We stopped for lunch in Sanger, TX while we were on our first round of geocaching adventures. We drive past the interstate signs for Sanger every time we head to Kansas to visit my family and, in particular, the sign for the original Babe’s restaurant. Eating at the mother ship had been on my list of things I’d like to do for some time.
And this is when I (re)learned an important lesson: Never assume that the original small town location of what is now a very popular regional chain restaurant will be open for lunch. You are, after all, in a small town.
So Babe’s was off the list and we were hungry geocachers needing to eat. Just a few feet away, tucked into a typical small town storefront was Big Momma’s Catfish and Pies. I suggested we eat there.
I told everyone: I’ve never had a terrible experience eating at a diner in small town America.
As we walked in, I glanced around the room and spotted two local police officers eating near the front door.
I added: And I’ve always had an excellent experience eating at a diner in small town America frequented by local law enforcement.
Big Momma’s is big on food, but not as much on space. And that’s ok. It was festive and welcoming inside, staffed with probably the nicest people on the planet.
The food was amazing. Kelly and I both ordered the fish lunch basket – fried catfish, fried shrimp and hush puppies. In retrospect, we probably should have shared but I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate it all. I’m just saying that we should have shared.
And that fried feast? It wasn’t greasy or lacking in flavor. It was delicious.
If you thought the fish basket had a healthy portion, take a look at the chicken fried steak. The size of a dinner plate – the way a Texas chicken fried steak should be.
Even more astounding was the grilled chicken – also the size of a dinner plate. That was a little unexpected. But the truly remarkable thing was that the size-of-a-dinner-plate chicken was juicy and flavorful. I don’t know many restaurants that can successfully pull that off with a 5 oz serving of chicken.
All of our meals came with two sides. Kelly ordered the okra (more fried!) and the mashed potatoes and gravy. I was jealous of those potatoes – more so after I
stole sampled a bite.
I also had the okra, but chose green beans for my second side. Savory, satisfying and, thankfully, not greasy – a problem that plagues many a homecooked green bean.
We really struggled on the dessert decision. We’d opted to share our dessert (a mistake!) and had way too many delicious pie options. Not only did they have several different types of pie, but the very nice people at Big Momma’s also gave us the choice of ordering a piece of pie out of the front cooler or from a fresh-from-the-oven batch.
After much debating, we picked a slice of fresh-from-the-oven chocolate cream pie. The meringue was impossibly high. And, because they are the nicest people on the planet, Big Momma’s gave us a slice of our second choice, coconut cream pie, to enjoy.
It was delicious. And it also meant that I didn’t really have to share. And the slices were so big that because I didn’t really share, I actually ended up eating about 1/3 of a full size pie by myself.
I don’t care.
Would we go back? Yes.
Would we make a special trip to Sanger to go back? Yes.
Would I make a special trip to Sanger to buy an entire pie? Definitely yes.