As our regular #FoodieScore readers know by now, we’ve enjoyed many different local restaurants in our five-plus years of sharing good eats with you. We launched this blog the month after we (we being Molly and Matthew) got married in 2015. Recently, we reflected a bit on the very first restaurant meal we enjoyed together the year before we got married.
In 2014, we were still a newly-dating couple, and we enjoyed a Sunday cafeteria-style lunch at The Depot, a small diner-type restaurant in the small nearby town of Lattimore, a place incorporated in 1899 and named for Audley M. Lattimore, the first postmaster in town.
The Depot was opened by Wanda and Rick Nixon in February 2008. It’s a great place during the week to enjoy a solid home-cooked breakfast or a cheeseburger for lunch. But we believe that Sunday meals are the best treat of all. That’s the one day each week that the restaurant welcomes its guest into a cafeteria-style Sunday family lunch.
You walk into the restaurant, get in line, assess the menu board and request your meat, side dishes, bread, dessert and drink as you walk through. You pay for your meal at the end of the line—cards are accepted here along with cash—and you take your food to the table.
There are plenty of Southern-style specials on the line, but we highly recommend you start with a main course of fried chicken or chicken pie, and fill your plate with a couple of sides like macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole and fried okra. The yeast rolls are excellent. The tea is the right kind of sweet. And you can’t go wrong if you take a slice of pecan, banana cream, chocolate or another pie from the case on your way through the line.
The Depot sits across the street from an old caboose that’s one of the most photographed spots in all the area. We haven’t inquired with experts who know the history, but we have read in local lore and on a few other blogs that the building that houses the restaurant was never actually a depot but more of a general store. The menu tells diners that success with the café led to an expansion in 2009 during which an old barber shop was turned into an extra adjoining dining room.
Lattimore is a small town, so there aren’t a ton of places to visit after your meal, though there is a local historical society center close by if you visit while it’s open, yet there are plenty of sidewalks to walk if you need to get in a few steps to, as we say in the South, “help your food settle.”
Most folks in The Depot are locals who dine there often, so don’t be too surprised if you get a few stares from the regulars when you wonder in as a newcomer. We’ve been to The Depot a handful of times for Sunday lunch, and we still get greeted each time like a first-time guest.
There’s plenty of parking with lots on both sides of the building and another one across the street beside the old caboose.
A handful of restaurants in the area offer a solid old-fashioned Sunday plate lunch, or meat-and-three as it’s often called, but The Depot is likely our favorite. That’s partially true because of the excellent food, but it’s also a top spot because it was actually the very first Foodie Travels experience we had together as a couple.
The Depot, 202 Price Street, Lattimore, North Carolina