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Favorite WILLIE MAE Stories

Bluegrass Grill in Chattanooga
This was the very first review I did as ‘Willie Mae’ We didn’t know at this time, that ‘she’ would be a hit and her reviews would turn more into humorous entertainment and a fun three-year ride.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Walking into the Bluegrass Grill  gives you a feeling of Old Kentucky. With a mountain mural painted on the wall and bluegrass music playing over the speakers, I observed the wooden flooring that reminded me of an old church. There were also bench pews along the side walls that served as booth seating where tables were placed. Tables in the center were spaced out comfortably and a pine bench for waiting by the door.

The restaurant isn’t that big and at lunch time you may have to wait. I arrived a few minutes before lunchtime and was seated immediately. I went up to the counter and a young man led me to a table that he hurriedly cleaned off for me as he conducted a phone conversation on his cell phone which I am sure was a business call – probably with the chef in the back, wouldn’t you think?

Seated on the long church pew against the wall, I shared the bench with a gentleman at the next table.

I was given a menu as I asked for coffee and water. The restaurant serves breakfast all day and that was what I wanted. I was impressed with the menu choices. I knew immediately what made my mouth water – the Alderwood Smoked Salmon Frittata with herb-creamed cheese for $8.25. I wasn’t sure what a frittata was but I felt the price was reasonable for salmon. My coffee cup was not generic or plain but was personal, advertising a local church’s men’s seminar. It was good coffee.

As I waited for my order, I noticed the gentleman beside me had a fidgeting problem with his leg which made sipping my coffee a wee bit challenging.

I didn’t realize when I ordered the frittata, that I had choices of more food. I felt the frittata would be enough but the waitress asked me if I wanted a biscuit or toast and if I wanted home fries, grits or fruit.

I chose a biscuit and grits, still not certain what a frittata was I hoped that my choice would complement my surprise dish. Oh, I could have asked what a frittata was but I didn’t want that to sway my decision in ordering something I had never tried. Someday, I’d like to go into a restaurant and say, “Oh just surprise me!”

I saw hot sauces on my table which I was curious about. They were Bluegrass Grill’s own sauces. I looked at each one, “Garlic Habanero Sauce”, “Chipotle Sauce” and “Smokey Mountain Sauce”. I decided that whatever a frittata was, I would try a dash of one of these sauces with at least one bite!

My meal was brought to me and boy, did it look delicious! Though the grits looked a little sloppily served in the bowl on my plate. I noticed the fresh dill right away on my flat egg and fish dish. A frittata must be an “egg pancake”. It was a thin pancake-style egg with the salmon cooked in. The dill topped it off perfectly. I noticed the biscuit was made with wheat. I like wheat toast but had never tried a wheat biscuit before. It was good! The texture, the flavor, I think I prefer it!

Of course, the grits needed salting for my taste and the salt shakers on the table made you work for it. I didn’t want to disturb the gentleman next to me and get him off rhythm if I shook the shaker too hard.

The grits were very good though, or as one of my friends had told me – they are “glorious”.

When I tasted the frittata, I had to savor it for a little while. The flavors were so good together. Dollops of herb-creamed cheese were on top which blended so nicely with the dill and alder wood smoked flavor of the salmon.

I tried the Smokey Mountain Sauce that was on the table on a bite of the frittata and it was very good but I liked how the chef prepared it best and no salt or any condiment was needed. Grits always need salt to me, but as for the frittata – it was perfect.

I noticed the lunch crowd was coming in and a few people had to wait to be seated. A new set of gentlemen came to sit at the table near me. I hoped the one on my pew didn’t have a shaking leg. He said aloud, “I know what I am going to have – the salmon. My wife has me eating all this healthy food.” As I had surveyed the menu before ordering; he or anyone certainly would be able to have many choices for healthy eating.

I enjoyed this restaurant from the moment that I walked in. I liked the atmosphere, the food and the prompt service. And the price for a beautiful salmon dish with sides couldn’t be beat!

