All the Fun You Can Have at a Shoney's / by Dale Wiley

Yesterday, as I crossed the mountains and headed down to Chattanooga, I was deciding where to get some lunch, I looked at highly rated lunch places. Nothing caught my eye. Then, like a beacon, I saw a sign of an old friend, one that doesn't exist where I'm from anymore, Shoney's.

Shoney's, I thought reminded me way more about road trips that I've taken than any restaurant speaking in reduction sauces and making you drink crap out of a mason jar while reminding you of how very hip they are. We have beards! We speak German! We are so earthy that we drink out of mason jars!

So I pulled in, thinking of everything from my mom and sister and eating at the Shoney's across from Graceland to college trips when the restaurant boom was only beginning.

I sat down by myself, and saw two people take seats across from me. I heard a foreign accent, and, as usual, was unafraid to speak up.

I found out they were Malin and Magnus, and they were from a Swedish TV show, which in its first season was called United States of Cakes, hosted by Roy Fares, who has quite a sweet tooth and great ideas. We talked about my kids and especially Mary, who has been interested in food TV since she was a baby. Malin marched out and gave me a gorgeous dessert coffee table book, in Swedish. I didn't think I'd be bringing a Swedish coffee table book about desserts home, but in fact, I am.

They were delightful people, and in the middle of our long and interesting discussion, as typically happens on these trips, of course the manager of the Shoney's was a contestant on the voice and chose to take that moment to belt out some 90s R&B. No Shoney's trip is complete without that! 

His name was Malcolm X. Jones, and he was talented. The vibrant Malin took pictures and gave plenty of encouragement. She was most delightful and I can't imagine having that much fun at, say, a Denny's. 

And then I got to follow it up with a famous Shoney's hot fudge cake. It was so much better than reduction sauces and Mason Jars.