Best Lunch Counter

Spencer's Grill

Time stands still at Spencer's Grill. Literally, as the clock (a designated landmark) on the sign outside this old-fashioned diner hasn't worked in who-can-remember-how-long, and figuratively, as walking into this one-room establishment is like stepping into a Thornton Wilder play, or at least a Garrison Keillor short story. Open only from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Spencer's Grill is a classic, slightly Southern lunch counter. The menu (which you read off the wall) is brief: eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, burgers, catfish, pork chops and not much else. Non-sandwich lunch items are referred to as "plate lunches" -- Southernspeak for meals that require silverware (and hence, a plate). Customers are called "sweetie" by the matronly waitresses by the second pour of coffee, while the regulars sitting at the counter perpetually chat about "the playoffs" no matter what season it is. A lovely, lovely bit of Americana.
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