Meo Mio’s in Chattanooga
This was a favorite I had done with my son Nathan who played Willie Mae’s son  ‘Jack’. I wrote these stories as they happened and only made the characters fictitious. They were so fun to write.
Written Tuesday, July 3, 2012 
My son took me to Meo Mio’s. I had heard a lot about them. I remember watching that ol’ Cajun chef, Justin Wilson, from years ago. I loved how he would say, “Its wondermos, I gar-on-tee”. I don’t like boiled or stewed okra so I never really ate Cajon (thinking that Cajon meant gumbo) but I do like spicy.

When we walked in it was mid-day and very hard to adjust to the lighting. They keep it very dark in there. The first thing I spied was a large statue of an old favorite – Louie Armstrong!

I saw a stage where they must have bands that play. I saw a bar and also loft seating upstairs. This seemed to be a ‘happening place’ if you are there in the evening, I am sure.The ceiling fans did not have blades. They looked like white wall tires spinning around on the ceilings. I guess the fan part was encased – I like that idea, a much cleaner style fan to have in a restaurant hovering over your food.

My son saw that they had gator tails. He had never had them. I told him we had to get some for an appetizer! They were $8.49. I wanted the “Kiss My Shrimp and Grits” but instead I ordered the Crawfish Julie over Tilapia – mainly because I saw grape tomatoes on the side as a garnish in the picture. It was $16.99 that would be dinner and lunch for me since it was in the middle of the afternoon. My son ordered a sandwich from the lunch menu – the Buffalo Shrimp Po’ Boy for $7.99

The gator tails came and it took me back to my Florida trips when I had first tried gator tails. They were tender and succulent! I asked my son what he thought and he said, “Taste like chicken”. He liked them.

When my meal arrived, I was a little disappointed to not see the grape tomatoes and greenery garnished on the side as it showed on the menu. But the rest of the meal looked very caloric! Rich and smothered in sauce.

My po’ son tried to man-handle his Po’ Boy, but the shrimp kept falling out. He was having a time trying to keep it all intact. He said it would be more enjoyable and easier to eat if they scooped out a place in the bread for the shrimp or if they left one side of the hoagie closed. Chicken or other meat fit on a hoagie nicely, but shrimp do not! He thought he was going to have to eat it with a fork. His fries looked good; very potato-y and not greasy.

My meal was a bit bland. Under the rich sauce were the tilapia and a bed of rice. There was nothing special about the rice and there were no extra spices or kick. It was good, I just expected different coming from a Cajun spicy place.

Then I looked up at my son and his eyes were wide as he was trying to blink away tears of heat! Bless his heart. I could tell he was trying not to sniff, but that the spicy Po’ Boy was getting to him. It must have been the buffalo sauce. He was making such a big deal over how spicy it was that I had to try a bite. He let me have a piece on my plate to try. That was what I should have ordered!

Now that was spicy! I believe it even fogged up my glasses when I breathed out. I think I liked the gator tails and that bite of the Po’ Boy more than my meal. I just expected more kick and less froo-froo with all that creamy sauce smothering the flavor of the food. There were no distinct flavors that popped out in that meal. I’m no critic; this is just Willie Mae’s opinion. If you want spice – order a Po’ Boy when you try out this restaurant.

As I watched my son fighting the tears I couldn’t help but to think “Po’ Boy”.

The Blue Plate – “It Tastes Like Chicken!”

This story was when I brought my Mama with me and added her as a character named “Lois” who would be Willie Mae’s long-time friend. Mama was so funny. She really made our stories funny, as I wrote them just as they happened!
Written on Friday, December 28, 2012
My friend Lois and I were out and about early and neither of us had eaten breakfast but it wasn’t quite lunch time. I suggested that we try somewhere that served breakfast so we headed over to a place I had been told about called Aretha Frankenstein on Tremont Street.

Lois never goes downtown anymore and she has no idea what restaurants are available. Sometimes I think that we are the blind leading the blind!

