Sunday, December 25, 2011

At Ida’s Country Kitchen it’s more about the steak than the sizzle

By Mike Shaner
Visiting Montevallo, Alabama can be a little like going back in time.  It’s a quaint little college town where everyone knows everyone. It’s the sort of place where farmers, preachers, bankers, construction workers, and college students all meet for breakfast or dinner to discuss football, politics, and just good ol’ fashioned gossip. The meeting hub of choice is a small family owned diner appropriately named Ida’s Country Kitchen. Ida’s is as much a throwback as the town itself. There is no fancy d├ęcor, no catchy logos, and really no marketing to speak of. Not even so much as a website. What they do have is amazing country food.  Jeffery Ammons, who owns Ida’s Country kitchen prefers to let his food and customers do the talking: “instead of spending money telling people how good our food is, I let the customers tell each other and in turn they get better food at a lower price. The food is going to be good anyway but if I don’t have to spend money telling people about it, I don’t have to pass that cost along to the customer.”  It’s working too, that’s how I found the place. While camping on the nearby Cahaba River I met two fisherman who told me about this “great little catfish restaurant.”  Actually, the second fisherman was quick to clarify that Ida’s country kitchen is far more than a catfish place. He spoke with hungry eyes about a heavy flap-jack breakfast, with a side of smoked ham, and “the best grits in Shelby County.” The next morning at Ida’s I enjoyed the kind of country breakfast my grandpa used to say they don’t make anymore. Light fluffy made from scratch biscuits that were probably more like the one’s your grandma made than your mothers, a bowl of home-made sausage gravy and three whole eggs. The best part was that my wallet stayed almost as full as my belly, total price $4.97!  The meal was so good that I couldn’t resist coming back for lunch. I ordered the special: Country fried Steak with white gravy, cornbread, butter-beans, black-eyed peas, and real country turnip-greens.  I left so completely satisfied that I decided to go for the trifecta. The dinner waitress remembered my name and asked me to “wait just a minute” while she cleared “my table.” I had eaten at this place twice and already had my own special table! I had a T-bone steak, Baked Potato, side salad and a slice of lemon pie for dessert. The Steak was a work of art, seasoned and cooked as though we were at a fine Beverly Hills restaurant. The homemade lemon pie was almost too much to stand, the perfect combination of sweet-tart. I still dream of the soft luscious meringue piled high above the real lemon filling cradled in a crunchy Nilla Wafer crust. The entire atmosphere was delightful. The staff was warm in a way that was just so natural. Ida’s Country Kitchen is Southern hospitality at its finest. The old saying says you sell the sizzle and not the steak. At Ida’s you only pay for the steak and it’s worth every dime.


Ida’s country Kitchen is located at 4781 Hwy 25 Montevallo, Alabama 35115
You can phone in your order by calling (205) 476-8185
There is no website available but you can find them on Facebook here