Thursday, May 16, 2013

N.C. tastes: Dan'l Boone Inn

How's Sunday lunch at the Dan'l Boone Inn  in Boone? It's almost more than you can say grace over. And since I was eating lunch with my friend The Rev. Canon Beth Ely, an Episcopal priest, I have actual experience. Even the Rev. Canon Beth could barely say grace over it all.

Stopping at the Dan'l Boone Inn on my way back from the mountains has been on my list for years. But I've been scared off by tales of long waits. On a Sunday about a month ago, though, it was raining so hard that I figured even students from nearby App State wouldn't be induced to crawl from their dorm rooms for food. So on the way back to Charlotte from the Episcopal conference center at Valle Crucis, we pulled in at the rangy, white building at Hardin and West King (U.S. 321 and 421, which has got to be the easiest address in the state to remember).

It was so gray and rainy that it was the perfect day for Sunday lunch at a place so homestyle, they can't spare enough letters to spell out "Daniel." Dan'l it is, right down to a display case of historic guns where you stand in line for a table and enough knotty pine to build a 1950s subdivision. If you sit still long enough, you'd get ginghamed.

In the low-ceiling dining room, family groups fill long tables set with lazy Susans and the waitresses wear "Little House"-style dresses with black aprons. You get real china, for heaven's sake.

All of which is sweet, but how's the food? Folks, it is sweet, too. It's served family-style, meaning every table gets the same spread. I was relieved that I wasn't alone, because for $16.95 per person (cash or checks only) you get:

A steaming, cast-iron cauldron of very good, home-style vegetable soup.
Fried chicken.
At the Dan'l Boone Inn, even the breakfast menu is served on china.
Country ham biscuits (2 per person).
Plain, warm biscuits (so you can spread them with the inn's own black cherry jam).
Country-fried steak.
Cooked-to-falling-apart green beans.
Real-tasting mashed potatoes.
Creamy/sweet green coleslaw.
Stewed apples.
A choice of desserts that includes chocolate cake and peach cobbler.
Endless refills of ice tea.

And a gift shop where you can stretch your legs and buy a coon-skin cap before you go.

There are places in North Carolina that never change. Say amen, Dan'l.



Anonymous said...

Ever tried Shatley Springs Inn? Similar place, great breakfast... haven't tried lunch/dinner.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely on Shatley. I did a story several years ago that involved following a country ham through being cured in West Jefferson. One of the (many) best parts was being close enough to make stops at Shatley Springs.