Follow Cheap Bastard as she scours the city, looking for a good -- or at least non-lethal -- lunch for less than 10 bucks.
Old count: 3,846 People I heard ordering "Cereal to go!": 2
In the parking lot, an old dude wrestles with his tennis-ball-footed walker, which is apparently named "Sonovabitch." As he fights the equipment into the trunk of the Cadillac, the woman with the keys and the perfect helmet hair nags him about his temper. The handicapped parking spot that their car is double-parked in is used to this.
Inside Barbec's, the hostess is so nice to me, it seems like she's been waiting for me my whole life. "Well, hey, honey. I like you. I like your smile. You can take a seat anywhere, darlin'." This lady is not a hostess, she's my new best friend. Her greeting was 100 percent actual nice, 0 percent saccharin. This is real Southern hospitality, the kind that existed before Paula Deen trademarked it.
As I take a seat in the back corner of the restaurant, one particularly grandpa-y customer says to me, "This section is only for men."
"Perfect," I reply, without getting up.
He laughs, sips his sweet tea. He's doing that fucking-with-strangers thing that is always best delivered by a gray-haired Texan dude. (Read: When an old dude is a dick, it's endearing. When a young dude is a dick, he's just a dick. And if said young dick dude calls being a dick to chicks "negging," you have my permission to put your middle fingers all the way up his nose while you repeatedly kick him in the nuts.)
Old Man Texas finishes his meal and asks me, "Are you paying for my lunch today, or what?" I quickly figure out that you're never new to Barbec's. You're instantly a regular.
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The chicken-fried steak "daily blue ribon [sic] special" caught my eye, so I ordered that with biscuits, home fries and green beans. Usually, the chicken-fried steak meal is $7.29, but on Wednesdays, it's only $6.99. And, if you buy one chicken-fried steak after 4 p.m., the second one is only $2.99. Blam! I just splooged savings all over your face!!
One bite of their chicken-fried steak, and I was transported to my high-school cafeteria. But, somehow -- not in a bad way. It was just like high-school lunch, including the old dudes in the super high-waisted coach's shorts, plus bacon in the green beans, minus braces, plus better biscuits (I overheard someone call them "rollscuits," which is a perfect description, because they were yeast-y and much less dense than a biscuit).
A lunch that has the power to make me fondly remember high school is a pretty fucking powerful lunch. Get there. And bring some old people. Clearly, they fucking love this joint.