I am always on the lookout for unique and interesting places to visit and we did find one on this particular trip. We visited a little community in Indiana called Story.
Story probably only has about 100 people or less in the village. It was founded in 1851 by Dr. George Story who received a land grant from then President Millard Fillmore. By the 1880s the town had become one of the largest settlements in the area. At one time it had two general stores, a church, a schoolhouse, a sawmill, a grain mill and even a post office. However, the Great Depression took its toll on this town as families abandoned this hilly farm area in search of employment.
The village looks much like it did in the 1930s with a few rustic buildings.
In the center of it all is a unique little country inn called the “Story Inn.” This rustic building includes a little general store, a nice cozy eatery, and some historically rustic overnight accommodations all in a natural setting. They even offer a bed and breakfast.
They don’t have an extensive menu but they do have a few things that are interesting and so we ordered some of the food and had lunch there. My daughter Marissa had a salad with their homemade cilantro vinaigrette dressing. Julianne had a black bean burger and I had their “1851 Burger” that included “bacon jam.” I also had them bring a side of the bacon jam because I wanted to just try that by itself and see how it tasted. It’s essentially a jam type of condiment that has been rendered with bacon and some sugar cane and some other things. It was sweet and bacony.
The most unique things about the Story Inn is their motto which is “One Inconvenient location since 1851“.
The dining area is very rustic with wooden floors, old wooden tables and a few rickety old chairs. I actually had to use a chair from their outside deck because I was afraid to sit in one of their rickety chairs due to my size.
The entry area has some nice stained glass. The shelves are decorated with period era bottles and medicines, etc. The entry also includes a desk where lodgers can get registered and stay the evening if they wish…either in the upstairs hotel or in one of the out building cottages. The place also serves as a Bed and Breakfast.
I did not go upstairs to see the rooms but Marissa and Julianne did and they said the rooms are nice but could be spooky. We also heard some talk about spirits hanging around in the rooms. But, the only spirits I saw were down in the dining area where they have numerous fine wines and other spirits.
I did walk around the premises a bit and found a few unique things there as well. They have a sculpture made out of old car parts and gasoline stand parts including the gasoline pumps. There are restrooms on the outside that have some unique characteristics as well, including the signs that are shown below.
I occasionally write about unique eateries that I come across in my travels. In the past I have written about Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV (see link), Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, OR (see link), Lambert’s Cafe – the Home of Throwed Rolls in Sykston, MO (see link), the Wigwam in Ravenna, KY (see link), Fat Smitty’s Burgers in Port Townsend, WA (see link) and dozens of other unique places. Last week (Feb. 8, 2017) we were introduced to another fabulous place called The Shack Burger Resort in Cypress, TX. Much like Fat Smitty’s in Washington or Hillbilly Hot Dogs in West Virginia, this is a quirky themed eatery (or in this case, a resort…).
The place is huge and includes a giant playground for the kids, which includes two old school buses and more. Funky art and rustic decor surround the resort. Its setting in an almost rural area of Houston makes it even more fun.
Of course, decor and quirkiness are a great draw, but if the food is so so, one may not want to return. Not the case at The Shack. Their burgers are huge, flavorful and there is a great variety to choose from. For those that like to imbibe, there is also a full bar. And their Fried Pickle Chips are to die for!
As I noted above, the place is quirky. For instance, the Men’s Restroom is totally quirky/rustic. A really nice touch…
The Men’s Room had wooden Saloon Doors for the stalls and an old rustic sink for washing hands. There was art on the doors and on the walls. No themes….just quirky all the way!!
Everywhere you look there was fun art and unique kitsch. Here are a few more shots of this fun place. Definitely worth a visit if in the Houston area.
As I have traveled the many back roads of the U.S. and Canada I have seen hundreds of places to eat, many of the are the normal fast food places (we all know THEY are). But, there are also many other unique Mom and Pop shops, small drive ins, BBQ joints and burger places. I have covered the main stops from my last 8 or 9 years of travel, but there are many more I have passed along the way and a few that I didn’t cover in the previous three posts. I will touch on them here, though most of them with a photo and a comment or two. Enjoy!
The Leftovers – More of the Places I have been
I ate here in early August 2012. It was across the street from my hotel near Atlanta and I love good Mexican food. This is one of those places frequented by the migrant Mexican laborers. No English spoken here. But, the food is AMAZING and the cost was excellent.
The Huevos Rancheros is made with a very spicy green sauce. In fact, the lady there kept apologizing to me and I kept telling her that “picante” is better. I grew up on hot stuff. But, the faint of heat may want to avoid this one and get the tacos on fresh corn tortillas instead.
My wife and I visited the Poke Sallet Festival in Harlan, Kentucky a couple of years ago and, of course, while there we had to try out some Poke Sallet (The term is an old Southern reference to the cooked young leaves of the poke weed. Sallet comes from Middle English and refers to a mess (another Old or Middle English term) of greens cooked until tender.)
Not every place you stop to eat at is a real building. There are those food wagons and trucks that serve a variety of goodies. There are plenty in Canada as well. I frequented one place in Paris, Ontario just for the one and only thing he made – poutine. Poutine is a common Canadian dish (originally from Quebec), made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and cheese curds.
Poutine must be the original heart attack on a plate (or styrofoam container). The rich mixture of thick brown gravy and melted cheese curds on top of a heaping pile of greasy fries is yummy and fattening as can be.
Speaking of interesting food, how about Pea Meal? Yes, that is another Canadian specialty. I got my best taste of a Pea Meal breakfast at the
Pea Meal is actually a type of bacon that can be found in Ontario. The name reflects the historic practice of rolling the cured and trimmed boneless pork loin in dried and ground yellow peas, originally for preservation reasons. Since World War II or so, it has been rolled in ground yellow cornmeal. It is low in fat, and slow cured and really really good!!
Some Interesting Places I Should Have Visited
The above two places may be peculiar and even uncertain, but get a load of these three Chinese restaurants I have come across in my travels…
I think Hung Far Low is a real winner for a Chinese Restaurant name. By the way, it is only about 2 blocks away from Voodoo Doughnut in Portland.
Then there are the American places with odd names like Stinky’s (above) and those below.
We all know about Popeye’s Chicken, but, how about Wimpy’s Hamburgers? I’ll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today 9though I’ll bet that deal doesn’t work at this Wimpy’s!!)
I hope they aren’t making BBQ Frog…. And how about a few more places….
Eat in a caboose at Choo Choo!!
Apparently there is another Choo Choo Bar in Omaha, Nebraska. No relation to the one above.
OK…you gotta go to Hell (MI) to eat here….and here is what they offer you….
And here are a couple more places
This is the home of the Holey Burger, but they also have hot dogs and ice cream cones. Yum…
Then, there are the BBQ places that I wish I could hit up. These have some great names…
Soulman’s mantra: ‘We’re Not Stingy With Our Meat!”
Big Bubba apparently also runs a Catfish place down the road…
And just a couple of more places I have passed over the years
And the famous neon cowboy on top of it….
And finally…how about the Chuckwagon? They have a “4 Meat Buffet”