"Hi sweetie. Come on in, have a seat wherever you like."
And I'm pretty well sold. They'd have to serve up sausage full of buckshot after a greeting like that for me to completely hate the place. But they don't. They serve up greasy, delicious breakfast vittles, coffee that tastes like more than soaked cardboard, and all the Southern hospitality you'll never get the chance to ask for.
It's called the Courthouse Restaurant. Just a little diner that serves breakfast right up until they close at 3pm. It's the type of place where almost every patron is a regular, and they'll treat you like you are too, even if it's your first visit.
It's the type of place lined with old men in plaid shirts talking over coffee and current events, the weather, and local gossip. It's always crowded, but rarely full.
I'm not a food snob. I like country cookin', and I'm a big fan of breakfast. On my first visit, I ordered the sausage egg and cheese croissant scribbled on the dry erase board by the door. The croissant was unlike any I've had, and though I'm told they don't bake them in house, it was remarkably fresh with a subtle honey colored sweetness that played perfectly with the savory depth of the sausage patty. The eggs were cooked perfectly (I ordered them over-medium), just runny enough to sop up the tiny, sun colored puddles of yolk that dripped from the sandwich with the end of the croissant. For $4, including a cup of coffee and served up quick, there is really no reason to ever go to Hardee's for breakfast. Ever.
On my second visit I ordered the breakfast bowl. If there's a gastronomical equivalent to sliding into a jacuzzi, this is it. Creamy, decadent sausage gravy, shredded potatoes, butter saturated biscuits. It's phenomenal. Not in a gourmet, high brow, lavender mimosa brunch kind of way, but in a way that makes you feel like a blustery day on the bay might be a good idea. Or a nap. It might make you want a nap.
To fully disclose, I haven't been for lunch yet, by which I mean I've gone in the afternoon and intended to order lunch, but having tasted the hearty, satisfying, Southern accented breakfast offerings, I just haven't been able to order anything else. My resolve remains, however. I'll definitely be back, and y'all will be updated.
My one complaint is that I had to wait for a minute or two before my water glass was refilled. I'm exceptionally particular about this though, and it happens pretty much everywhere, so don't take the caveat too seriously.
So, there you have it. Home cooked, well priced, deeply satisfying offerings served like you're family. They keep this up, and I just might marry in.
Last note: If you are a food snob, a health obsessed urbanite, or one of those people who feel compelled to treat waitstaff like second class citizens, go somewhere else. Wouldn't want you ruining the atmosphere.
Y'all come back now, ya hear?
-The Gloucester Foodie