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Thread: Regional dives

  1. #16
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  2. #17
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    Here in Cortez FL, where we stay 3 months of the year, a place called Star Fish Company is our go-to. Cash only, picnic tables outside and on the dock, no inside seating. You order at the bar, no wait staff except the busboy. Owner also oversees the local commercial fishing fleet and distributor. They only do whole fish, and can store a million pounds in their freezer. Anyway this little restaurant, if you can call it that, has the freshest seafood available. Everything is served in a box.

    https://www.starfishcompany.com/star...pany/rest.html
    NOW you tell me...

  3. #18
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    So, I came here expecting to talk about coral reefs and shipwrecks! Ohhhh- it’s that kind of dives! We have lots of those. Gladys’ Cafe’ is probably the most notorious, although actually food trucks are a huge thing here. That’s where you get real local food like pate’, roti, goat water, ox tail soup, kallaloo, and stew chicken. Many of these trucks are permanent fixtures with porches and shelters built around them. I am not sure they even have engines.

  4. #19
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    There must be a hundred BBQ joints in KC, from upscale to fast food to hidden gems in strange locations. In KC, its not so much pulled pork, mostly brisket, chicken, ham and pork ribs. We have a big BBQ contest every year so it encourages amateurs to open their own restaurants. Two interesting ones are Joes KC, which is inside a gas station, and Woodyard BBQ. That one is an actual wood yard, where they have piles of various seasoned wood that they sell to the other BBQ restaurants for smoking.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    My last dive trip the wife had a business thing in San Antonio, I guess 2018 or so, we were there for a week. While she was in powerpoint presentations I was running around central Texas trying BBQ. The wife let me check a cooler as one of my checked bags, it weighed 48 pounds when I checked it for the flight home.

    If I only had time to go back for two I would pick the South Side Market in Elgin Texas, and Two Brothers BBQ on the north side of San Antonio. I did not have any bad BBQ and I am not trying to start a fist fight or a flame war. Those are the two I would pick. Driving around on country roads with beef cattle grazing under the live oak trees they will get cooked on later, hard to screw up, sort of like salmon and alder. Freshness is essential.

    Instead of Franklin's we took a son who was living in Austin at the time to some shi-shi place that was pretty good. A James Beard winner or contender, not a dive.
    If you haven't had it next time you are in Austin try Stiles Switch Barbeque. It is really good and some say it is "The best barbeque you don't have to stand in line to get."

  6. #21
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    Not a particular cuisine but in Austin, just anything in sold in a food truck is popular. I also think it is a great way to get into the food business without all the upfront capital. Quite a few food truck owners have moved on to brick and mortar stores after perfecting the menu -- Franklin's Barbeque being the most famous. It is a great way to build a good following before making the big investment as well.

    While I am not a food truck fan I do think the best tacos in town can be bought from a trailer on the side of the highway.

  7. #22
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    I'm glad you brought up food trucks, John. They are definitely local businesses almost all the time and many of them are really creative. They also have the latitude to focus purely on the food, rather than spending time and money on "ambiance", so it's truly a chelf-led and focused endeavor.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by John Goodin View Post
    Not a particular cuisine but in Austin, just anything in sold in a food truck is popular. I also think it is a great way to get into the food business without all the upfront capital. Quite a few food truck owners have moved on to brick and mortar stores after perfecting the menu -- Franklin's Barbeque being the most famous. It is a great way to build a good following before making the big investment as well.

    While I am not a food truck fan I do think the best tacos in town can be bought from a trailer on the side of the highway.
    If you're interested in movies, take a look at the 2014 movie "Chef" which is about a chef who leaves a restaurant and opens a food truck. Sofia Vergara is the female lead so even if you don't like the story, you'll enjoy the visuals.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #24
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    Kalamazoo Mi.'s downtown location of Coney Island hot dogs fits the "dive" description. Store has been passed down for a couple of generations, all who have resisted the tendency to "modernize" the interior. Original tin ceilings, original booths, original tile floors add to the old time charm and ambience. Coney sauce is a highly protected family recipe and served on Michigan's Koegel Vienna hot dogs. Sooo much better than the chain restaurant fare offered in every city.

  10. #25
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    So many of my favorite dives have closed over the years. This was even before the 'Dumpster Fire' we call 2020.

    In Berkeley, CA there was a little hole in the wall down an alley across from campus called the Pizza Haven. My favorite was their spaghetti dinner; salad, garlic bread and spaghetti. It closed back in the 1970s. There was another place across campus called LaVal's Pizza. At various times there was entertainment in the basement.

