after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Carman’s Country Kitchen: Tied for First …

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t says: We realized that we never wrote about Carman’s! My memory has faded, so this is less a “review”, and more of a summary.

About Carman’s …  It’s this awesome brunch/breakfast spot that’s well south of South. Let me set the scene for you. The place is TINY. It seats about 12 people total. The place is NOT fancy. You drink out of mason jars, and there’s definitely some patio furniture in there. Some people might look around and question the cleanliness because everything looks old – not “vintage” – actual “old”. Then when you do get in there, there’s only four items on the “menu”, i.e. a chalkboard behind the counter …

Yet, people line up out the door on weekends.

Why? Two reasons. The first stems from the service – it’s very personable. Not fake-super-over-enthusiastic, but it feels real – like if your mom and dad opened up a tiny restaurant that they were trying to run, themselves. Servers will not only take your order, but ask your name as well. It’s not unusual for Carman, herself, to come out and chat with guests – she even took our order, once! (She was also doing something on an iPad beforehand – that was definitely weird to see such a modern piece of equipment in such an “old” place.) Also, I’ve heard, even though I’ve never experienced the wait, that they will serve you coffee outside as you wait for your table, looking longingly into the windows at the food.

Number two: It’s that delicious. We’ve only been there twice, but both times everything we ate was wonderful. The pancakes, no matter what Carman’s sprucing them up with (e.g. a fall-themed squash and cinnamon one, a summer-themed peach one) are fluffy and plentiful. No, they aren’t as thick or fluffy as Cochon‘s, but it’s almost made up for by the other things she adds in. g has had an egg dish once and a shrimp-and-grits dish once. The egg dish was fantastic, but I think the shrimp-and-grits changed her life; they were tied with the best grits she had ever had (those made by kp) – so that’s gotta say something. j even joined us once for some sort of weird hot-dog based dish with sauerkraut or something – I don’t know – I didn’t get a chance to investigate, because it was gone in like 90 seconds (maybe one day she’ll fill us in on what she ate) …

What kind of person would go to and enjoy Carman’s?

1) Someone who is totally ok with not knowing what’s on the menu until you show up, and ok with the fact that nothing’s going to be “plain” (e.g. there’s no plain short stack of hotcakes here – it’s going to have a lot of different stuff on top of it or in it).

2) Someone who doesn’t require fancy decor … or sturdy tables/chairs …

3) Someone looking for a plentiful and awesome brunch, even if it does require a trek and quite possibly a wait.

My advice … call ahead. If you call and they say it’s busy, there’s no point in going. BUT – if you call during a weekday, when they are undoubtedly not busy, you can make a pseudo-reservation by telling them your name and number of people and Carman might be able to hold a table for you. But if you do this – don’t be late. That’s just rude. And it’d be extremely awkward sitting in such a tiny place when the owner is right there and thinks you’re rude.

Finally … what would make Carman’s supplant Cochon for our #1 spot for breakfast? That’s tough. Opentable reservations? Closer proximity? Slightly more space so I can take more than 3 people with me? And I know there’s no way my mom would ever like it in there (she likes super clean places). Oh well – I can at least say that Carman’s is my favorite place for weekday breakfast (Cochon’s only open on Sunday)!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

6 August 2010 at 12:02am

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