By Stacey Patton Wallace
My husband Mike was born in Georgia (I don’t hold that against him; we have family and friends who live in Georgia), and I’ve often kidded him because Georgia has 159 counties while Alabama has only 67, even though the peach state is not more than twice the size of ours. “Every time someone walked through Georgia, a county was named after him,” I quipped to Mike.
However, just 22 miles from our home, there is a small community with some unusual geography as well. A few weeks ago, Mike and I traveled for the first time to Notasulga, a pretty rural community. However, even though Notasulga is a very small town, it is located in two different counties, Lee and Macon. That’s a little unique.
The drive to Notasulga was really pleasant; the community was filled with green pastures and rustic charm. It was great being out in the country with peace, quiet and little traffic.
Miss Sue, a sweet church family member from Central Baptist of Opelika, told me that I should try Elmer’s Restaurant, which is located at 6841 Tallapoosa Street in Notasulga. I really appreciate it when people tell me or email me about restaurants to try. Since Mike and I had never been to Notasulga, we had not heard of Elmer’s, so thanks, Miss Sue.
When we arrived at Elmer’s, we saw an all-too-familiar sign on the door: “We are short-staffed. Please be patient. Thanks!” These days, it is really important to remember that most restaurants have an employee shortage; therefore, as diners, we need to be polite, understanding and generous with our tips. After all, these hardworking people showed up and are feeding us.
We met our friends William, Jack and Thomas for supper; it was also their first time to dine at Elmer’s. Sheila, our waitress, was so sweet, hardworking and patient with us. She brought us everything we requested, and she never lost her smile.
Mike chose two grilled catfish fillets, while I picked two whole, fried catfish. I had not eaten whole catfish in quite a while, but I wanted to see if Elmer’s cooked the real deal. Jack chose the grilled salmon, while William ordered catfish fingers. Thomas picked two grilled pork chops. All our entrees were quite delicious. Also, my whole, fried catfish were the real deal, good and tasty with NO funky “fishy” after taste. Elmer’s knows how to cook catfish.
In addition, Elmer’s has 10 different appetizers, some of which include fried dill pickles, fried mushrooms, jalapeno poppers, fried green tomatoes and domestic crab claws. The restaurant also offers salads, sandwiches and wraps. Besides what we ordered, dinner plates also include: ribeyes, hamburger steaks, fried or grilled shrimp, chicken tenders, chicken livers or frog legs. As the old saying goes, there’s something for everyone at Elmer’s. Dinner plates come with two sides. Diners may choose from: French fries, baked potatoes, loaded baked potatoes, corn nuggets, okra, potato wedges, green beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans, coleslaw or potato salad.
For dessert, Elmer’s menu also listed strawberry cobbler and caramel cake. When my blood sugar goes down, I hope to try one of them.
Elmer’s Restaurant is owned by Elmer Jones. The restaurant will be celebrating its 14th anniversary this August. Elmer’s is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (buffet only); Elmer’s is closed on Monday.
Elmer’s Restaurant makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.