When we found the address, Lois got nervous. There were old houses that didn’t look very well-taken care of. Lois thought it looked rough. The restaurant itself looked like one of the houses. If it weren’t for the sign – we wouldn’t have known it was even a public place. We knew why they named it Frankenstein. I told Lois that I at least wanted to take a peek and we could leave if she wanted.

Once inside, there was barely enough room to sit, plus all the tables were taken. Lois was relieved when I told her we’d go somewhere else, but I am always game to try something different. As we were getting in the car a man across the street was cutting wood and I teased, “Hurry Lois, that man’s got a chainsaw!” I don’t even think she heard the words I was hollering, but she sure did get in the car fast.

We headed towards Chestnut Street. I had never tried the Blue Plate and I knew we could get breakfast there. Lois liked the looks of this place. Once we looked at the menu we both decided that we really didn’t want breakfast so we decided on an early lunch.

We saw the “Buttermilk Fried Chicken” for $13.25 and spoke of our mothers’ fried chicken they used to fry up. On the back of the menu I had noticed that this place supported farms or got some of their ingredients from local places.

I had bought a chicken at the Farmer’s Market from River Ridge Farms before and I assumed that the chicken came from there since they listed the farm on their menu. You can really tell a difference from the chicken at the store and a farm fresh chicken! Lois and I both ordered it with the whipped potatoes but she got turnip greens and I got the grilled green beans.

We were served our meals with creamy gravy for the chicken and brown gravy for the potatoes. Neither of us liked gravy on our chicken, but being the one that would write about it, I wanted to try it.

The chicken was wonderful and there was no need for the side gravy, but it did have a good flavor together for those that like gravy on chicken. The potatoes were farm fresh too and my green beans were grilled perfectly! Our meal was scrumptious! The little corn muffins were on the sweet side; I expected that. I have only found one place so far that makes the buttermilk cornbread I like and that is in Ooltewah at Countryside Café. I tasted a sweet flavor a little different in this cornbread though; I got a closer look and knew why I wasn’t fond of the muffins… it had corn. I hate corn, but a lot of folks might like that little touch. Lois liked it.

The one thing Lois and I had both agreed on – the chicken was too salty. If they backed off the salt just a bit, either in the breading or on the chicken, it would have been perfect.

Lois wanted that hot, vinegar-pepper sauce to put on her turnip greens. We were going to flag down a waitress, but a man behind the counter heard us talking and brought us the exact thing she wanted.

I was a little jealous because I didn’t have anything that I would put hot sauce on.

After our meal, Lois wanted to share a coconut pie for $3.50 for dessert. I think it came from the Bluff View Bakery. I was trying to be nice and let Lois eat on the pointy side where most people start and I got a bite from the other end. She snapped, “You’re going for the good part!” The end I was eating from was the wide end and she still had room to eat on the other side.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner and good food … really good. If you have never tried fresh and delicious at Blue Plate, go visit them and tell them Willie Mae sent you.

Aretha Frankenstein’s – Not Scary After All

This story also had Mama in it. This was a conclusion sort of, from the previous one a few weeks later. My Mama made me laugh so much and Willie Mae fans loved Lois just as much! I miss Lois.

Written on Sunday, February 24, 2013

It has been in my mind to try Aretha Frankenstein’s on Tremont Street ever since Lois and I had visited it when it was too busy (and Lois was scared). We ended up going to Blue Plate Diner (who happens to sell Aretha Frankenstein’s pancakes). I knew I would probably have to go without my dear, scaredy-cat friend but then I got to thinking…

Lois and I have been friends since we both attended City High School and I knew a long time ago that if I was ever going to talk her into something; I had to keep just my mouth shut! I had to just drag her and tell her after we were already doing it.

Lois can be a little shy so when she got in the car and I did not ask her where she wanted to go; she kept quiet and just went along for the ride. We passed over the water and Lois seemed to enjoy the scenery. When we turned onto Beck Avenue, Lois hollered out, “I know where you are taking me! We’re going to that place I didn’t like!” 

