OUT to LUNCH: Lunch with the Scarbrough family at new Rockwood eatery

-A A +A
By Bethel Poston

I saw the grand-opening announcement last July in the Roane County News for Scarbrough’s Restaurant in Rockwood at 114 N. Gateway Ave.
“That’s where Steffano’s Pizza & Grille used to be,” came to my mind.
I wrote an “Out to Lunch” article on Steffano’s in April 2010.
Darrell and Hilary Scarbrough and their children, Cameron and Izabella, own the new restaurant. Some of the dishes on the menu are named after the children.
As a youngster, Darrell spent time at International House of Pancakes and Hardee’s. He later operated a restaurant in Gatlinburg.
Some longtime Roane County residents may remember Darrell’s father, a former pastor at Grace Baptist and Griever’s Chapel Baptist churches.
“Scarbrough’s: We’re not fancy — we’re family,” is how my telephone call was answered when I called the restaurant.
For this “Out to Lunch” adventure, I invited author B.J. Gillum, his wife and some of his friends to be at Scarbrough’s while I was writing this article.
B.J. lives in Rockwood, and is president of the Roane Writers Group (I’m a member). I have also enjoyed reading two of his novels, “Forget Me Not” and “King of the Kudzu.”
He was served a catfish sandwich on a grilled bun with lettuce, tomato and mayo, with a side of fries. It wasn’t on the menu, but the Scarbrough family likes to please customers and created it.
B.J.’s wife, Saundra, chose the chicken salad sandwich dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayo on a grilled croissant. She also had fries.
All sandwiches and burgers are served with your choice of fries, corn on the cob, green beans, slaw, mashed potatoes, seasonal fruit, fried apples or side salad.
You’ll find on each table a metal bucket filled with peanuts to be shelled and sampled while waiting for orders to be prepared.
B.J. invited author and Writers Group member Dillon McPhersome and his companion, Sharon “Beatrix” Sonnier, to join us. Dillon has just finished writing a screenplay, “Tiger Sanctuary.” They live in Kingston.
Dillon had a “red, white and blue” burger – a juicy, granny-style hand-patted beef burger garnished with red peppers, white onions and blue cheese. He also had a side of fries.
Beatrix went for “Scarborough’s famous roasted chicken salad,” which the menu describes as “piled high on a bed of lettuce and surrounded with seasonal fruit.”
I saw the size of her serving and was not surprised when she asked for a container to take half of it home for a later meal.
In addition to a couple of other salads, I noticed the “Healthy Choice,”  seasonal fruit with a cup of strawberry yogurt.
Susan Gibson, a retired banker, is secretary of the Writers Group and lives in Rockwood with her husband, Bill. He is a retired computer software company manager, and she has just finished her third novel.
Susan did a good job on a shrimp basket with fries and slaw.
Bill ordered the catfish plate with fries and green beans. I think B.J. created his sandwich after hearing Bill’s order.
My wife, Carol, and I wait to see what others order so we can choose other items to write about in my articles.
Carol had commented on several interesting items on the menu, only to realize someone else had already ordered them.
She couldn’t resist the shrimp basket with fries and slaw.
“I’m glad I ordered it,” she said. “Look — I ate all of it.”
A sign on the door promotes “Cam’s Deep Dish” made with Scarbrough’s homemade chili, cheese, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and sour cream over a bed of Fritos.
It was good, although I passed on the sour cream. The dish was named after son, Cameron.
Scarbrough’s menu is filled with many inviting items too numerous to mention. You’ll find BLT, California Reuben, chicken salad, pork or chicken barbecue, several other sandwiches and a variety of hamburgers.
Readers know of my fondness for hot dogs. The menu offers nacho, slaw or All-American dogs, but I wanted to write about something else on this visit.
A blackboard sign promoted sausage and chicken gumbo soup. Sounds good on a chilly day.
Darrell told me most everything is made fresh on site.
“Chili is the most-ordered item, made fresh every day, and cooked overnight,” he said.
“Chicken, catfish and onion rings are cut and battered when ordered and then cooked,” he added.
Another popular item is the St. Louis ribs, cooked in a broiler on site.
Standard beverages, homemade lemonade and freshly brewed ice tea are available.
Victor Letner works at Kimble Chase, a glassware manufacturer in the Roane County Industrial Park. As a member of the Roane County Industrial Board, I was involved in helping locate Chase Instruments to our area.
Victor enjoyed a bowl of Scarbrough’s homemade chili topped with grated cheese, along with hand-dipped boneless chicken strips.
He took some chicken strips to work for a later snack.
“Their chili has more tomato flavor than most I have eaten,” he said.
After having my chili dish, I can see why it is a most-ordered item.
In the same booth with Victor were fellow Kimble Chase employee Cynthia Cole and Joe Gunter. All are Rockwood natives.
Cynthia and Joe had the open-face roast beef dinner, described on the menu as “over 1/3 pound of tender USDA choice black Angus roast beef, served open face on grilled Texas toast with mashed potatoes, gravy and Cheddar cheese.”
I noticed Joe cleaned his plate.
Cynthia’s dessert serving of hot fudge cake could have fed everyone in their booth. It’s vanilla ice cream sandwiched by chocolate cake, drizzled with hot fudge and topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
“It’s delicious,” she said.
On our table was an inviting photo of Scarbrough’s Very Berry Tart.
“Our triple berry tart uses only the finest ingredients for the most delectable dessert around,” the menu said.
It’s served in a bowl crust. I resisted.
Our server, Joanie Metcalfe, formerly of Rockwood Street Grill, brought out a tempting homemade Butterfinger cake for us to consider. We resisted again, only because we were so full.
You may also choose desserts of homemade peach cobbler, sugar-free apple pie, banana split or strawberry pie.
Chief cook, Melanie Herrin, was a respected cook at Rockwood Street Grill before it closed.
A stage has been constructed at Scarbrough’s for a new singing contest, planned for 1 p.m. each Saturday, with a $50 prize.
Hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Local delivery is available; call 245-8041 for details.
• • •
Bethel Poston is a Roane County businessman and entrepreneur who writes about places of interest in our area. E-mail suggestions and comments to postonplace@bellsouth.net.