I make no excuses for my love of good food, and I try as much as possible to get out in the Rome community and eat at different places.
I’ll eat pretty much anywhere. I am just as comfortable in a little hole-in-the-wall mom and pop diner as I am in a fast food restaurant or in a fancy-schmancy establishment. Although, truth be told, I try to avoid anywhere I need to dress up to go to. I’m all about enjoying my meal while being comfortable, and those who know me will tell you that I’m most comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt, wearing flip flops or my camo crocks. But I digress. This column is another installment of my favorite foods in Rome and Floyd County. From time to time I’ll list some of the dishes and delicacies all over town that I think are worth mentioning.
These are in no particular order and I’m always adding new places and food items as I sample them in and around Rome.
Shack Potato at Shane’s Rib shack — this is one of my go-to lunch items. It’s a big ole baked potato, but they put barbecue chicken or pork on top. So you get your carbs and your protein in one place. It’s so tasty and filling. I get a side of jalapenos and a cup of their peach tea and I’m in heaven. If I want to deviate from the shack potato every once in a while, I’ll get the grilled chicken tenders tossed in Buff-a-Q sauce with a side of sweet potato fries. The fact that the tenders are grilled and since sweet potatoes are a super food, it makes me delude myself into thinking I’m eating healthy. Don’t spoil it for me by telling me otherwise.
Hot Brown at Chick-fil-A Dwarf House — This is a menu item on the fancy side of Chick-fil-A. You know how when you go in the Dwarf House (on Shorter Ave.) you can either go to the fancy side where you sit and they come take your order or the non-fancy side where you stand at the counter and order? Well this is a menu item on the fancy side. It’s a warm, open-faced sandwich with turkey and bacon covered in a delicious sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. Other than being delicious, this sandwich connects me to my Kentucky roots since it was created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky in 1926. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go and let me know what you think. Also, I just learned this recently and I don’t even know if I should be telling y’all, but did you know that at our Dwarf House, if you’re in the drive-thru, you can order from the fancy side menu, not just from the regular drive-thru menu? You’re welcome.
Smoked wings at Moe’s BBQ — So the new barbecue place that opened in the Cotton Block is pretty good. I like to sit outside when I go and I always seem to order the smoked wings ’cause they’re delectable. I admit I’ve never actually had the barbecue there, because I always go back to the wings. They’re perfectly smoked (and come with a white sauce) and I get ’em with a side of baked beans and slaw. I also recommend trying their pork rinds with your meal.
Kabob plate at Jerusalem Grill — I really like this restaurant and I’m always finding something new I like there. I used to eat the kofta a lot, which is sort a meatball made with minced beef and lamb and spices. I also really like their kabob plates. The chicken kabobs are so good — you get several pieces of flavorful meat and a couple skewers of veggies on a bed of rice. It also comes with a little salad and some of their flat bread. Even if you’re a little hesitant about Middle Eastern food, I encourage you to give this dish a shot and see if you’re not convinced.
Chicken Rice Bowl at Bojangles — It’s always Bo-time as far as I’m concerned. Whenever I go for lunch I always get the chicken rice bowl. It’s a mixture of their flavorful rice and beans and includes cubes of grilled chicken. It’s filling and delicious. It comes with melted cheese on top but I ask them to hold the cheese. And I like to throw a little hot sauce on there for good measure.
Chicken soup at El Zarape — This is a mainstay on my Rome food list because it’s so good. I ask for no rice in my soup because I don’t like the mushy texture when you get to the bottom of the bowl, but if you like rice in your soup then have at it. The broth is so dang flavorful with onions, tomatoes, avocados and cilantro gracing your bowl.
Cajun Shrimp Salad at Rome City Brewing Co. — If you’re trying to get that beach bod and want something that feels a little lighter but still has a bunch of flavor, try this salad. The shrimp is so delicious with its Cajun seasoning and it comes on a bed of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red cabbage and topped with (I think) Parmesan cheese. It’s so good but you feel like you’re eating healthy. Pair it with one of the Brewing Company’s local beers and have yourself a great evening.
Rusty Dipper at Speakcheesy — Speakcheesy is a food truck that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches. But they always have quirky and delicious variations on the average grilled cheese. Now I don’t know how often they change their menu but one of the best sandwiches I’ve had was their Rusty Dipper. It’s chopped chicken salad with toasted walnuts, cranberries and smoked gouda. Since they are a food truck they move around pretty often. Hunt ’em down and try this sandwich if it’s still on the menu. Or try something new and let me know how it is. I’m always looking to try new things. My list of favorite local dishes is ALWAYS expanding so if you’ve got a favorite meal anywhere in Rome and Floyd County let me know about it and I’ll go give it a try. It just might end up in my column one day.
Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune.