Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Winchester, Kentucky.
Greetings from Winchester, Kentucky
N 38Â° 00.829â€™ Â W 084Â° 10.646â€™ Â Elev. 1077 ft.
If you want funky in Kentucky, this is the place.
I first found the 96 Truck Stop in Winchester through the miracle of the Garmin GPS. I was looking for a place to park, one that I hoped had InterTube access. Sailing along, I called this place and, lo and behold, they had free Tubes. All I had to do then was find it.
This place is in kind of a weird location. Itâ€™s very old place that, I suspect, was originally located just off the highway long before the interstate was built, but who knows? To get here you have to go north up Hwy. 627 and then double back on Rolling Hills Lane. Being kind of hidden, it isnâ€™t a place you would spot from the freeway and pop into.
I arrived just before lunch on my last visit, having sailed all night. I went in hoping theyâ€™d have some special that I couldnâ€™t resist but all they were offering at the time was an Open-faced Roast Beef (see pic) and BBQ Pulled Pork, neither of which rocked my boat.
Instead I opted for a Egg and Bologna sandwich ($3.50), and one of the â€œNew Itemsâ€, Fried Green Tomatoes ($2.99), along with a Sweet Tea ($1.99).
Whenever Iâ€™m in these kinds of places and presented with various choices, I always ask the server what they would get, and usually order that. The waitress suggested I get the sandwich on white bread with mayo and tomato. It came with two thick slices of fried bologna and it was awesome. Had it not been so filling I wouldâ€™ve ordered another one. It was that good! (Just looking at the picture has me salivating!)
The six slices of Fried Green Tomatoes served with Ranch Dressing and were okay, I guess. They were prepared nicely but were kind of bland, with a slightly fishy taste. I suspect they use the same cornmeal that they use for the Catfish. They also seemed kind of overpriced. I mean, itâ€™s a tomato â€” a green tomato! â€” for chrisâ€™sake. But then again, fried green tomatoes are always pricey for some unknown reason.
The Sweet Tea ($1.99) was everything it was billed as: Sweet! Too sweet, I thought.
Still, that sandwich was so good Iâ€™ll definitely be stopping back just for that. Hell, it was every bit as good if not better than Uncle Joeâ€™sÂ Famous Fried Bologna sandwich.
Total bill for this portion of my culinary adventure was $8.99. In retrospect, I shouldâ€™ve just got the sandwich.
After a long nap I woke up hungry again and went back in to see if they had changed the specials. They still had the previous two offerings but had added Stuffed Bell Peppers ($6.99), which I ordered.
I love Stuffed Bell Peppers and thought Iâ€™d hit pay dirt. â€œWow, two stuffed peppers and two sides for seven bucks!â€ I thought. So I ordered it with Cottage Cheese and Macaroni and Cheese as the sides. Then the plate came.
Now I donâ€™t want to argue with anyone armed with a felt-tip marker and a dry-erase board but … if you put an â€œSâ€ after the word pepper, it makes it plural. If Iâ€™m not mistaken, the meaning of â€œpluralâ€ is â€œmore than one in number.â€ So where the hell is my other pepper. I need my other stuffed bell pepper, damn it! I want it. Now.
I was going to ask my waitress about this roadside restaurant robbery but she was busy. Knowing that sheâ€™s dealt with plenty of mildly disgruntled land-yacht skippers in the past, I knew I would get nowhere with my linguistic argument. Indeed, I suspected that even if I presented her with my First Place Award for Opinion Writing from the Northwest Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists I wasnâ€™t going to get another pepper. I really hate it when my coveted SPJ Award fails to get me more stuff[ed bell peppers].
Despite my apparent trauma from being shorted, the Stuffed Bell Pepper, after a dash of salt, was really good. Instead of a green pepper, it was fairly large red one, generously stuffed with a rice and ground beef filling, topped with a tomato sauce.
The Macaroni and Cheese was homemade, but it too was kind of bland. But with the addition of salt and pepper it easily filled the bill.
In all it was a pretty decent deal for the price. Plus, Iâ€™d found a dollar bill in the parking lot on the way in. A whole dollar! Bonus.
If youâ€™re still hungry after dining at the 96 Truck Stop there is a place right across the street called Alltech. It grows algae â€” actually itâ€™s more akin to a brewing process â€” in giant vats before sending it through a dryer and packaging it up in 50-kilo bags. The dried algae is then shipped off and used as a high-protein additive to cattle feed. This could conceivably make for an organic, alternative â€œdessertâ€ for the health-conscious, if youâ€™re so inclined. Or, like me, you can just wander over and be mesmerized by the giant acrylic tubes of bubbling algae.
The 96 Truck Stop is open 24/7, located about 20 miles east of Lexington off I-64 at Exit 96 (Hwy. 627 North). They have free InterTubes but only one power strip if you need to plug in.
And so we roll.
96 Truck Stop, 510 Rolling Hills Lane, Winchester, Kentucky
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.