blog, given the fact that I am the one who created the MEATandTHREE.com web site. While I do have a page on the site that provides my "official" definition of a "meat and three": http://www.meatandthree.com/definition.html, you can read it here, too.

meat and three n.

  1. A menu option consisting of one meat and three sides. The sides are often vegetables, although other foods may be included in the list of available sides. Either a roll or a piece of cornbread is almost always included with the meal, and a drink is sometimes included in the "meat-and-three" price. The drink is usually "sweet tea".

  2. A dining establishment offering meals consisting of one meat and three vegetables.

  3. Any cafe, restaurant, or diner (usually non-chain), generally in Southern locales and generally owned by single proprietors, that provides food at reasonable prices to all types of clientele from blue collar to business professionals and politicians, with a typical plate that consists of one meat, at least three vegetables (sometimes two), and either a home-made biscuit, roll or cornbread. A drink, such as Sweet Tea, is often included in the "Meat and Three" price. Daily specials and combo's can be found on typical laminated menu's; on chalkboards hanging on the wall; or even on plain handwritten or copied pieces of paper. Business hours can start early, where the "Meat and Three" also offers breakfast, and can go to an early-afternoon close just after the lunch crowd; while some stay open from early in the morning until late in the evening; and others are open for just a few hours during lunch.
--Plural. meat and threes. --Alternate forms. meat-and-three; meat-n-three; meat'n'three.

Well, that's it. I am sure it could probably be "tightened up" a bit, but I think you probably get the idea. There are tons of these great little places. So, get out there and try one today!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

October 2006 HistoryBlog articles

Click any of the links below to go to the entry on HistoryBlog.MEATandTHREE.com, my old blog.

Phil Roberson (mn3guy)

MEATandTHREE.com (Home)
MEATandTHREE.com (USA page)
MEATandTHREE.com (Photo Gallery)

November 2006 HistoryBlog articles

Click any of the links below to go to the entry on HistoryBlog.MEATandTHREE.com, my old blog.

Phil Roberson (mn3guy)

MEATandTHREE.com (Home)
MEATandTHREE.com (USA page)
MEATandTHREE.com (Photo Gallery)