I’ve been hearing about Babe’s Chicken Dinner House for years, and every time I drive to Dallas I plan to eat there for lunch on my way down. But then I remember, usually about the time I cross the state line, that the location I pass off I35 isn’t open for lunch on weekdays. And then on Sundays when I’m leaving, I’m not hungry. I didn’t even really think about going there on my last trip a few weeks ago, because I knew I would run into the same issues. Until Friday night when we went to dinner at Inzo, and it was literally 50 yards from Babe’s. Once I realized how close it was to Joni’s house, no chance I was missing out on my opportunity to go there. So that Sunday morning, instead of eating a big breakfast, I ate just a little, went to Central Market for about an hour, and was then hungry.
I should have remembered about the church crowd. When I pulled up, there were a ton of people outside waiting. I thought about driving to the Sanger location, which was on my way home anyways. But what if it was just as crowded, and at that point I’m absolutely starving. So I just decided to go and tough it out. Good call, because I was seated within 10 minutes.
The Roanoke location is the original. And that was another reason I waited there. There’s no waiting area inside, so they set up all kinds of old chairs along both sides of the sidewalk. I forgot to take a picture, but found this one online
Every inch of the inside is packed. There’s about 60 tables, and not much room at all to walk around. Luckily my table was along the aisle so I had free in and out. It’s a very old building, with lots of cool signs on the wall. One of my favorite parts was wood boards hanging from the ceiling with the names of former employees and when they worked. It’s called their “Roost of Honor”. Absolutely love this idea
When I told the server it was my first time there, she gave me a list of “Babe’s Facts”, “Menu Truths” and “Definitions of Health Terms”. A few of my favorites:
- The tables & chairs have all come from other restaurants & homes
- “Exactly 24 Hours” = anywhere from 8 to 30 hours
- Labor pain = getting hurt at work
Babe’s is very much like Eischens, where everything is family style, the menu is small, and the portions are big. Chicken or chicken fried steak, unlimited rolls, salad, creamed corn, mashed potatoes and gravy. I did like that you could get just a half a chicken here. Because I really wasn’t fired up about having all that chicken in my car for a 4-hour drive home in the summer heat. I wish Eischen’s would do that. I noticed the massive portions of sides as I waited for my food, but thankfully they have smaller portions for smaller groups.
The biscuits were homemade, served warm, and delicious. Of course I had to put butter and honey on them. When in Rome right?
The salad was just lettuce & vinaigrette. My server brought extra dressing because there’s “just a little on the salad”.
She and I clearly have very different ideas of what a little means. But it was still good and the dressing had very good flavor. I would say they should add more salady-stuff, but in reality that would just fill you up.
The creamed corn was simple and delicious. The mashed potatoes were really creamy, and the gravy was very good. I normally never do gravy, but really liked it here.
The chicken, of course, is the star of the show. It came out screaming hot and perfectly fried. I love the thick coating. And the chicken was so tender. I ate the leg and thigh, my favorite parts.
I’ve said it on this blog many times that I’m not a fan of white meat chicken because it’s usually too dry. And I’m not a fan of leftovers. But I wasn’t leaving all that chicken to go to waste. So I wrapped it up as much as I could, and put it in the trunk. And the next night I had the rest of the chicken for dinner. It was just as good as fresh. I heated up the wing, but ate the breast cold. It’s so big I was afraid it would dry out trying to re-heat it.
Will I go back? No question. But it will only be an occasional treat.