They eat at the Cupboard Restaurant in Midtown of course. It has been feeding Memphians since the early 1940s, and moved to its current location on Union Avenue in 1993. It still feels like stepping back into the 50s when you open the door.
Listen, this place was love at first bite. The folks are attentive and pleasant and their blue plate specials were, well, special. We had fried catfish – nice and crispy, and my dining partner had chicken fried chicken (no typo) – it was a boneless fried chicken breast swimming in gravy. I don’t think a Mississippian could have done it better.
I never pass on fried green tomatoes which are on the menu every day. That’s the secret to a good restaurant in my book.
The eggplant casserole was good, and ironically, we ran into Michael Bruce, also from Starkville, who told me I made a mistake in not ordering the Italian Spinach casserole. Their lemon ice box pie is legendary.
Michael sent me a few recipes from “Charles Cavallo’s World Famous Cupboard Cookbook,” which Cavallo co-wrote with John M. Bailey. If you looking for good home cooking at a reasonable price, skip the chains and check out this time honored mom and pop establishment.
.Cupboard’s Famous Cornbread
1 lb. self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
Salt, to taste
Sift the cornmeal and flour together in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour mixture into a greased muffin pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
Cupboard’s Famous Slaw – the recipe of Cavallo’s father Sylvo.
1 head cabbage, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
3 to 4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. mustard
Mix all ingredients and chill. Serves 6 to 8.