Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prescott's Broadway Railroad Cafe: Lost in time

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

AT THE COUNTER:  Inside Prescotts Broadway Railroad Cafe.
  • Kat Robinson
  • AT THE COUNTER: Inside Prescott's Broadway Railroad Cafe.
Somewhere in the shuffle of last year’s big breakfast piece, I forgot to come back to a little place in Prescott I was meaning to tell you about. I mentioned I’d stopped there on my way down to Magnolia to get a Spudnut. My bad.

I revisited the Broadway Railroad Café (huh, the name’s different!) on my way back from my Texas trip a few weeks ago. We were needing some sustenance and had been on the road six hours, arriving around nine in the morning.

Now, I’d told the hubster about the place, and Hunter thought the idea of being by a railroad was cool. So we park, go in — and there’s no one inside. Really. It was very odd.

Well, they were there, just out back. I went back to the kitchen and called out and soon we had service. We wiped the bleary out of our eyes over beverages (coffee for the hubster and myself and milk for Hunter) and figured out what we were going to eat.

I noticed that what I’d ordered last time around was no longer available. That is, the meat item. See, I was there back in August of last year, doing research on the story. I was meaning to drive all the way to Magnolia, but I was really hungry and there was breakfast involved.

That morning I ordered a short stack of pancakes with a side of turkey sausage — which was on the menu at the time. Problem was, it’d been so long since someone had actually ordered turkey sausage that they didn’t have any in the restaurant. I settled for a ground beef patty to go along with my flapjacks. And it was a good first breakfast.

This time around, I knew I wanted pancakes and some eggs too. I knew what to expect from the pancakes. The ones at the Broadway Railroad Café are fluffy and sweet even before the syrup. They’re thirsty pancakes, too — and that dollop of butter is just enough to get the pancakes going for me.

Expertly cooked eggs, that I didn’t photograph for some reason. Over easy. I wanted over easy. Shoulda ordered toast — they were really runny! But the pancakes sufficed. Most pancakes wouldn’t have.

The hubster wanted more substantial fare and asked for sausage gravy and biscuits. Gravy is usually just cream gravy, but the cook obliged, creating a very thick sausage gravy served up in a crock along with the two golden biscuits and a side of hash browns. The hubster said the flavor was dead-on right, even though the gravy was almost too thick to spread. A real stick-to-your-ribs meal, for sure.

Of course, the real test was Hunter. We got her a pancake and she did damage. She was in a funky mood and wanted to be fed, which we were willing to do since as I mentioned we’d already been on the road six hours and her schedule was out of sync. And she ate every bit of it.

Thing is, there’s a lot of neat things about the Broadway Railroad Café that go beyond the food. It’s been in operation since 1920, making it one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in the state (Franke’s, I believe, is the oldest since it’s been open since 1913). The décor is certainly train-themed, but a little something more. This is a location frozen in time, with separate dining areas in the old hotel the café is located inside, with old furniture and old décor, neat as a pin and no dust at all but still a memorial to a different time. In a town laid out like a Railroad Crossing sign, it’s a gathering place that deserves a little mention.

I need to go back and have catfish some Friday night. It’s supposed to be some of the best in the state, but I’m never in Prescott around or after dark any more.

You’ll find the Broadway Railroad Café at 123 West 1st Street North (Highway 67) in Prescott. It’s open every day for breakfast and lunch and on Thursday and Friday nights for dinner. (870) 887-8817.

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