By the time she figured it out, I parked the car heading downhill in front of Aretha Frankenstein’s. Lois looked as if I betrayed her. I like to think I am a pretty sweet lady most of the time, but I couldn’t help laughing. I did what I have always done with Lois and told her to ‘just come on and watch your step’!

Lois followed along quietly and, when we got inside, she didn’t seem to be as afraid. They were not as busy as last time when there were people standing at the door waiting for a table and we were told to take any seat we’d like. There were four tables and a bar with monster barstools. Well, they weren’t really monsters. I feel as though I should clarify since the name could make you assume – they were just BIG!

We chose a table to the left and right away Adrianna gave us menus and took our drink order. Adrianna was ‘cool’. She had what youngsters call “ink” on her neck and she even had those weird ear things that stretch out your ears, but she was a pretty girl and had a wonderful personality. I do pretty well with ‘going with the flow’ so it didn’t offend me in the least (though, I will not be getting a tattoo myself, anytime soon).

I looked over at Lois and she was taking it all in. None of the chairs matched, the bar was made from beautiful antique wood and, yes, there was a bit of Frankenstein décor on the walls. Lois spied a picture on the wall behind me and said, “Oh, there’s my boyfriend!” I knew they didn’t have a picture of Phil, so I was curious and turned around to see.

Amongst all the weird stuff on the walls, there was a picture of Andy Griffith! I kid you not!  I had hoped that would make Lois more comfortable.

When we asked Adrianna about the food, she explained what they offered but she was very flexible to tell us we could ask for things we didn’t see in the choices. She was so pleasant and helpful.

Lois ordered Eggs & Bacon for $6.95 with a biscuit and, even though we didn’t see gravy on the menu – Adrianna told her she could have gravy too. I ordered a sandwich because it was late afternoon and I already had that in my mind. I got The Marilyn for $7.45 and, instead of chips, Adrianna said I could have the potatoes that they serve with breakfast. This place was so accommodating!

After ordering, Lois was still looking around and she said with a smile, “They really don’t have to worry about maintenance here, do they?” as she looked at the odds and end antique furnishings (I am sure they follow code, they just decorated with old eclectic things). Lois was really being a good sport and I could tell she was trying to ‘be cool’ with it all. Then Lois whispered, “Do you have your hand stuff?”

I handed her my sanitizing gel and our food arrived. Lois dropped all her inhibitions when she saw her breakfast just the way she liked it! After the waitress left, I whispered, “Wait, Lois! Let me get a picture!” She had her fork and knife in hand and was ready to dig in! Her biscuit was the biggest one I had ever seen and the apple-wood bacon was the first thing she grabbed and started making her yummy noises. She said her eggs were perfect.

My sandwich was hoagie-style and it not only looked delicious –  it smelled delicious! I was thrilled knowing that their food would be a hit! I really hate to say bad things about a place so I love it when I can sing the praises of good food somewhere. The flavors of The Marilyn blended so nicely – it had salami, honey ham, turkey and Swiss cheese, plus lettuce and tomato! It was a ‘monstrous’ sandwich that I knew I would not be able to finish.

From the time we came, the place began filling up at the bar and the tables. When Lois noticed the other three tables were full, she looked panic-stricken and asked, “Do you think they make you share tables?”

For the most part, I know Lois enjoyed her meal and the whole experience. She was less fearful as we walked to our car and she let out a giggle and said, “You tricked me.”

I giggled too and said, “But as always… it was for your own good”. And this place was good!

Forbidden City – “Taste The Rainbow”

This story was so fun! I never liked buffets (except for Sirloin Stockade in Murray Kentucky) because Chattanooga had so many of them and they all tasted ‘generic’. But, I wouldn’t say this place was generic – it was just weird and Willie Mae tells it like it is!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Call me old-fashioned or just call me old, but I like knowing what it is that I am eating. I think for an opinionated ol’ stick in the mud that I am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying something unfamiliar; but when things don’t look natural, I question it.

