Mehepyewpleez? A love letter to K&W Cafeteria
January 31st, 2012
09:05 AM ET
Share this on:

If at some point my rapidly advancing decrepitude becomes just too much for me to bear, I'm not too fussed. I have a plan. I'm going to quit my job, my home, my life up North and seek employment at the first outpost of the K&W Cafeteria chain that will have me. By all reputable accounts, no one who works there has ever aged so much as a day since they opened in 1937.

I have no empirical proof that this is true. I've only been aware of the existence of the K&W for the past seven years, but I've been privy to enough anecdotal accounts to suggest that the "congeal" molecule in a K&W tomato aspic is the key to life eternal. This was, in fact, a discovery made by the owners - members of an alien race who came to Earth many decades ago to study us and keep us in their sway via the power of luscious gravy, sweet tea and reasonable prices on classic Southern cafeteria-style food. And, I'm cool with it.


I enter into evidence the fact that many reliable sources (including my very own husband* and several respectable, if slightly over-bourboned Southern food scholars) have maintained that the exact same employees have been manning the hot meat and roll stations for at least the past three decades - and have remained exactly 76 years old the entire time. As does the faithful clientele, who've earned K&W the nickname "Kanes & Walkers." Fun fact - many of them are in fact deceased, but remain animated through the use of fancy church hats and weekly Sunday infusions of souffled yams and carrot ambrosia. Hooray alien science!

I also submit to the jury that the entire front of house staff in any given location is possessed of a dialect unheard outside the confines of a K&W. "Mehepyewpleez?" (May I help you, please?) "Youwannameat?" (Would you like any meat?) "Graveeewhutelse?" (Would you like gravy, or any other item behind the glass?) "Whiiiiiordar?" (White or dark meat fried chicken?)

And I understand it! Every word! It's because they're bypassing my ears and speaking directly into my heart and cerebellum.

K&W meal

I must believe this - I need to believe this, lest I actually have to take moral responsibility for taking a day off work last June to fly from Brooklyn to Chapel Hill because I could not stop thinking about K&W vegetable congeal, fried okra, chicken livers and gravy. I'm a nice lady who eats non-dressed green salads and mostly says no to dessert and quit drinking soda. How else to explain my shameful gluttony upon entering the establishment, and almost militant insistence that we drive to the nearest K&W immediately upon arrival in North Carolina - even before we see our friends and family?

It is clearly the work of aliens. And science. And magical, life-giving wiggly salads that may carry the answer to life, itself.

Now take me to your feeder.

*I did not marry him just because his last name begins with a W and mine with a K - though it surely does not hurt.

Note: Nope, K&W didn't pay a single dime for this write-up. I honestly love them that much. In fact, I love them enough that I wrote a story about them in the most recent issue of the Southern Foodways Alliance's Gravy Foodletter.

Posted by:
Filed under: Chain • Classic • Favorites • Obsessions • Restaurants • Southern

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. A Chapel Hill Local

    I was so happy to see this photo of our K&W here in Chapel Hill, the best one I have ever tried. When my 73-year-old dad comes to visit, he, my 16-year-old daughter, and I look forward to a dinner trip to the K&W. It is among very few places that makes all three of us quite happy. That makes it a fun outing, not a lifestyle position statement.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Hurrah to the multi-gen accessibility! I've been there with four generations of my in-laws at once, and everyone leaves happy. I cannot think of a single other restaurant format where that would be the case.

      February 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I got to eat there just yesterday! I have never once - not once - been let down by a meal or a dish there.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Yankee in GA

    I live right in the city of Atlanta and I am from the Boston area originally. While the Italian and Chinese in the Northeast can't be beat, Atlanta has little India (Decatur), little Vietnam and little Mexico (Buford Hwy), Ethiopian, Persian (Rumis Kitchen is one of a few...OMG), Dekalb farmers Market (int'l mecca for spices, seafood, everything), etc. I also thought the south would be a lot of that good fried stuff and not much else, but you can get amazing int'l food in the city. If you are in Atlanta, go for Carver's, the Colonnade, Fox Brothers, Watershed, West Egg Cafe, etc. if you want to get a taste of the South. Do try Brunswick Stew, Southern cornbread (no sugar in it...savory), fried okra, fried chicken, lima beans, pulled prok, ribs, brisquit, bisquits and gravy, bisquits with butter, maple syrup, and sausage...the list goes on. Don't forget the sweet tea and something red velvet.

