I occasionally take barbecue-eating trips, but even on those trips it isn’t all about barbecue. I also eat country ham biscuits. See, e.g., here. When we went to eat barbecue in Nashville (“the other Nashville,” as they say in Eastern North Carolina), for our very first meal we headed straight to the Loveless Cafe down in the southwestern extremity of Davidson County. They say the Loveless Cafe is in Nashville, and fairly enough as the Nashville and Davidson County governments have merged, but it’s really in Pasquo, 15 or more miles from downtown.
According to the sign out front, it’s the Loveless Cafe and Motel, but the motel part seems to have been replaced by buildings selling Loveless Cafe stuff — the Ham and Jams Country Store, Outfitters Gift Shop, Shimai Pottery and Gifts, and the Shipping Shoppe. All of those are going concerns because of the biscuits at the Cafe. They are what cause people to beat a paphto Pasquo. The Loveless Cafe biscuits are famous, celebrated in song and story. When Carol Fay Ellison, the Biscuit Lady, went to her reward in 2010, it was national news. I don’t know if they lowered flags, but they should have.
We arrived at about 9:30 am in a light rain, waded through the crowd, and checked in at the hostess stand. We whiled away a 20 minute wait by touring the stores. Once seated, we glanced at the menus and ordered.
Nancy ordered a two egg garden omelet (sorry, we only do three egg omelets) and a biscuit. I don’t have a photo, but it looked a lot like other omelets.
Anticipating a fabulous lunch in a couple of hours, I ordered two eggs with a small country ham and red eye gravy and the hash brown casserole — and biscuits.
(It was I who broke the eggs.)
Now, a small country ham serving at Loveless is supposed to be 3-4 ounces. The manager brought my plate over and apologized that the ham serving was on the small size. It was? He promised to bring over another small piece to get it up to snuff. That was nice. I thanked him and started eating. A few minutes later he brought another plate — a dinner plate — with this:
Meanwhile, as soon as we had ordered, four biscuits materialized on our table accompanied by butter, and three types of jam, blackberry, strawberry, and peach.
The strawberry and peach were very good, but the blackberry jam was a revelation, overflowing with blackberry flavor. How did they do that?
But the biscuits, oh the biscuits. The Loveless Cafe has achieved the Platonic ideal of biscuitness. Or is it biscuitude? And they maintain the ideal, biscuit after biscuit. The Loveless Cafe biscuits have an ethereal quality, and it beggars the imagination the something so light could have so much flavor. And our waitress, Diane, who’s just a very nice person, brought us extra biscuits. I could sit in Loveless all day and eat biscuits. They’d have to wheel me out, of course, but really, would that be so bad?
The omelet? Very good. A nice, generous omelet with nice fresh vegetables, accompanied by a glorious biscuit.
My plate? The eggs were properly runny and the country ham was real country ham, salty and absolutely delicious. If I were to make one suggestion, it would be for them to slice the ham thinner, but it was excellent country ham, a big hit. The hashbrown casserole was just what I expected — lots of potato and butter and cheese and sour cream. Sensational.
The meal with the extra ham and untold biscuits was more than I needed. I got a doggie bag for most of that second piece of ham, and Diane graciously added a couple of biscuits. That took care of breakfast the next morning, and in grand style.
The coffee was good, and you also can buy drinks at the Loveless Cafe, including a Moonshine Mary (in addition to a vodka Bloody Mary), in case someone else is driving. And Loveless also has a supper menu, which you can see here. The world sings the praises of their fried chicken as a sort of chorus to the paeans to the biscuits.
The Loveless Cafe is just wonderful. It’s easily worth a 100 mile drive for the biscuits alone. Two hundred miles, although that would mean getting up awful early. For that matter, Nashville is well worth a visit wherever you are on the face of the earth, and if you’re in Nashville, you need to go to Loveless. It would be a sin not to go eat some of those biscuits. And one of those small servings of country ham.
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