The Special Restaurant
303 Fort Crook Rd N
Cost: $30 for two coffees and two breakfast meals
Reservations: Not sure if they take them, but get there early!
Greetings, eaters and readers!
While Martha and I were having our cars detailed, we decided to walk a few blocks to a cozy breakfast joint called The Special. I’ve been to Martha’s more times than I can count, and I’ve never noticed it sitting just down the hill between a Best Western and an auto shop.
We’ve heard chatter about The Special in a few of the local food groups and it’s a quick eight-minute walk from Martha’s home. We had tried to eat breakfast there a few weeks ago, but the line was out the door. She came back later with her niece and raved about the hot, fresh breakfast they enjoyed. And although we try not to visit a place the other has already been, we decided to break our rule since we were on foot.
Ever since she told me about their chicken fried steak, I knew that’s what I’d get. So, after awkwardly standing near the entrance wondering if we’d be greeted to be seated (we weren’t), we bellied up to the bar instead and ordered from there.
I fancy myself an amateur connoisseur (that might be an oxymoron) of Chicken Fried Steak, and The Special stacks up nicely against others I’ve tried. Crispy, texture-rich breading and creamy sausage gravy … I’d stop in for this comfort meal any day of the week.
When Martha visited The Special for the first time a week and half ago, she devoured her own serving of Chicken Fried Steak. This trip, she tried the Chicken Fried Chicken. Even though it was equally as hot, moist and flavorful, she thinks she’ll stick with the steak option on any future visit. For the homey, made-from-scratch taste of everything she’s tried at The Special so far, Martha knows she’ll bring visiting family and friends here to keep trying other parts of the menu. The place has been full and hopping every time we’ve visited and that speaks for itself.
Our eggs, hash browns and biscuits came out hot and fresh — just how we like it!
Pro tip: The “getting seated” process is a bit of cluster. On our visit where the line was out the door, Martha asked someone how long their wait was and the visitor replied that no one had told them or greeted them yet. On this visit, there were about six people standing and sitting just inside the door in what looked like a queue. However, after about 10 minutes of standing there, the other visitors slowly walked up to the end of the bar, about 20 feet inside the door, and someone promptly greeted them and asked if they wanted to sit at the bar or a table. As soon as those people left, we took two open seats at the bar and were also promptly greeted and given menus.
In other words – it seemed like the staff was content letting us hover in an awkward cluster by the door without greeting or explaining we could seat ourselves or anything about the process.
So when you go to The Special for a hot delicious breakfast – and honestly, you should – be brave and walk right up to someone and ask to be seated or just sit at an open spot at the bar. Once you’re seated – it’s smooth and delicious sailing from there. Of note: Martha mentioned that every time she looked at the kitchen window, there was an order of the Chicken Fried Steak going out. For your first visit, that seems like a scrumptious and safe place to start. We think you’ll enjoy it, too!
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