    February 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  3. This is why America's fat

    Enjoy your diabetes

    February 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  4. Ann

    Oh No You did not mention Livermush.. Until I moved to NC I had never heard of it.Was never converted to a fan!I am also from KY,the Southern emd.I have lived all over the States and Canada...25 yrs in Charlotte and 5 in Winston-Salem;Winston being the home not only of K&W but Krispy Kreme as well.Some things can be copied but never duplicated.You can add BBQ to that list too.

    February 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I am livermush OBSESSED and bring it back every time I travel down.

      February 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  5. TC

    Wow, you really hit the nail on the head with your description. The K&W in Cameron Village, Raleigh is a landmark, always busy, always good, and always staffed by the same people!! If you want something even better, go over to Cary and try the K&S Cafeteria – a most excellent cafeteria serving some of the best southern food you've ever had!!

    February 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  6. Cat Stevens

    I am going on vacation to North Carolina at the end of April and I cannot wait to eat at a K&W Caferteria. Thank you for this article! Otherwise I would have not known of this wonder

    February 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  7. kitty

    Sarris' Cafe and Louie's Fine Foods in Pelham, Alabama are GREAT CAFETERIAS. I prefer Louie's, owned by a Greek family and their southern food ROCKS!

    February 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  8. John1Galt

    The employees aren't 76 years old. They're actually teenagers who look like they're septegenarians because of the southern "food" and cigarettes. That's what a steady diet of lard and nicotine does.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • John1Galt


      February 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Helen

      i was married to a yankee for years and the food on the east coast is not exactly healthy! i converted him to Texas southern food and he never looked back. years later, he still calls and says he misses chicken fried steak, fried okra and sweet potatoes. he still asks for a pecan pie and that is pacahn pie, not peecan pie.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • John1Galt

        What we have in the Northeast is a fantastic variety, from which you can choose. You choose chicken wings and its ilk or you can choose whole foods prepared in a healthy way. I choose the latter because it makes me feel better and I don't hear my arteries creak. I spent a decade in Montgomery Alabama one week trying to find something that wasn't fried or deep fried. The only place I found was a deli that specialized in Mediterranean food. I ate every meal there except breakfast (the hotel at least served oatmeal). I've also spent months at a time in Georgia and Tennissee with the same experiences. At least on the long trips I was able to shop and cook for myself so, it wasn't much of a problem.

        Anyone south of the Mason-DIxon ever heard of olive oil, polyunsaturates, legumes, leafy greens (FRESH leafy greens)?

        February 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • John1Galt


        February 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Helen

      John, I only use olive oil:) I hardly ever fry anything, and I try very hard to eat healthy. BUT I really enjoy eating true southern food. I will never give it up even if it is only once in while now. I have to say that I lived on the west coast for a while and saw many many fast food restaurants, so... BTW, I live in Houston, great state of TEXAS and you can find a huge variety of food here so don't be afraid to come on down here and enjoy.

      February 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Nytechilde

      I am southern to the bone and I love good southern food. I'm 58 years old and still in pretty good shape. Don't believe I got the rheumatoid arthritis from the foods I eat. If it's a choice between being healthy and patronizing and happy and tolerant, hey, I'll be eating the lard and everything that goes with it. So there!

      February 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  9. Cheri Gayles

    Just came home from North Myrtle Beach around three weeks ago, our sixth visit, and we always visit K&W when looking for a quick meal as opposed to all the stuff-yourself-silly seafood buffets that seem to abound down there. Nice to know K&W is still there and that the food never changes. I was raised, and still live, in Southern Indiana and believe me, I've eaten food like this all my life. K&W is like a little taste of home.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  10. Steven Scheck

    My wife and I moved from New York down to Greensboro, N.C. around nine years ago. We have only been to K & W twice since then. First, maybe, because of this article we will give it another try. Second, if the author of this article ever decides to write a book, pamphlet or any other written means of communication, I respectfully request to be notified "asap". I truly enjoyed, not only the content of what was written, but the prose and wonderful depictions. Your humor comes through beautifully and respectfully. Thank you so much for your terrific verbiage! This is from one transplanted Yankee who says y'all now and waves a lot.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      You just made my day! Thank you!

