This month I wish to introduce you to Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Cafe in Victorville. Then let’s take a quick look at a few popular casual chain restaurants and see if we can agree on which have improved the most or went the other way. I am not going to waste your time discussing mashed potatoes or smiles.......just the bottom line....that is the good, better and best or the worst and worst of the worst.
Now for Emma Jean’s........home of the famous Brian Burger located on Old Route 66 in Victorville. The restaurant was built in 1947 by Mr. and Mrs. Bob Holland, thus the name Holland Burger Cafe. Emma Jean passed away in 1996 and her traditions still live on in the restaurant today. Her husband still runs the little cafe with his son, Brian, and wife, Shawna. They serve homemade food made from scratch, just the way Emma Jean would have done it.
The cafe is favored by locals for its generous portions and old-fashioned home cooking. Try the biscuits and gravy, chicken-fried steak, or the famous Trucker’s Sandwich, chock-full of roast beef, bacon, chilies, and cheese.
So...if you’re driving on the old road, stop by and experience this old-weathered diamond in the rough.
Guy Fieri, from “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” TV show on the Food Channel did, and he liked it! Soooo much so he did a TV show on the place. My best stop between Newport Beach and Las Vegas!
Now for the chain restaurants!
GO! Best 24-hours a day, 7 days a week “place” is Norm’s. It has the best fresh food, best prices, and real friendly staff. Visit their web site for locations and menu.
GO! Best improved menu, improved decor, servers, etc. is Romano’s Macaroni Grill.....my wife and I like it enough to go there about twice a month....and can you imagine wine by the honor system...they bring you the bottle and you tell them how many glasses you drank.
Caution: Think before going—
The Cheesecake Factory.....almost all menu items are high in calories and carbs...high sodium and prices on, you guessed it, the high side. Hard for me to understand why they are always busy. It must be that lots of calories, carbs, fat and sodium tastes good. Not my choice to stay fit.
Red Lobster. How can over-sauced, so-so cooked fish with cheese muffins be popular? They are not giving the stuff away, and it’s not cheap.
Applebee’s. Nothing, absolutely nothing to write home about—and don’t worry about your socks, this place won’t knock your socks off.....unless you like real chewy tough steak. However, they do pour good drinks.
Finally, the last Caution:
The Olive Garden. This is not an Italian restaurant. The best that I can say is “Italian Style”; in fact, I got food poisoning at one of their locations, and when I called them, the next day (hoping they could find the cause and prevent anyone else for having the same event) they could have cared less. On the bright side, however, good desserts and nice pasta soup.
Go to the following BBQ Spots:
Go! Famous Dave’s BBQ. You will not be disappointed. Very good tri-tip, fair prices. Don’t miss the biscuits with apple butter and their drunkin’ apples.
Go! Lucille’s Smokehouse. This place is great, and if you never had these dishes, try the fried pickles, the fried green tomatoes and the grits......deep in corn meal fried shrimp....Southern fried okra, and don’t leave without some Jambalya—spicy and good.
Go! Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Opened in Dallas, Texas in 1941 by the Dickey family, and is still open today. See their web site for local locations. Nothing fancy, nothing tricky....just good BBQ....ham, turkey, pulled-pork, pork ribs, brisket, sausage, and chicken but “no” beef.
Good eating this month, and Bon Appetit!