When I came to Forbidden City on Gunbarrel Road, I was not sure what it was. It was an ornate building that looked Asian, so I assumed it would be a Chinese or Japanese restaurant. When I was seated, the server asked what I wanted to drink.

She was Asian, sweet and slight with very little knowledge of English. That’s okay; I have learned how to communicate at Chinese restaurants fairly well, but after she took my drink order she said, “You can go to bar.”

I didn’t know I wanted the “bar.” I was never asked. I looked around and I saw several “bars” full of buffet food. Land sakes! I walked into a buffet place and not a ‘menu restaurant’.

Since I apparently had no choice but to eat from the bar, I walked around to each one to see what was offered. One counter had sushi so I decided on that. I went to get me a plate and when I came back, the chef had disappeared. I waited.

When it didn’t look as though he would return to his station, I asked a staff person passing by, “Do we serve ourselves?” He nodded his head yes. I picked up the tongs and selected different sorts of sushi that I had never tried before. None of the trays had the names of what it was. I always wanted to try seaweed salad and they had it in some sort of a ‘food envelope’. There was also a green cone with imitation crab in it and something with tempura batter.

I took my assortments to my booth table to try each one. I had my wasabi so I was set! I had never seen yellow sushi …but with sushi there is a lot I haven’t seen and I am willing to try anything once. It was simple enough with crab, a cucumber-rice mixture and a yellow food-paper wrapped around it (I assumed it was some sort of rice paper concoction, but I wasn’t sure). It was not bad, but it also was nothing special to make me yell, “I love yellow sushi!”

The next piece I tried had a silvery skin on the fish. It was a bit too fishy for me. The skin just sort of slithered its way down my throat. The next color I picked up was pink with seaweed wrapped around it.

It tasted pink.

I don’t know how to describe what pink tastes like, but I tasted pink. I tried the seaweed salad and I liked that part, but the brown food-envelope that it came in was soggy.

When I tried the cone thing I couldn’t chew it. The food paper it was wrapped in was too much like paper. Maybe it was paper, I don’t know. It looked like the rest of their rice or seaweed-based food wrappings, but it tasted and felt like paper. I pretended that I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat ‘the paper’ and stuck my chopsticks down into the cone to dig out the edible part, but it wouldn’t come out. I think maybe I was supposed to eat the paper, but my dentures just wouldn’t do it.

Lastly, I picked up the fried piece of sushi. After eating all of those colors and papers I decided that I needed to know what was inside. I took my chopsticks and opened it up. It had rice inside and in the center it looked like a ball of tar! As I examined it further and realized it had that seaweed wrapping, but it was wrapped around a mushy meat that looked like cat food (or maybe it was the cat). I said that I would try anything once but I decided to leave that one alone.

These smidgen bites of trying sushi left me feeling as if I hadn’t even eaten, so I went to the bar and found mushrooms in brown sauce and I got me an eggroll with spicy mustard.

The mustard was the hottest that I have ever tried at a Chinese place and I liked that! My eyes watered and my nose was running; it did its job! The mushrooms were good and I am sure this place is just as good as the other buffets if you like Chinese buffet food.

When the sweet girl brought me my check, she also had a tiny wrapped mint on the card folder. How nice – I liked the idea of a mint after eating all that paper, but I kind of wanted the expected fortune cookie.

When I looked at the wrapper, it was not a mint. It had a picture of some sort of fruit on it that was green. Hoo boy… more colors. I couldn’t make out the picture because this wrapped piece of hard something was so very tiny. I asked the server what it was and she said, “Is Gwawa”.

 I know the look on my face must have been all wrinkled up with a confused snarl because she repeated herself, “Gwawa… Gwawa” as if that made it better. I thanked her and, after I got to my car, I had to open it up to see what was inside. It was a hard candy shaped bright green pea. No, thank you.