      February 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • Steven Scheck

        Glad I was able to return the favor because you made mine. By the way, I was serious about the writing. Would love to read more!

        February 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Tom

      I believe you've earned the right to drop the "transplanted" bit. If ya wave a lot, drink sweet tea & love Magnolias, you're one of us. And we won't complain if ya hold on to a little of your Yankee roots. Variety IS the spice of life.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
      • Steven Scheck

        Thanks Tom for welcoming us to the fold. I still do talk like a New Yorker but the content of what I say has that
        Southern flavor. After working in Manhattan for many years I've learned to be a little more layed back and "TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES". Besides the waving I find myself saying Hey! to others and asking them how they are doing and really mean it and expect an answer. Go figure!

        February 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  11. mark


    February 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Born and raised in South Carolina. As a kid it was off to the K&W every other Sunday to have my olfactory senses murdered by too much cheap perfume and my retinas permanently tinged by the acres of blue hair. No thanks. I've had my fill.
    Compared to my Granny's cookin' the food was just south of mediocre.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  13. Jerry Pegram

    Oh, the Memories-haven't eaten there in years and I live in Winston-Salem where it all began. If the president (i forgot his name) would just eat there one time it would be worth having him on the (Island-private joke).

    Boy Kat Kinsman sure likes it.

    February 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  14. M

    I live in Alabama, and I can tell you that you haven't lived until you've eaten at a "meat and three". No, the food is not healthy by any means, which is why you don't go there every day, unless you're trying to push your cholesterol into the thousands, but there are times when only the food they serve at one of these places will do. Around here, we have City Cafe, the Waysider, 15th Street Diner/Northport Diner, and Mr. Bill's, to name a few. And we also have Piccadilly, which I have to agree is not as good as the old Morrison's, but it is still pretty delicious. Growing up in Mississippi, Morrison's was one of my parents' favorite places. I didn't understand it then, and I much preferred to eat at McDonald's or Hardee's, but now I have really fond memories of going there.

    If you've never had Southern food, you have no idea what you're missing. Now will someone please pass the country fried steak and fried okra?

    February 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  15. NoonanGal

    Formative years spent in TX where a hangover was cured by a real meal at Luby's. Moved overseas and then to the northern plains of the US but still have a hankering for their fried okra and mashed potatoes with gravy. Us regular folks are being edged out of our area by the oil boom in NW ND - but I might consider staying if Luby's opened a spot in Williston!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Tom

      Sorry to be the one to deliver bad news. Lu by's sold out. Kept the name, but that's ALL they kept. The portion sizes are miniscule, the food has gone to hell, & the help is rude & obnoxious. They probably do about 25% of the business they did before the sale. Another Texas institution GONE.

      February 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • NoonanGal

        Oh, Tom! Say it ain't so! I guess nothing good lasts forever. Thanks for letting me know.

        February 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  16. Didi

    I have never been to a K&W because my hometown has THE best place to eat ever – Wade's. If you're ever in Spartanburg, SC, go to Wade's and get some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and fried okra. You will experience heaven. It's our first stop whenever we go home for a visit.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  17. Electric_Pink

    I've never heard of K&W's but I have a soft spot for all cafeterias. For me, it was Morrison's. I grew up in Alabama and that's what we had. I so looked forward to the treat of eating there after church every Sunday: salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, roll, and peach cobbler. My choice never varied until I got older and dared to venture to the wild side of trout almondine and fried okra. I live in Georgia now and Piccadilly has the cafeteria market on lock. I've never seen so many older church folks clutching their programs to get an additional 10% off with their senior citizen discount. I do it too and I'm middle aged.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Pumbaa

