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Places we visit for my “Out to Lunch” adventures are usually influenced by recommendations from readers or folks I’ve interviewed for previous articles.
During a previous “Out to Lunch” visit, I asked Carrie Jones, who lives in Wartburg and works for Tennessee Eye Care Center by Lowe’s in Midtown, about restaurants in Morgan County.
One she mentioned was on my prospect list: Angie’s Restaurant, on the corner across from the Morgan County Courthouse in Wartburg at 307 N. Kingston Ave.
Carrie also told me that Bill Landry, former host of “The Heartland Series” on TV for 25 years, regularly eats at Angie’s when he is in the area.
At a recent Roane Writers Gala, Bill personally confirmed to me his enjoyable visits to Angie’s.
“Bill’s favorite is the open-face hot roast beef sandwich,” said Angela Sexton, Angie’s owner and manager. Her husband, Roy, took over while we visited.
Landry recently spearheaded the sold-out performance of “Talk is Cheap” at the Princess Theatre in Harriman. We’re sore from laughing so hard.
I asked Wartburg resident Dallas Taylor if he was a regular customer at Angie’s.
“Since I retired from TVA, and my wife retired from cooking, I eat here almost every day,” he said.
The day we visited Angie’s, he was working on his waistline by having the made-fresh house salad and coffee.
Specials are hand written on a white board and not on the extensive menu. On Monday, the day of our visit, entrée specials were country-fried steak with gravy and Polish sausage with kraut.
Tuesday’s specials were meatloaf, chicken tenders and chicken livers with grilled onions; Wednesday, chicken and dumplings and cube steak with gravy; Thursday, open-face roast beef sandwich (Bill Landry’s day?) and baked spaghetti; and Friday, turkey and dressing and country-fried steak.
“I’ve never had a meal here I didn’t like,” Charles Jones told me when I visited him in a booth with his wife, Brenda.
He is a former warden of Brushy Mountain Prison and later Morgan County Correctional Complex. Brenda is former office manager of The Oak Ridger. They live in the Mossy Grove community and had just returned from a volunteer mission center trip.
On the day of our visit, they both had Polish sausage and kraut with mashed potatoes, fried okra and cornbread.
The daily specials are featured in a hot bar, cafeteria style. It brought back memories of Paul Walsh and The Hut in Kingston. Maybe you remember it, too.
From the menu, I ordered the Reuben, with kraut and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread, served with a dill-pickle spear and chips.
I passed on Angie’s Famous Club; chicken bacon ranch; BLT; fried or cold bologna; Philly cheesesteak; and Angie’s own chicken or tuna salad sandwiches.
I was tempted by the hot dogs, described on the menu as plain, chili, chili slaw, New York style and corn.
From the specials menu, Carol had a large cup of loaded baked potato soup, made on site from a secret recipe. She added a side salad with Angie’s homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
She was tempted by the strawberry salad. You’ll see why she resisted when I write about desserts.
Other salads available were house, chef, fried or grilled chicken, taco and chili pie.
Of course, I had to help her on the large serving of the tasty soup. I couldn’t get Angela to divulge some of her secret ingredients.
Other made-on-site soups offered were broccoli cheddar, vegetable and chili. All soups can be served in bread bowls.
Terry and Tammy Coker both had vegetable plates. Terry chose mashed potatoes, green peas, turnip greens, fried okra and cornbread; Tammy had potatoes, okra, kraut and yeast rolls, adding a dessert of homemade peach cobbler.
Terry has been a social studies teacher at Wartburg Central High for 15 years, and Tammy works at Morgan County Correctional Complex.
Other side dishes on the specials board were pinto beans, macaroni salad, and made-on-site cole slaw.
There were also a couple of signs advertising fried pickles.
Angela opened Angie’s Restaurant at this location May 11, 2009. About 18 months ago, she and her husband, Roy, moved the dining area into the building next door and converted the original location into a kitchen.
From 1998-2001, she operated Angie’s Restaurant down the street in log cabin-style building. During that time, she also ran the Grill at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge and food service for the Expo Building at Roane State Community College in Harriman.
After the first Angie’s closed, she worked at Doubletree Inn in Oak Ridge, first in the business office and later handling the catering.
She told me the most-ordered items are hot roast beef sandwich, chicken and dumplings and turkey and dressing.
“We try to make everything in our kitchen,” Angela told me. “We peel 50 to 60 pounds of potatoes a day.”
Doug Garrett and Larry Schaefer, Tennessee Department of Corrections employees, enjoyed their lunches at a nearby booth. Doug lives in the Joyner community near Oliver Springs and is a unit manager; Larry lives in Wartburg and is a facility maintenance supervisor.
“I eat here two or more times a week, depending on what they are serving for lunch at work,” Doug said.
On the day of our visit, he had the Blue Cheese Burger of a fresh ground beef patty, blue cheese, sautéed onions with fixins’ and served on a toasted bun.
“I usually eat what’s on the hot bar,” he added.
Angie’s menu list seven different ways hamburgers are available. Other offerings are grilled or fried chicken, pulled pork barbecue and fish fillet.
Larry went to the hot bar on one of his many visits to Angie’s. He was doing a good job on country-fried steak and gravy, with sides of mashed potatoes and peas.
Standard beverages, including milkshakes, are available. Also offered is a selection of appetizers, dinner meals of ribeye steak, catfish, butterfly shrimp and others.
Catering is also an important part of Angie’s business. Later in the week, they were catering an event at Wartburg First Baptist Church for 400 people. Featured speaker was Voice of the Vols Bob Kesling.
As we ordered our lunch, Carol noticed server Courtney Lavender take what looked like a colorful sundae to Charles and Brenda Jones’ table.
“What is that?” she asked.
Our server, Katie Jones, was told to bring us the same, with two spoons.
Angela calls it a Strawberry Delight Sundae, made with strawberries, angel food cake, whipped topping, vanilla pudding and a strawberry glaze.
Previous readers will be surprised to hear that I did not have a take-out box for leftovers, and I finished my share of the delicious dessert. Our evening meal had to be very light.
We passed on coconut and chocolate cream pies, lemon meringue pie, cheesecake, pecan and apple pies, hot fudge cake and peach cobbler.
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Bethel Poston is a Roane County businessman and entrepreneur who writes about places of interest in our area. E-mail suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.