If you are a buffet eater who enjoys the Chinese bars of food, you will probably like it. It was very clean and spacious with many bars of food, but I just left there feeling like I had eaten a bag of skittles… with the bag.

Cheeburger Cheeburger – Don’t Sweat It

This was a favorite because my husband Jason who also played Willie Mae’s son ‘Jack’ really made this funny. His comment about ‘the meat sweats’ came before Progressive Insurance’s “Flo” added it to her commercial. Jason actually ate this humongous burger and lived to tell about it! 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

My son Jack and I met downtown for lunch and he asked if I had ever written a story on Cheeburger Cheeburger. I hadn’t been there, so I was willing to make it a part of my little hobby, but I wasn’t in the mood for a burger.

When we walked in, the floor had a slight greasy film and we had to be careful when we walked. A nice boy led us to a table, but they didn’t have booths. The boy asked if we had ever been there before and explained how it worked and what they had. There was a pretty good selection – it was like a diner.

A cute little waitress named Alexis waited on us. I ordered a chocolate malt  for $4.99 and Jack got a Diet Coke. Alexis brought Jack’s drink, but my malt was still being made so she brought me water while I waited. I thought that was thoughtful.

I saw on the appetizer list that they had fried artichoke hearts for $5.99. For a lady that hardly ate fried food before I started this hobby, I was finding more and more things people will fry that poke my curiosity.

I told her I wanted to try those and then I ordered the grilled chicken melt with fries to share with Jack for $7.59. He wanted to attempt ‘The Pounder’ which was a 20-ounce burger for $10.99. Oh lawd. Alexis asked him if he thought he could handle it and he didn’t even think about it before saying, “Sure.”

Well, I sure thought about it. When I order a steak that is 4-6 ounces I barely can eat it all! Twenty ounces of burger? I didn’t want to see my boy try it. I was left with the memory of him as a little tyke when he wanted to eat his weight in raw broccoli. Knowing it was healthy I let him have all he wanted and, sure enough, he lost every bit of that broccoli all over my new carpet! I reminded Jack of that and he laughed at me and told me his tummy was bigger now and he would be fine.

Sock Hop music was playing and there were a lot of tourists in this place. At the table next to us were a boy with a mohawk and a teenage girl with blue hair. I supposed they weren’t from around here, but you never know these days.

Alexis brought my malt in a tall metal cup and the fried artichoke hearts in a basket. They looked like little alligator paws. Now, I think frying vegetables sort of defeats their purpose, but I love artichokes and thought since it turned out that I liked fried pickles after trying them, that I might like these too.

The malt was so thick I couldn’t drink it right away, so I let it melt a little. I was busy writing down my notes and Jack had already put away a few of the gator paws. I thought I better try one before they were gone. That boy can eat, but he doesn’t get fat. Sometimes I think he has a tapeworm. I was still worried about that enormous amount of meat though. I liked the artichoke hearts, but they weren’t something I would probably order again.

Alexis set my chicken sandwich down in front of me and it looked so delicious. It even had an olive on top. I like that garnish much better than when places give you a flimsy pickle on the side.

Then The Pounder landed on the table and you should have seen Jack’s eyes. They were almost as big as his burger! I don’t think he really thought this through, but it was too late now – the man’s pride was at stake.

I thought my chicken sandwich looked big and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it. Usually, Jack will finish something I may not eat, but I doubted he was going to get through that swamp of meat in front of him.

My sandwich was on rye bread and it was very tasty. I had only had one bite while I was jotting my notes when an alarm went off. The boy that greeted us ran toward the back and I was afraid we would have to exit the building before we finished our lunch, but whatever it was didn’t seem to be a problem.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, but when Jack was half-way through that monstrous burger he wiped his arm and said, “I’m getting the meat sweats.”

I couldn’t eat all of my sandwich, but as I watched Jack put away his burger, I moved the rest of my sandwich over for the waitress to take away just in case my boy found more room in his bottomless pit.