      When I was a kid I ate a lot of trout almondine with my parents at Morrison in Mobile. That was about the only place that my dad would go to. My mother liked the stuff crab.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  18. ncgirl

    K & W chicken pot pie ... oh, I want some. While we were in college, my boyfriend (now husband) and I would drive from Charlotte to Concord, buy ONE helping of chicken pot pie, two biscuits and a dessert, and stuff ourselves. We loved that we could eat real home-made food for something like $5 (this was around 1980-82). Still live in NC, but far from a K & W, darn it. We may need to make a road trip! To those who disparage "cafeteria food" – you need to know that there are cafeterias, and then there is K & W, in a class all it's own!

    February 1, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  19. Owengirl79

    I grew up in Winston-Salem and K&W is the only "restaurant" I remember eating in until high school. In 1988 the one my family always went to exploded from a natural gas leak...a tragedy but one that brought many jokes. Now I live in the triangle and still have to get my K&W fix from time to time. You nailed the K&W experience with one exception. In some locations the "protein attendant" says, "Nameyourmeat"...LOVE that one and have friends that reply, "Charlie"!!

    February 1, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  20. agFinder

    I'm from Charlotte and have eaten at K&W's for many years. It did make me sad to see that almost half of the readers hadn't eaten at K&W. Just makes you appreciate what you've got :).

    January 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  21. Alex McFarland

    The food at K & W is delicious. My family had a chicken farm in NC for decades, and we sold eggs to the K & W cafeterias up until the early 1990's. There are just wonderful people throughout the company and in the restaurants. Let me tell you that K and W's fried shrimp- when they have it, which isn't every day- is simply the best you'll ever eat anywhere. K & W is awesome!

    January 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  22. Anon_e_mouse

    Ahh, K&W... Cameron Village, Raleigh... I worked in the Village in the '80s and '90s... we closed our shop at 6 Monday-Thursday, except between Thanksgiving and New Year's, and at least one night a week we'd walk around the corner to the K&W for dinner before going home. Now we're up north but we still try and stop in whenever we're in town.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  23. Yup Yup Yup

    When will they be in the Pacific Northwest? We could really use a good buffet

    January 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Old Timer

      Buffet? This is about a cafeteria. The difference? Buffets are 100% serve-it-yourself. Cafeterias are about 40% serve-it-yourself and 60% you tell the nice person on the other side of the food what you want and they dish it up for you.

      February 1, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  24. Karen

    That K&W kept me alive during my college years. Awesome food.

    I grew up down east. Never heard of liver mush. We had liver pudding in the east.

    January 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  25. tammy

    yummmmmmmm...k & w's mashed potatoes. I would eat those things for every meal if I could but now I live in Spartanburg, SC and we don't have a K & W's. :-(

    January 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Kelly

      But you do have Wade's. :)

      February 1, 2012 at 8:18 am |
      • mamatiger92

        Wade's is the bomb.

        February 1, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  26. Bonnie Kay

    I love the K&W cafeterias! When we lived in Myrtle Beach, SC, we ate at that one. The one in Chapel Hill is great! Their chicken pot pie, country style steak, and seven layer salad are my favorites! It's not your usual greasy fare. My Daddy and I ate many meals there while my Mama was in Duke Hospital. He liked the greens and other vegetables. My husband and I are Tarheels but we live near Columbia, SC now. Unfortunately, we do not have a K&W here. Wave as you drive by, Kat! I've bookmarked your Gravy site so I can read your articles there.

    January 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  27. Now I'm hungry

    Niki's West, on Finley, Birmingham, AL. They get all of the veggies from the farmers market across the St. The same guy has been working the line for years. He's almost soup Nazi-ish, and has become kind of famous here in Bham. The food is amazing!

    January 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Floribaman

      Just had Niki's West for the first time last year- Soup Nazi is right! But the food was so good and SO abundant. Alabama has the best places for "vegetables" (macaroni and cheese, various casseroles, etc). When I was transplanted up north, I was seriously distressed by the veggies- boiled? Steamed?! Where was the bacon?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • kitty

      yes, Niki's West in B'ham. Also, Sarris' Cafeteria and Louis' Fine Foods in Pelham, ALABAMA, have GREAT cafeteria food! YAY Southern food!

