Steak House # 2
By Brenda S. Brown

The Steak House in my hometown of Richland was not only a landmark for the northern traveling snowbirds migrating to and from Florida, it was a place where the local residents gathered and enjoyed a truly home-cooked meal or a bottomless cup of coffee and of course, a slice of homemade icebox lemon pie.  Mrs. Maude Gunnels cooked various kinds of cakes, fruit pies and pecan pie, but the most remembered by my acquaintances is the lemon offering.  

For the comfort and pleasure of the patrons there were large booths and plenty of tables and padded bottom chairs. Situated in the back of the restaurant there was a private dining area that could be reserved for bridal showers, birthday parties and family get-togethers.  On the weekends the room became a clandestine waiting area for the sometimes boisterous patrons.     

On Friday and Saturday evenings the café was packed full of noisy teenagers enjoying a hamburger, home fries, and soft drinks which they purchased for a whopping "42 CENTS" while they caught up on who was in love with whomever, at school.  Substantial amounts of quarters were fed into the brightly lighted jukebox; for a dollar you could play ten popular top tunes. 

Aunt Nadine, the manager and owner, insisted that the volume on the "Rock-ola" stay low until the guests and locals finished supper and departed the premises.  After attending area basketball games, the place filled to overflowing with lively youngster who ordered late night snacks and visited from table to table.  My first time of enjoying a honeybun that was brushed with butter and heated to perfection was at the Steak House Restaurant; for more essence try adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

One of the favorite menu items was a scrambled dog; it was served on a specially designed china plate that was oblong and shallow, and just the right size for the presentation.  The hotdog bun was opened, and a red skinned wiener was smothered with chili, sprinkled with oyster crackers and topped with dill-pickle slices.  A garnish of mustard and ketchup was all it needed to be perfect, but some diners ordered chopped onions and other toppings to complete the epicurean experience.   

I am proud to have inherited three of those special platters for scrambled dogs from Otto's mother, Myrtle, who worked at the Steak House for countless years; she taught me how to duplicate the recipe at home and it is a favorite entree of Joshua, Catherine, Caleb and Christen, our teenage grandchildren. 

In the third iteration, we will remember the fresh vegetables that were served daily at the Steak House Restaurant in Richland, and salute the friendly people who cheerfully served the hungry guests.  


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