JUST LIKE MY GRANDMA’S GAS STATION
This was only the second time I’ve eaten at Maxine’s. The first was to expose a Jewish New Yorker friend now living in Paris to the southern tradition of chicken and waffles… and this time it was out of guilt for living just down the street and not supporting food diversity so close to home.
The family run restaurant is attached to the gas station at the corner of east and Ohio. Yes, that’s right, I said attached to a gas station. It’s somehow fitting in my mind though to have soul comforting casual food tucked in behind a service station. Go figure.
Both times were on a Sunday for lunch and the place was standing room only. Nicely mixed crowd of people looking for a family meal after church, a rest on their way to the colts game or just looking to tuck in to some smooth comfort food.
We started off with fried corn cakes with peach butter…YUM! They were perfect; slightly carmelized yet spongy, warm and rich. I would have been happy getting three orders for my meal and calling it quits.
I had a tall glass of D&K (half lemonade and half sweet tea) which is served on the sweet side of sugar. I ordered mine with regular tea and lemonade instead and was reminded of a wonderful taste from somewhere in my childhood. It’s something I plan on resurrecting in my adult life.
Although I came in for chicken and waffles I ended up ordering the catfish dinner with a side of grits and fried green tomatoes. The dinner came with three large deep fried catfish fillets in a perfectly thin crispy cornmeal coating. None of that muddy catfish taste or sour fry greese taste on these filets. The fish was clean, fresh and its crust seasoned lightly with a few shakes of classic black pepper, salt and cayenne. The fried green tomatoes were excellent and won my heart. Their hot, sweet, garden green taste will bring me back again. The grits unfortunately were nothing special, They were a huge portion mind you, but a nudge in either the savory or sweet direction from the kitchen would have been helpful.
The wait staff and cooks are friendly, smiling and happy to see you. The food is solid southern home cooking and you’re left feeling like you’ve just had a meal at your southern Grandma’s kitchen table…uh…gas station. The food is what it is…fattening, sweet, fried, inexpensive, friendly comfort food that feels good and tastes great.