by Kat Robinson
The family dining experience… hometown restaurants that include ads for local businesses on their menu, where trophies and plaques for school sports dangle on walls and there’s sometimes even an item on the menu named after a school mascot. Many of these places bear a lot of merit. Others are simply intown way stations of food, a place to eat when one does not want to venture forth outside of city limits.
Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Greenbrier is a good family sit-down with a wipeboard on the wall advertizing the day’s specials and the choice of vegetables. There’s a cooler case with meringue-piled pies within easy eye distance, tempting from afar. The restaurant is loud with the buzz of conversation and alive with a varying cast of regulars and road-weary travelers looking for a place to light and hover for a bit.
Fortunately, good sustenance can be found in such a location. The restaurant offers a fine selection of breakfast items and dinners. But on one particular Monday, we were craving burgers… big ones, hand patted ones, and we were not disappointed.
More on the jump.
Of course, one of my companions had to choose the namesake burger for the place, the Wagon Wheel Delight ($5.25 with fries). It sounded odd to me, a burger of sour cream, mushrooms, and green onions, but it was indeed a delight and worthy of a place of honor on the menu.
I chose the Cowboy Delight (also $5.25 with fries) and was delighted with a long sesame seed roll filled with plenty of hand patted and seasoned ground beef, Monterrey Jack cheese, and sautéed peppers and onions. I opted out of the offered mustard but ended up with pickle on my burger (also comes standard) but this was not an unwelcome thing. In fact, it gave the burger an unexpected tang that was pretty decent. The accompanying fries were big almost unseasoned planks of hand cut potato that sat up and begged for ketchup.
My other companion was the bravest… going for the Hotty Burger ($4.25 without fries) and adding on an order of onion rings ($1.95). His fat burger patty was smattered with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos and plenty of them. It was fun to watch him start to redden and sweat as he savored the peppery goodness. The onion rings, by the way, were similar to some I have experienced lately where the batter includes what tastes suspiciously like French onion soup mix. Here it works okay in a cornmeal and flour batter with chunks of hand-cut onion sections.
I wanted the pie… I really did… or shall I say my eyes did, because my belly wasn’t having any more of it. Too much food! I was only disappointed when I saw one of the waitresses change a selection on the wipe board from “Ham” to “Country Fried Veal.” THAT would have really been interesting.
Oh, we also tried the squash, and were very happy with the salted and battered deep fried rounds. Within the batter the squash was mush, but good flavored mush.
You’ll find the Wagon Wheel Restaurant on the right side of the road as you head up Highway 65 into Greenbrier. (501) 679-5009.