Ever wonder why some of our favorite restaurants we’ve enjoyed through the years suddenly closed? And what made those restaurants our favorites? Let’s stroll down memory lane and see if you can help me figure out the answers.
We didn’t go out to eat a lot when I was growing up, but when we did, one of our favorite places was Shakey’s Pizza in Shreve City (a shopping area of Shreveport). You could watch them make the pizza, enjoy the player piano that was so cool to watch, and it was just good, family fun.
And who can forget Panchos. Raising that little flag every time we needed another taco, more chips or a fresh refill of Dr. Pepper... the power of the flag!
Bonanza. This was one of my favorites. Let me take you on a virtual tour if you’ve never experienced it. You’d grab a tray and get your silverware and then the first stop on the line before you ordered was the desserts. Desserts at the beginning: Yes, please!
Now, looking back, I have to admit I would pass these right on by these days; not because I don’t love a good dessert but because these really weren’t good desserts. Chocolate pudding with whipped cream on top. Love that concept, but after it has been sitting out for a few hours, under a display light, the pudding had the consistency of Silly Putty and the whipped cream lost it’s “whip.” Another option: Jello with whipped cream (are you noticing a theme with the whipped cream?) Squares of red or green Jello, dolloped with the cream always looked so good... until you actually ate it.
Next stop was getting your drink and ordering your food, and they would give you a number to put on your table. Now, to be honest, the steaks weren’t Grade A, Aged Angus Beef, but for about $6.99, it wasn’t that bad.
Piccadilly Cafeteria. There are still a few of these around but not many. The thing with going to a cafeteria... so many choices! And everything, even vegetables, look so much more appealing when they are sitting in stainless steel trays with steam rolling off of them. If you weren’t careful at Piccadilly, however, by the time you got to the end of the line of all those choices, you had accumulated a bill that would equal taking a family of four to Bonanza. Still, I loved eating there on a Sunday after church.
And our own Neely’s Brown Pigs. Sad day when it closed its doors. My mom told us from the time we started eating Brown Pigs that she and her sister Jo and my Uncle Billy (Auntie Jo’s husband) would go eat Brown Pigs when they were teens. Mom and Uncle Billy would have stacks of the little white china plates they would serve the individual sandwiches on. To some people, they may say “it’s just a BBQ sandwich.” Is the Golden Gate Bridge “just” a bridge? Is the Grand Canyon just a big ol’ hole? Oh, heck no! Neely’s Brown Pigs was iconic, and I miss them so.
One business that has not closed it’s doors (thank the good Lord in heaven above) that we still love to frequent is... wait... this was about restaurants, right? I always get side-tracked when it comes to this place. Oh, what the heck: Southern Maid Donuts in Shreveport.
Here are some guidelines you must follow if you’ve never visited here but are planning a trip:
1. You must go after 4 p.m. This is when the donuts are hot off the line, the sugar oozing delectable gooeyness all over.
2. You must grab plenty of napkins.
3. Don’t go on a Tuesday; they’re closed.
4. You must eat at least two or three as you drive back home. There’s nothing better than eating them when they’re hot. (Our family nickname for Southern Maid Donuts is “hot-hots.”)
5. You must get at least a dozen (and depending on how many people are in your family, maybe two dozen). Jerry loves to heat leftover donuts up in the microwave the next morning for breakfast.
So, I’m not sure the question was answered as to why some of our favorite restaurants seem to close, but whatever the reason... I still have the fond memories of enjoying them while growing up and... Southern Maid Donuts in Shreveport (Hearne Avenue location is my choice) is still alive and well.