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.

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


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