      February 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  28. southern hospitality

    this really looks delicious

    January 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  29. Jeff in Durham

    Yep. Been there, tasted that....and been back many times. Great memories of family gatherings in the back rooms of cafeterias. Article made me hungry...even reading it after lunch. Thanks!

    January 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  30. sockpuppet

    I am curious as to why people prefer a cafeteria to a buffet-we don't have cafeterias outside of schools and hospitals around here so I don't understand it

    January 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Old Timer

      I'm not a fan of buffets or cafeterias, but I'd wager it has a great deal to do with fond childhood memories.

      January 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • mamatiger92

        Not as many cafeteria-style restauarants left in the South. Fortunately, there is an abundance of family owned "meat & 3's" to provide Southern comfort food. I live an active lifestyle and am pretty health conscious when it comes to my diet, but every once in a while, I have to have some country fried steak, fried okra & collards.

        January 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
      • JiminyCat

        Old timer, I think you hit the nail on the head. To me, there's a lot better food to be had in this world, but having grown up on an occasional visit to caffeterias with my grandmother and family as a kid and young adult kind of makes it extra comforting comfort food. Just thinking of it makes me homesick.

        February 1, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MoodyMoody

      Because you pay only for what you get. You can get out of K&W for about the same price as a fast-food joint if you get an entree, a couple of veggies, and a drink. It isn't precisely health food, but it's still a lot healthier than fast food. At a buffet, you are tempted to eat a lot more than you really need "to get your money's worth."

      January 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
      • Kat Kinsman

        I like that. As weird as it sounds, there's portion control. It's incredibly inexpensive, and since you have paid for it, you can feel free to take home any excess if you feel so inclined. Extra hush puppies for the road? Why the heck not.

        January 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |

    You won't have to go to NC for a K&W. We have a number of them in SC;and they are in Greenville and Myrtle Beach!
    Come on down!

    January 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      My sister lives in Greenville. I'm coming on down soon!

      January 31, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  32. Sarah

    I'm not a fan of K&W.....but a friend of mine LOVES it so I've been a couple of times. I find thier food to be bland, greasy, and over cooked.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  33. Amber C.

    It's killing me to read/see this. I love cafeterias and Utah doesn't have a single one. We just have over priced buffets. Not even close to how awesome cafeterias are. Miss them.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  34. KWilson

    My husband's grandfather (Kenneth Wilson) was one of the original founders of K&W Restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC. The K stands for Kenneth. Though the restaurant was sold to Grady Allred in 1941 and he is due sole credit in turning the cafeteria into what it is today, my husband is very proud of his grandfather's place in K&W history. My in-laws have the restaurant's original ledger from 1937 and the chocolate cream pie is still made exactly the way it was back then, using Kenneth's mother's recipe.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Greensboro Girl

      My family and I (including extended family, when they visit) frequently visit the Greensboro K&W. When we lived in Asheville, we loved J&S Cafeteria. Love, love, love the turkey/dressing & baked spaghetti (not at the same time, of course).

      February 1, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Dax Allred

      Hello KWilson, I am a grandson of Grady Allred Sr. and the current President of K&W Cafeterias, Inc. I would love to speak with you and discuss our shared family ties to the origins of K&W. On a separate note, thank you Kat Kinsman for the unsolicited and favorable article. I have enjoyed reading the enthusiastic comments it generated. We are celebrating our 75th anniversary and look forward to serving good food at a reasonable price for many years to come. To address some of the less positive comments, we have many Heart Healthy items to choose from every meal every day at all 35 of our locations. We hope to see you soon!

      February 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  35. Debra

    I'll take "Red's Little School House" at the end of Woodley Rd outside of Mtg AL any day of the week. No chain there, independent and authentic.

    January 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • sci

      I LOVE "Red's Little School House"! Fabulous food! I moved from Montgomery in '96 but still tell people about the food there...especially the cheese apples.

