At the recommendation of Doug, who dropped Betty Mae's into the Suggestion Box, Lady A and I headed over there for lunch.
Arriving just after 11, we were some of the first customers of the day. We seated ourselves in the dining room and shortly thereafter our server came over to take our drink orders and answer our questions.
The menu covers many of the "down home cooking" staples. You will find fried chicken, pork chops and tilapia. Pinto beans, blackeyed peas, and both turnip and collard greens. But you will also find some out of the ordinary dishes--turkey necks, beef liver, ox tails, chittlins... We had to inquire about a few of the dishes, "Jesus" eggs are more commonly known as "Deviled" eggs, the fried corn is skillet cooked and more similar to creamed corn than corn fritters.
Lunches are offered at a single fixed price ($7.99) and include a main dish, two sides, your choice of a roll or cornbread, dessert, and a drink. You'll be hard pressed to leave hungry.
I selected the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, fried corn, sweet potato pie, a roll, and my standard unsweet tea. Lady A tried the turkey neck, "jesus" eggs, fried corn, honey bun cake, a roll, and sweet tea. They had gotten a late start so some items were not ready yet (the neck bones) and others were not available (the fried green tomatoes). However, our server kept us informed as we asked and also filled us in on the off menu options that were available (lemon cake).
The restaurant was chilly, matching the cold weather outside, but we simply kept our coats on and enjoyed catching up. The yellow walls were dotted with various expressions and the vinyl table cloths featured bright, colorful flowers. The number of patrons picked up as we ate, but it stayed quiet, a good place to talk.
Our food came up quickly, packaged in to go containers, still piping hot (my order is pictured at the top of this post). I was surprised to see that my fried chicken entree was three wings, but it was still plenty of food as the wings were apparently sourced from monster chickens and had lots of meat on them. The chicken was outstanding. Flavorful and tender without being greasy, the lightly crispy exterior added just the right amount of texture. Hands down some of the best fried chicken I've ever eaten.
My macaroni and cheese sported a thin, creamy, housemade sauce with a nicely cheesey flavor. The noodles were tender without being mushy and held the sauce well. The fried corn dish had me a bit worried upon first inspection. Kernels of corn were floating in a somewhat brackish sauce, speckled with pepper. Upon first taste though, all was made clear. The somewhat dirty color of the sauce was likely lent by using turkey drippings. The corn was fresh and firm, the creamy sauce added both flavor and body. My only complaint was the cook had been rather heavy handed with the pepper, giving the dish quite a punch.
The roll was soft and slightly chewy with a lovely, lightly sweet, yeasty flavor. The sweet potato pie was silky smooth and nestled onto a thin, pressed base that was possibly a graham cracker crust, but hard to place exactly.
Lady A enjoyed her meal as well. She described the turkey neck as a moister version of a turkey leg and said her honey bun cake exactly captured the flavor of honey buns.
Open 11-3 during the week and 11-6 on Sundays, Betty Mae's offers absolutely stellar "down home" cooking. I've checked a couple of things off my wishlist with this restaurant--amazing fried chicken, a place to take out of towners for really good southern cooking--and I'll be recommending them often.
A few things to note if you are thinking of heading in...despite offering a veggie plate, they are not vegetarian friendly. All of their veggies are flavored with turkey. Also, their credit cards are run through their phone line. So if call in orders start jumping (as they did when we were there) you may have to wait a few minutes to get your card through.
Total for the meal: $8.63
View Larger Map