Time seems to be of little concern at Joyner's Home Cooked Food Restaurant. Coming in for dinner is like dropping in on an old friend or family and they ask you to stay for dinner. You talk, you kick back, unwind, and let the world go by 'cause you know it's all worth you while.
Recently, I dined here with a small group, and I must say it is one of the few places in town where the owner may just pull up a chair, sit down beside your table and proceeded to explain (in some cases read) the menu to you.
That's the personalized service we received one recent evening at Joyner's, a humble-looking little place in a strip center just east of Memorial, on the north side of 21st just past Albertson's. Look for the billiards place and it's a couple doors west.
It is definitely a mom and pop establishment, just serving what they say: home cooked food--their way.
The menu is loaded with comfort foods like grandma used to make. Meatloaf ($7.99), Chicken and Dumplings ($7.99), Country Fried Steak with Gravy ($7.99), BBQ of all sorts, fried Catfish and more. Sides echo holiday favorites: Mashed Potatoes with White or Brown Gravy, Potato Salad, Green Beans, Baked Beans, Corn, Pinto Beans, Rice, Cole Slaw, Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potatoes, French Fries, Fried Okra, Cabbage, Blackeyed Peas with Okra, Greens and Dressing.
How is one to choose just two with dinner from a mouth-watering selection such as this?
Breads are Hush Puppies, Wheat or White Bread, Rolls, Cornbread and Honey Cinnamon Biscuit. Desserts continue the home-cooked theme: Peach Cobbler, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Cake, Lemon Cake and one of my all-time favorites, Sweet Potato Pie.
We finally established what our orders were to be. I ordered the Honey BBQ Wings ($7.99) with Macaroni & Cheese and Pinto Beans. Another order was the 4 Vegetable Plate ($4.59) with Bread--Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Greens and Fried Okra. (Much different than a vegetable purist would desire!) Catfish Basket ($6.99) which came with French Fries and 1 Cinnamon Biscuit and honey was ordered by another.
The children ordered selections from the Kids' Menu ($3.99 for all meals) for those 10 and under. The meal is a meat selection, two sides, bread and a drink. One selected the BBQ Bologna; another the Fried Chicken and another the Hamburger. Sides varied from Macaroni & Cheese to Mashed Potatoes to French Fries to Green Beans.
We enjoyed the slow pace of the place, but at first it was a bit unnerving. Once we embraced the pace, we realized we had a show to catch downtown and we began sweating it out. The food did come, the wait was well worth it--and we got to the show in time.
It is impossible to fully describe all foods at this meal; suffice it to say that everything was very well seasoned and fully enjoyed. This is truly home-cooked food. Something simple, like pinto beans, for instance, tasted as if they were slowly cooking all afternoon; the greens were perfectly (lightly) seasoned, even with a hint of cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Great gravy--real gravy with real potatoes. Fresh and crispy catfish in a lightly breaded coating. The Honey BBQ Wings were exceptionally messy eating, which in my estimation translates into just enough BBQ sauce.
The children, likewise, enjoyed their selections, especially the BBQ Bologna.
We were disappointed that only two dessert selections were available--Lemon Cake and Chocolate Cake. While both were rich with flavor and texture, the Sweet Potato Pie is something worth coming back to try.
Joyner's is a homey, no frills kind of place where ample time is taken to prepare home cooked meals.
Joyner's Home Cooked Food Restaurant
8151 C2 21st Street
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