      January 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  36. JiminyCat

    I grew up in Dallas with Furrs and Luby's (luckily, Furrs was a name only, not a dish). Living now in NJ, I suppose the closest relative to the cafeteria is the diner. But there's no chicken fried steak with gravy & smothered onions, no broiled square fish with a mayo crumb crust, and there's no fried okra! Sigh!

    January 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • JiminyCat

      ... OH! I can't leave out Hubbard's cafeteria. It was not a chain but was a privately owned establishment right on the line between Dallas & Richardson! As young children, much to the amusement of diners, my siblings & I used to dance to the piano (and player) they had there! It closed when I was about ten years old. They did not close without leaving us fond lifelong memories.

      January 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
      • Steve - Dallas

        And don't forget Highland Park Cafeteria. It's no longer in Highland Park... moved to Lakewood years ago, but the food is still the same.

        January 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Ryan

      Oh Furrs and Luby's!! I'm from Georgetown, TX and there is a Luby's in Round Rock and there used to be a Furrs in Austin. We ate at the one in Corpus last year and I was far from impressed but Luby's in great! I love the fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and a big sweet tea with a nice piece of pie. Yummy!

      February 1, 2012 at 7:13 am |
      • TXmartian

        I'm from West Texas – Furrs left our area many years ago but I still remember the pies! Luby's is still in the area and still a favorite. I'm living in OK now where there are only the buffet style chains and this article has made me homesick!

        February 1, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  37. Picadilly

    Here in Mississippi, it is all about the Piccadilly cafeteria. There is no better place on the planet for old church people to get loaded up on comfort food.

    January 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Greensboro Girl

      Grew up eating at the Picadilly in Chattanooga, TN. Their coconut cream pie was the bomb!

      February 1, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  38. Central Georgian

    I've never seen a K&W in Georgia, but we still have S&W Cafeteria, and it sounds exactly the same. I agree with the commenter that Piccadilly is a pale imitation of Morrison's.

    January 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Central Georgian

      Oops. I meant S&S. S&W went away twenty years ago.

      February 1, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  39. Kathi O.

    Lifelong Southeast Texan, and I LOVE cafeterias. We have Luby's chain here–wonderful, wonderful home-cooked food. Great seafood dishes! We also have Picadilly cafeterias in neighboring Southwest Louisiana. Not as good as Luby's, in my opinion, but worth a trip. Hope our cafeterias never disappear, but with young people's eating habits (eating habits of families nowadays in general–no one eats home-cooked food around the table at the same time anymore), they are in danger.

    January 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  40. HappyBooker

    Jeff Foxworthy bases a whole lot of his act on Southern-isms and he is laughing all the way to the bank! It's just seeing the phrases spelled out that makes them strange. Hearing them, as she says, shortcuts the ears and goes straight to the brain. We are left with Luby's in my area of Texas, and while I love their liver and onions and jalapeno cornbread, many of the K&W-type entrees are no longer served. We still have fried okra, fried eggplant, and fried squash though!

    January 31, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  41. Beth

    I bet you that I can fix similar dishes and, because I'm Southern and know (round-abouts) how they make their dishes, that the writer of this article would fall in-love with them, too.

    January 31, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I would sosososososo happily be willing to test out that assertion! When's supper?

      January 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  42. stephenpe

    We had Morrisons for many year in North Fla but it became Piccadilly and just aint the same.
    I get the author. She loves southern food served cafeteria style. Who wouldn't?

    January 31, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  43. Robyn Cleveland

    My first job was at a Wyatt's Cafeteria in Texas. I still remember serving up the "Mini Plates" (a half serving of meat, two veg,–fried okra? black-eyed peas?– and a roll or cornbread muffin) for the Oldies who came in on a budget. I spent glorious lunch breaks with bbq and mashed potatoes...Would you like cream, brown, or natural gravy with that??? Food has never been so good since....

    January 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • RichardHead@Robyn C.

      I too remember Wyatt's Cafeteria in Garland, Texas. Casa Linda Plaza to be exact. Excellent home cooked food at a reasonable price.

