From 1989 to 1992, my office was in Tucker, about three miles from Matthews Cafeteria and we’d eat there once or twice a month. In 1992, our office moved to Norcross and the journey became longer and the visit less frequent. We’d head down there once every couple of months, generally on a Thursday for the fried pork chops. In 1998, the office moved to Duluth and Matthews “dropped off our radar”. I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve eaten there in the last decade.
Today, when we were discussing lunch options, our youngest chose the chicken and I started looking at the direction in which we were heading and the choices along the way. I googled “Atlanta fried chicken” and found this article from Access Atlanta. It said that Matthews was the reader’s favorite. So off to Tucker we went.
We entered the familiar cafeteria line and it could have been 1992, 2002 or 2012. It looked very much the same. Today’s choices were fried perch, fried chicken, meatloaf, roast beef and a passel of vegetables. We’d gone there for fried chicken and that’s what all three of us chose.I selected mashed potatoes and gravy and black-eyed peas to go with mine. The ladies had the mashed potatoes, pan-fried squash, creamed corn and green beans. The vegetables were all good (we cleaned all three plates, except for the chicken bones), but the chicken was the star. Tender, juicy and with a skin perfectly fried.I can see why the AJC readers chose Matthews. Comparing it to the AJC’s choices, I haven’t eaten at Buckner’s in forever, but I’d definitely choose Matthews’ as the winner when the competition was the Collonade, Gladys Knight and Ron Winan’s House of Chicken and Waffles and Busy Bee. This was a really good choice – I’d forgotten how good the food was at Matthews.
As I was finishing up my meal, I kept thinking about that strawberry shortcake at the beginning of the buffet line. So I went back and picked one up (for $1.98!) This heavenly concoction was a double layer of shortcake, with strawberries in the middle, topped with strawberries and whipped cream. I’d stack this up against Strawberries On a Cloud any day. And I may have liked this better, as it had a little more substance. What a way to top off a meal!