She looked surprisingly at Jack and said, “Alright! You finished it!”  I asked him if he wins a prize and he said, “Yeah, a free stomach-ache!”

The food was very good and this was a fun place. I can see the attraction for families while they are out and about. Alexis wanted to get Jack’s picture and she brought out a hat for him to wear that was shaped like a burger.

I didn’t say a word, I just minded my own business, but I don’t think I’d want that hat on my head if everyone else wears it – especially If they have the meat sweats.

Slick’s Burgers Cuts The Apron String

I almost stopped with ‘the favorites’ after the Cheeburger story, but then I found this gem. I could not read it without laughing out loud and tears filling my eyes. I was laughing from the memory of my dear sweet Mama’s reaction with what happened and also getting misty-eyed that I really miss her. Boy did we have fun! It’s no wonder that I want to keep it going with new Willie Mae stories. And I know I will hear Lois’s voice as I write.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

After the paper clip incident at a previous restaurant I visited, I didn’t expect another incident to happen again so soon.

Lois and I went for a burger at a place called “Slick’s Burgers” on Tennessee Avenue near the bottom of Lookout Mountain. When we got inside, she pulled a fast one on me and said, “Order for me – anything… I don’t care,” and she went and sat down leaving me at the counter. Lois is pretty ‘slick’ herself!

The menu was on a board behind the counter and they had a standing board to the side with the daily specials. I wanted the ‘Fig-goat-about-it’ special that had fig chutney and goat cheese, but it said ‘sold out’ on the sign.

There were so many interesting items listed and I saw the ‘Bob Marley’ burger (but there was no telling what ingredients would be in that one) and since I had to order for Lois I chose the first simple one I saw that was perfect for Lois! I ordered the “Sissy” burger combo for $7. It was a four-ounce burger with fries and a drink.

I found Lois in a booth against the wall and sat down. There was also outdoor seating and an enjoyable view of the mountain.

A nice young man brought our burgers out and they were good. Lois had mustard dripping down her hand, but she said she couldn’t put her burger down or it might fall apart so I grabbed a paper towel from the roll on the table and I swiped at her hand.

Just then Lois put her burger down and started pulling something from her mouth. I thought it was a strand of wilted lettuce or something, but it was a long, green string!

I wasn’t sure what to do and since Lois didn’t seem to mind and kept eating her burger I thought maybe I should not say a word and mind my own business. But then I thought of that other place I visited that had a paper clip in my egg. People need to be more careful and I wanted the restaurant to be aware so I took the paper towel that had Lois’ string on it to the boy that brought our burgers out. He looked shocked and was very apologetic and told the guys in the back.

Then he came back to our table and asked “Just where was the string?” Lois replied, “It was IN MY MOUTH!”

The boy tried not to let out a laugh when she said that but that didn’t stop me – I always laugh at Lois. “I mean,” he said composed, “where on your burger… was it on top or in the meat? Because we grind our own meat here and….”

That was it! I could see how that might happen if they grind their own meat. It looked like one of those industrial threads perhaps from a meat-cutter’s apron that must have gotten caught in the grinder.

The burgers really were good, but I just couldn’t finish mine after that and the boy said they would give us a gift card since we had already paid for our meals.

This place handled the incident much better than that egg place where I found a paperclip in my omelet. I knew I would probably not get to come back again because I visit different places each week, but it is just nice to know that they took this seriously and that they cared about a customer’s return.

Lois finished her burger and she said it was a good burger. We liked this place and it had a good atmosphere. When we got up to leave, the boy came out with a gift card for two burger combos. I handed it to Lois and thought she and Phil will enjoy coming back.

The boy apologized again and Lois jokingly said, “I just kept pulling and pulling and thought I was going to have a jump rope for a minute there.”

I patted her on the back and said, “Well, you needed the fiber anyway, dear.” 

There are many more favorites!

To read the Willie Mae stories from the past, go to and in the search bar, type in “Willie Mae” “Dining” and select the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 to find her stories. 

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