      January 31, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
      • WestTexan

        WYATT'S! Oh, man! A family favorite. They closed down, I think, right about the same time my family moved to West Texas, where there were NO Wyatt's, but we do have Luby's and Furr's. Neither of which are AS good as Wyatt's was, but will do in a pinch, when the desire for chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, side of fried okra and coconut-cream pie for dessert just becomes too overwhelming. Dang. I'm starving.

        February 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  44. AJ

    I understand the author is trying to be "cute" but this is (in my opinion) not an honest praise of K&W, it's more like a disguised rant. Transcribing how people talk worked for Mark Twain, but in this case it seems disrespectful to me. Although I am sure it was not intended to be.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • BK

      Wow. Project much?

      January 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      It was not meant at all to be disrespectful. There are many, many, many Southerners in my life personally and professionally, of all all ages and origins, and the unique phrasing of the K&W language comes up frequently. It's affectionate and done with love, I promise.

      And I'm not the first, by far:

      January 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
      • LC

        As a literate and educated southern woman (writing software and documents for a living) I can tell you – this is how we TALK! I'm sure no disrespect was intended, and none is taken. Thanks for a charming article that brought me back to an era I grew up with. Now pardon me, I'm off to fry some okra!

        January 31, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  45. Jackie Wilson's supervisor

    Kind of a strange and disjointed...article...I guess you would call it.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  46. Sara

    Is it bad that I immediately recognized that K&W? (University Mall, Chapel Hill NC)

    I wish they'd serve chicken stew / chicken and dumplings every day. Some days I have a real yen for it, and I go, and they don't have it. Makes me sad. My father loves K&W, and he's no longer allowed to drive, so when he comes to visit me I always take him to the cafeteria.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      That is exactly the one! And they don't always have the vegetable congeal, sadly.

      January 31, 2012 at 10:11 am |
      • Dax Allred

        Hello Kat Kinsman, I hope you receive this message as I want to thank you for the great article on K&W Cafeterias. I enjoyed reading it as well as the reader comments. As a Grandson of Grady Allred Sr., it warms my heart to know how much K&W means to so many people. The timing of your article could not have been better as it coincides with our 75th anniversary. Thank you again!

        February 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Kanes & Walkers

      Me too - it's especially fun to eat there on the night of a UNC basketball game when everyone in line is wearing Tar Heel shirts! But of all the K&Ws in North Carolina (and I think I've eaten at all of them), the one at Cameron Village in Raleigh is the best.

      January 31, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • Sara

        Cameron Village is nice, I ate there once with my sister.

        The only one I know of in Charlotte is a bit iffy. It's quite a way from my parents' house, which was inconvenient even when daddy could drive. There was a similar cafeteria closer to their house, the J&K Cafeteria, which will always be my favorite even though it's closed now.

        January 31, 2012 at 10:47 am |
      • SouthernCelt

        The one in Knightdale is pretty good too (assuming it is still there) and probably quieter than Cameron Village.

        January 31, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • KR

      It might be bad, but you're not alone. I knew it immediately as well.

      Kat, please tell me you at least popped into Southern Season while you were at U Mall!

      January 31, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        I sorta base my entire Christmas around a visit to the in-laws, then getting to Chapel Hill on Boxing Day to see my best friend, eat at K&W and take advantage of the post-Christmas sale at A Southern Season (and maybe a side-trip to pick up livermush at the Harris Teeter and see Bill Smith over at Crooks Corner!)

        January 31, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • Sara

        I worked at A Southern Season in college, and since it was sold recently, it's sort of a trip to go in there and see everyone in yellow shirts and jeans. It hasn't been the same in years though. Even the Wall o' Chocolate isn't as good as it used to be.

        January 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Why go to K&W if Crook's is open?

      January 31, 2012 at 11:52 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        Oh - Crooks as well. Believe me, Crooks. And Bill Smith & I often talk about our mutual love for K&W. We have pretty much the same order, but he gets the seven layer salad, if they have it.

        January 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • SouthernCelt

        All this is making me miss an honest to goodness Pig Pickin'. I haven't been to one in years.

