When Leslie and I were on our way to Holly Springs for Graceland Too, we stopped in New Albany for lunch.
We were so taken with downtown:
…the gorgeous verdigris on top of the Union County courthouse:
We shopped at Van Atkins Jewelers — I’ve seen their ads a hundred times in Mississippi Magazine, and before getting her degree, Leslie worked at a locally-prestigious jewelry store so she knows and loves good pieces. We were pretty impressed with their estate jewelry, but a little bewildered that even in this small town, they buzzed us in rather than having open doors for everyone (maybe that’s for their insurance policy). They were nice to us, but all three of the saleswomen spoke unkindly together about an absent customer. Oh, Van Atkins, I really-really wanted you to be sweet and wonderful…
We also had mixed results at Sugaree’s Bakery, another place I’ve seen in MS Magazine. The caramel cake I brought home for our usual Shabbat (Friday evening) supper wasn’t as terrific as I wanted it to be, but they made gorgeous iced sugar cookies. Ah, well.
The whole little town was cute, cute, cute though.
Leslie is a believer with me about no chain restaurants. Since it was lunchtime, we joined the locals for a dough burger at Latham’s Hamburger Inn:
I’ve talked before about doughburgers / slugburgers / breadburgers / Dudie burgers / Johnnie burgers (and have even made a somewhat incomplete Google Map called the ‘slugburger trail‘ (sounds delish, I know!)) but if this is new information to you, they’re hamburgers mixed with an extender like flour, crackers, breadcrumbs, soy, etc., developed around the Depression-era, to make meat go further. They’re a regional dish, from north-central Alabama to south-west Tennessee, and north-east Mississippi.
I even got an email last week from someone working on improving the Wikipedia entry on slugburgers. Last year, I was talking with my friend Amy Evans from the Southern Foodways Alliance about maybe them doing their own Slugburger Trail, especially when there was talk about Penn’s in Decatur closing, and she went over and did an oral history with them (I’ll put the clip below).
Like many things, some people hate slugburgers, some people love them, and there aren’t too many people in the middle. I love them and turns out Leslie loved this one, her first, here. The burgers come with a side so I chose tater tots for whatever reason, and those were the best tater tots in Creation. I loved that we got to help ourselves to small-bottle Cokes from an old store cooler chest too.
These swivel stools that we sat at, at the counter, are from the old Stagg’s Hamburgers which was in an old trolley car:
…and this I took with my iPhone, but how about this old National cash register, with that great hand pointing to the amount due!? …and that message about how the money has to be in the register…
What a great place.
Dr. Franklin Penn – C. F. Penn Hamburgers from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.