Friday, May 20, 2011


“Try to serve quality food at a fair price.” That’s a belief of Carl David Weaver, Grandson of Carl Weaver the founder of Weavers Hotdogs. That philosophy has kept Weaver’s in business in the heart of London, Kentucky for almost 70 years. It makes good sense obviously as does another of his business tenets. “Find what you’re good at and stick to it.” Carl is the third generation to now run Weaver’s and you can bet he’ll one day pass the keys to a fourth generation.
The now legendary hotdog stand (restaurant) Weaver’s began it’s life in 1940 as a pool hall. Calvary man Carl Weaver had returned home from the Army and opened up shop on the main street in London. Armed with a $25 chili recipe he purchased from a man headed for Mexico, Carl’s food was as big a hit as were his pool tables. Slowly but surely tables were removed and by the 70’s eliminated all together. A renovation to go full restaurant occurred and Weaver’s hasn’t changed since. Perhaps the greatest compliment a restaurant of this type can receive is when a person tells the proprietor that the food is everything it was when they were a kid. Of course, this usually happens while they’re introducing their child or even grandchild. 

The menu is pretty simple and more or less unwavering. Chili dogs, chili buns (a local specialty), burgers, soup and a few other items. One thing they’re adamant about though, NO FRENCH FRIES.
Of course, as is the norm for an establishment like this a virtual hall of fame covers the walls. Along with the celebrity faces and local sports memorabilia one neat anomaly is the various political posters. Nothing recent either. The faces of local politicians dating back decades are forever enshrined. The small town is both the county seat and is also home to a federal court. You can’t launch a chili bun without hitting a lawyer or politician ‘round these parts.
The chili recipe is a closely guarded family secret. I couldn’t honestly tell you what was in it. The tight chili has such a nice blend of spices they all seem to come together to create one unique flavour.
Most things are made in the small kitchen and are fantastic. Two of my little beliefs are proved correct here too. First of all, if you see a flat top, you’re in business. Secondly, if said flat top (or any cooking station) is in the front window, it’s a lock. You’re in for some great eats.

So let’s have a look at the goodies.

We both had pimento cheese sandwiches. I think I’d have preferred mine toasted but I was given explicit instructions (by you know who) that simply on white bread, untoasted was the southern way. They don’t make this southern medley of mayonnaise, pimento and cheddar in house but that didn’t stop it from being a darn tasty sandwich.
The bacon, cheese burger was of the classic American style. You know the kind I love and this is no exception. Perfectly executed it’s a work of art.
There really is something magical about these S/E hot dog stands. Simple (or even not very good ingredients) cobbled together to produce something very special. This is right there with it. The bun, plain, the dog, nothing special, onions and the secret chili. It’s the chili that makes it work. It just pulls the whole thing together.
When in Rome right?? So when in S/E Kentucky you eat a chili bun. Exactly the same as the chili dog but sans wiener. Sort of like a linear sloppy joe it’s very tasty.

I should add that Mrs. Sippi touted the tea as some of the best she’s ever had.

You can find Weaver’s at 131 N. Main St, London, Ky.

View Larger Map

You can also like them on facebook
 Weaver's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

I had reported that this establishment had closed it's doors. I can happily report that Carl David's nephew Judd has bought, "Spruced up" and reopened it.

Well that’s all for this time. Hope you can join me for some more great food stories in the foodcourt.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good Homecooking