    In Point Richmond was a little place called Jumbo's. My favorite was the ham & cheese omelet. My recollection is of many times having an omelet with potatoes, toast and coffee for a total of $2.72 + tip. The hamburgers were also great. The biggest problem was the owner Betty had a big heart and made many meals for people who couldn't pay. Many of the local politicians and other luminaries came their to eat and chat. it was as much a social scene as it was greasy spoon restaurant. Betty was the owner and cook. Shirley was the dishwasher, cashier and waitress who didn't write down the diner's orders.

    Another one that started out a little down the highway from Point Richmond was Jo Ba Ja's. Three sisters Joan, Barbra and Janet had a bar/restaurant on the highway between Marin County and California's north coast and Oakland, California. It was in the middle of the Richmond harbor area. As times changed the area had some renovations that made them move to the middle of Richmond. Years later they moved again to El Sobrante. Their El Sobrante location was next to where my parents at one time had their furniture & appliance store. In those days, the mid 1950s into the 1970s, there was a family type restaurant connected to a bar called DiGeorgio's. My dad took me there once for lunch. After that the establishment changed hands and became Casa Del Sobrante. This caused me to laugh almost every time when driving by. It made me question if anyone ever told the owner that El Sobrante meant 'the leftover' or refuse.

    The original owners decided to sell. Janet had passed on many years earlier and they were getting too old to run the business. The new owners did well for a few years until the cook and head waitress (the owner's - husband and wife) had a knock down drag out fight during the middle of business and both walked out. That was the end.

    The other way down the road was a burger place called Johnny Mac's. The burgers were cooked on an open flame. Customers would put the toppings on their own burgers. There were pinball machines. One of my recollections was a cigarette machine with a price of 23 by the coin slot. Each pack of smokes had 2 inserted inside the cellophane. Imagine having that job and people actually caring that much about 2.

    At the end of the road was an old truck stop. There was a little place with about six stools called Giant Hamburger. They ended up growing into a chain through parts of the East Bay from Berkeley to Pinole. To the best of my knowledge they are still going.

    When we were looking for our retirement home we ate at many little dives up and down the west coast. Some deserved return visits. Others deserved a visit from the local health department.

    There was one place we always liked to stop at in Eureka, California called the House of Omelets. Looking at Google Maps it appears it may no longer be there.

    Kountry Kitchen south of Portland on I-5 is another business to disappear without a trace.

    Locally we still have Stuffy's II. This is an interesting place to dine. The theme is kind of mid-1950s. There is a Marylin Monroe life size figure with what looks like the scene from Seven Year itch where she is standing over a vent.

    Marylin Monroe - Seven Year Itch.png

    Found a page of images from Stuffy's II > Stuffy's Images

    There is also a House of Omelets in Longview. Though it is likely independent of the Eureka establishment. We ate there once and noticed everyone there was very much overweight. The food was good and abundant. We have not been back.

    A place we have also eaten at a few times is the Pancake House. Small place average food.

    During my days as a field technician there were many great places to stop and eat. It would surprise me to find some of them still in business with the same people.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 11-26-2020 at 4:00 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #26
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    We had a dive in Wellington Oh where the regulars would not give up their seats for anything. There was a fire in it and the regulars just kept eating and only the volunteer fire fighters had to leave to come back and fihgt the fire.

  12. #27
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    Not a dive per se but Barney Greengrass on Upper West Side has a very old school stuck in time NYC restaurant feel to it. Very little has changed about the place since they opened in 1908.

    https://www.barneygreengrass.com

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    In Berkeley, CA there was a little hole in the wall down an alley across from campus called the Pizza Haven. My favorite was their spaghetti dinner; salad, garlic bread and spaghetti. It closed back in the 1970s. There was another place across campus called LaVal's Pizza. At various times there was entertainment in the basement.
    La Val's has actually expanded and added locations to Alameda and Albany. Original Berkeley location is right near one of my fave places, Top Dog.

  14. #29
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    Must be an acquired taste...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    If you're interested in movies, take a look at the 2014 movie "Chef" ... even if you don't like the story, you'll enjoy the visuals.

    Mike
    Dunno Mike...

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post
    La Val's has actually expanded and added locations to Alameda and Albany. Original Berkeley location is right near one of my fave places, Top Dog.
    Top Dog was one of my favorite places for dinner when working in Berkeley. The Calabrese is my all time favorite.

    They do mail order and every once in a while it occurs to me to order about five or ten pounds of Calabrese to freeze.

    Another of my favorite places in Berkeley was Cancun. Their chorizo burritos were wonderful. They also had about thirty different types of salsa at the self serve salsa bar. Candy used to love their carne asada burritos when we ate there.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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