Bear Bites: Cox Cafe

A down-home experience found off the beaten path

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Bear Bites: Cox Cafe

Cox Cafe has been serving cafeteria-style since 1996.

Cox Cafe has been serving cafeteria-style since 1996.

Justin Baxley

Cox Cafe has been serving cafeteria-style since 1996.

Justin Baxley

Justin Baxley

Cox Cafe has been serving cafeteria-style since 1996.

Nick Wooten, Managing Editor

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I had an existential crisis at 694 Lower Poplar St.

The small white brick building along that potholed road seemed like it had been pumping out collard greens and mac and cheese well before my time. But the bright red sign read “since 1996.”

The cafeteria-style service, old round tables and hard plastic chairs didn’t denote quality, but the servers will certainly call you ‘sweetie.’ Cox Cafe understands that sometimes all you need is butter, oil and love.

The GOOD:

Hamburger Steak:

The beef was tender, but it didn’t crumble apart when cut into. The server piled the thick brown gravy over the top and didn’t flinch when Justin asked for extra onions. The patty itself was larger than my fist. I’d never been so impressed by a simple hamburger steak before.

Chicken and Dumplings:

Chicken and dumplings is my favorite dish, and Cox executes its simple charms perfectly. The chicken was well-seasoned and tender. The pieces of chicken weren’t too big nor were they shredded into tiny slivers. I prefer a balance between the two, and Cox delivered. The dumplings were fluffy. Perhaps they were made with buttermilk. I tasted the presence of mayonnaise as well. If I want chicken and dumplings, I know where to go.

Lace Cornbread:

It looks more like a pancake than cornbread, and this fried treat that’s crispy around the edges is better than its square, crumbly counterpart. It was my first experience with lace cornbread. It will not be my last.

IMG_1696onlineJustin Baxley

The QUESTIONABLE:

Atmosphere:

The tables and chairs look like ones you might see at a family reunion, and the inside needs a new coat of paint and some cosmetic work.

Sides:

The side portions are a little smaller than I expected. The selection on the day we came was slim as well, but we came towards the end of the lunch rush and before the place closed.

The BAD:

Nothing was bad.

WHAT WE WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY:

Expand our stomachs to eat more.

NICK 4.5/5

JUSTIN 4.5/5

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