In 1976 Wilhelmina Patterson decided to convert the storage room in the little market she owned to a lunchroom. She probably had no idea at the time that she was giving birth to a local legend. Serving soul food from old family recipes the lunchroom outgrew the storage room and eventually pushed out the market. Converted full time into a cafeteria style restaurant the Kleer-Vu Lunch is now 80 (or so) seats big and jammed just about every day at lunch. They say you can’t get near the place between the hours of noon and 1pm most days.
Now run by her daughter Becca and granddaughter Anita a who’s who of Murfreesboro eat along side the workaday.
Kleer-Vu has, of course, caught the eye of the famous such as Robert DeNiro. Perhaps it was the words of Roots author Alex Haley that meant the most. “I’ve eaten at Maxim’s in Paris, a 5 star restaurant but I would swap it any day to come here and eat. This right here takes you back home.”
The dining room is simple and highly functional. All food is served cafeteria style and even on trays from Decherd Elementry School (‘74 – 75). “Have a good day today and pass it on” is the slogan on the tray. A visit to Kleer-Vu will put you well on your way toward that good day.
 Noted for fried chicken, meat loaf,  pigs feet and chitlin’s  they’re most famous for their hotwater cornbread. An old southern peasant staple seldom seen anymore. You pick your special off the daily white board or from the list of plate lunches behind the counter. Get in line, get served, then find a seat.
Where to begin, it was all so good.
Okay so not all of it was good. The hot water cornbread (front left) was pretty much lost on me. It’s little more than cornmeal and hot water. Some sort of leavening is used and it’s fried not baked. It really doesn’t have much taste. Even used for sopping it wasn’t all that interesting.
The black eyed peas (back right) were terrific. They really didn’t have much of a porky taste nor evidence that pork was used to cook them but all in all, if you like the earthy taste of BEP you’ll like ‘em.
The pinto beans (back left) were really good. Same cooking as the BEP (no pork, etc.) but once again, terrific.
The mac n cheese (front right) was exceptional. As is to be expected it’s the old school style, very creamy and cheesy type.
The country ham was awesome. Not overly salty as country ham can be it did have a great smoky flavour. Just great.
The fried chicken is now my clear cut favourite. Juicy, well seasoned, crispy and fabulous. Everyone I talked to said it’s the best and I could see why.
The chess pie was also excellent. The creamy, custardy “Old South” piece of pie was the perfect cap to a great meal.
Oh and by the way, Mrs. Sippi gave thumbs up on the tea.

You can find Kleer-Vu Lunchroom at 226 S. Highland Ave in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

View Larger Map

Well that’s if for now folks. Have a good day. And pass it on.
 Kleer-Vu Lunchroom on Urbanspoon


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coney Island Battle

No, this is not the Jets and Sharks duking it out on the mean streets of New York City. This fight goes on in the quiet downtown of Detroit. The birthplace and home of the Coney Island hotdog. Founded by brothers two Detroit icons boast the city's, nay planet’s best Coneys. The rivalry is as intense as one could imagine between siblings. Customer loyalty is solid as the bricks and mortar from which the restaurants are made. If you’re a diehard fan of one, you do not set foot in the other.

In this corner we have Lafayette Coney Island. The smallish cafeteria feeling restaurant keeps it’s vintage look. The hardworking blue collar town is mirrored in this blue collar setting. The walls are covered in awards and celebrities. Lord Stanley’s Cup has paid several visits.
Layfayette’s claim to the best Coneys in town is bolstered by Detroit Free Press and Click On Detroit polls. Runaway victories in both.
In the other corner we have American Coney Island. The older, bigger brother that seems to get more attention. Star of television it has more seating and much more square footage. The brighter, more modern interior reminds one of a carnival.
Padding their resume is national TV victories on Travel Channel’s Food Wars and FTV’s Food Feuds.
Both establishments serve Vienna style, natural casing dogs, done up on a flat top and served on steamed buns. Topped with chili and a host of garnishes.

The rules were simple. Both dogs were ordered identically, “With everything.” That means the dog on a bun with chili, onion and mustard.

The Lafayette dog seemed to spend a little bit more time on the flat top and as such the skin developed a little more taste.
The ACI dog seems to have had a slight bit more chili and a little more snap.
All in all, I really couldn’t tell a difference. It’s not surprising really. The two establishments were, after all, founded by brothers. Brothers who once worked together. To suggest that the chili recipe is the same is not at all a stretch.
Mrs. Sippi gave the nod to Lafayette since they serve Coke products and ACI serves Pepsi. I’ll give the nod to ACI with it’s more airy interior. Not exactly a way to judge a Coney contest but IMHO in the end, everyone’s a winner here. You just can’t go wrong with either.

You can find the Coney Island battle ground on W. Lafayette Blvd at the intersection of Griswold Ave. in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

View Larger Map
American on the web or on facebook here and Lafayette here.
ACI: American Coney Island on Urbanspoon
Lafayette:Lafayette Coney Island on Urbanspoon

Well that’s all for now fight fans. See you next time in the food court.