Shelley Anderson insisted I go to "The Hotel" in Blessing, Texas, for lunch. Her husband, Jason Anderson, was the toolpusher on Deepwater Horizon, and I had just finished interviewing her about the months since her husband and the 10 others were killed on the oil rig.
"It’s Jason’s favorite restaurant," she said.
I hastily wrote down the directions - hook this country road this way and head on down that way. You can’t miss it.
The first thing I noticed was the Texas-sized fried chicken, lined up along the back wall on old wood-burning stoves where heaping trays of roast beef, mash potatoes and green beans were also sprawled out.
The next thing that caught my eye was the woman with the big smile. "Need some help?" owner Helen Feldhousen told the puzzled looking out-of-towner.
She explained the house rules: grab a plate and fetch all the food you want. Then, sit at any table, even if other people are already there. I sat at the “community gossip table” where locals begin congregating at 5:30 a.m. to discuss town events.
Helen gets all her food locally. It’s been done like that here – oh, let’s see, for 103 years. One local grows his vegetables in his yard and gives them to her for free.
You’ll also want to take note of the water bottle above the coffee machine. It’s from Jason and Shelley Anderson’s wedding day eight years ago. Jason ran around the café as a boy. As he grew older, he’d stop in when he was home from the rig. "We miss him," owner Helen says.
Now, read on for more about The Hotel
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