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 Pocahontas, Illinois.
Greetings from Pocahontas, Illinois
N 38Â° 49.723â€™ Â W 089Â° 32.846â€™ Â Elev. 545 ft.
Iâ€™ve slept in Pocahontas many times over the years. And I may have eaten at the Powhatan, Pocahontasâ€™ premier â€” only â€” restaurant before, but if I did it was well over ten years ago and I really donâ€™t remember it.
I do remember, however, that the last time I was here it was nighttime and I took pictures of the â€œRESTAURANTâ€ sign on the back of the building. I was really tired and I felt the sign, partially ablaze in bright red, was encouraging me to vent. With six of the 10 letters burnt out, the sign read only â€œRANTâ€. I was too lazy to get out of the yacht to take the photos and thus ended up with two or three beautiful shots of flash glare off the windshield.
And so it goes.
This time I stopped because, heading west, I didnâ€™t want to deal with the morning rush hour cluster that is St. Louis at that time of day. Plus, I was hungry.
I stopped in the Powhatan and ordered a Country Breakfast Platter called â€œGretchenâ€™s Favoriteâ€ ($8.95). I donâ€™t know but the Gretchen in â€œGretchenâ€™s Favoriteâ€ may be in honor of a local celebrity, country singer Gretchen â€œRedneck Womanâ€ Wilson, who was born in Pocahontas.
The breakfast platter consisted of three eggs, two pork chops, fried apples, hash brown casserole, and biscuits with milk gravy. Although I knew what Iâ€™d ordered, I was still surprised when the plate came out. My reaction was: â€œThatâ€™s a lot of food!â€
The eggs, which Iâ€™d ordered over easy, were a little overcooked; I like â€˜em runny, honey. The pork chops were average-sized breakfast chops. Although they were thin, they were incredibly tender and tasty. The fried apples were a great compliment to the chops. Very cinnamon-y, they were more like a strudel filling or something.
The hash brown casserole was good but got tiresome after a while. Itâ€™s made with hash browns that tasted homemade, onion, bell pepper, and topped with a generous amount of melted cheddar cheese. When I go again Iâ€™ll probably just get regular hash browns because theyâ€™re so good.
The biscuits and gravy were absolutely awesome. Although the biscuits were on the small side, they were great and the milk gravy was some of the best Iâ€™ve ever had. It had great flavor and was not overly thickened, the perfect consistency in fact. I can easily see myself going back just for biscuits and gravy.
The Powhatan restaurantâ€” Powhatan was Pocahontasâ€™ father â€” is really homey inside, with wood floors and booths. And the service is excellent.
While I was there they played nothing but Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra music. I mention this only because I was blessed that they played only early Sinatra recordings, the ones made during that brief time when The Chairman of the Bored still managed to sing either in tune or in close proximity thereof. (My humble opinion and succinct critique of the grossly overrated Sinatra: Frank stank.)
When I went up to pay the bill I was thinking I was going to get a discount based on some genealogical information recently revealed to me by my sister. So I asked the cashier: Do I get a discount for being related to Pocahontas? â€œNo,â€ she said. â€œThis is a different Pocahontas than youâ€™re thinking of.â€
What? How many Pocahontases could there possibly be? She then when on to claim Pocahontas, Illinois was named after the Pocahontas Coal Mine, whose shafts honeycomb the ground below the entire town. Wikipedia, however, says it was indeed named after my distant relative, Pocahontas, the fabled Native American heroine of lore, which makes a lot more sense being as the town was founded nearly 60 years before the mine was established.
Regardless, it was a great meal at a great price even without a discount … which I was surely entitled to: After all, if Iâ€™m related to Pocahontas Iâ€™m related to Powhatan, too.
And so we roll.
Powhatan Restaurant, I-70 Exit 36, Pocahontas, Illinois
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.