        January 31, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
      • Kat Kinsman

        Ooooh! I went to a FIVE PIG pickin' last week! Pitmasters from all over the South did it five different ways. I'm still recovering, but I would pass away happily. Here's a link if you'd care to see:

        January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • Rev Irrev

        Why go to Kanedubya if Crook's is open? Would you take your Momma to Crook's? Conversely, would you go to Kanedubya hung over? I rest my case.

        February 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  47. SouthernCelt

    "The South" is rapidly disappearing due to people like the author of this article. Please, stay where you are, and let K&W come to you.

    January 31, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Well, I'm from Kentucky, married a man from North Carolina and my whole family is about to relocate in South Carolina, so I'm afraid you're stuck with me. How about some of that nice Southern hospitality? I'll extend the same courtesy if you should venture to New York.

      Kat, a proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance

      January 31, 2012 at 10:16 am |
      • Sara

        What part of SC, and are you going to be able to keep writing for Eatocracy?

        January 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        I'm staying put in Brooklyn, but I'll be visiting a lot. My sister near Greenville and my parents are moving there. In-laws have a place near Myrtle Beach. I'm delighted to be able come down more! I hop to NC lots.

        January 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • SouthernCelt

        If you are from Kentucky then why did you say you were giving up your life in the North? Kentucky is not North. If you married a Tar Heel then that gives you an automatic exemption and you should have mentioned it before. Welcome, but I have no desire or intention of ever setting foot in New York. I've been there and that was enough.

        January 31, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        It's weird about Kentucky. The Northern part of Kentucky is the North, and I grew up 5 minutes from Cincinnati. People from further South in KY treated us like Northerners, but people from Ohio - which I could see from my neighbor's driveway - well, they'd say awful things. It's sort of no man's land.

        As for Raleigh - it's really interesting how it's shifting, and my colleagues at Defining America did a study of the demographic changes in NC. Worth a look:

        For what it's worth, Southern food, and the preservation of tradition is one of the greatest passions of my life. I spend a lot of time working with the Southern Foodways Alliance (the piece, by the way, was originally written for their magazine, and we went with a different take on K&W for the print version), and while the conversation and translation of culture isn't always easy and smooth, it's something that matters to me. Even from where I live in Brooklyn.

        P.S. Livermush!

        January 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Xtina

        Kat–hopefully you have noted that there is a K & W in N. Myrtle Beach, when you visit there with your in-laws. Also, make sure you go to The Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg, SC–it's more of a greasy-spoon drive-in, but food is awesome and lots of it.

        February 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • NCMatt

      "The South" is disappearing for many unfortunate reasons.... one of which is an influx of transplanted people who bring their own traditions and food culture while continuing to ignore or look down upon that of their new home.

      Either way, Kat seems to have an appreciation for what she is writing about... even if I'm not sure I approve of the Twain-style quotes. She can be allowed to continue to visit... :-)

      January 31, 2012 at 11:01 am |
      • SouthernCelt

        Visitors are always welcome (good for the local economy) but they should go home eventually. I bemoan the fact that Raleigh is no longer the town I grew up in and I blame the transplants for wrecking it. When I get homesick I miss what I remember and not what has happened to it in the last 20 years.

        January 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Scott

      I know what I would like to see rapidly dissappear......Southerncelt

      February 2, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  48. Kathleen

    Luby's Cafeteria. (Texas and the South) I miss Luby's every day of my life!

    January 31, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  49. exactly.

    we have MCL Cafeteria's up north. MCL= MediCare Lounge. For old people who don't remember what real food tastes like. It's a cafeteria for crying out loud. Disgusting.

    January 31, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • agFinder

      Disgusting ... and you've never eaten there? Do you really think everything is like it is 'up north'? It's not, but btw, please stay put. We've got enough bad attitude northerners in the South already and hardly need one more.

      January 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Miss the South

      exactly., you are right. I'm a former North Carolinian living in Ohio. I was hoping MCL Cafeteria would be like the beloved K&W of my home state; however, it was, as you say, disgusting. I try to get a K&W "fix" every time I go back home.

      February 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
| Part of

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,989 other followers