I've spent the past three weeks talking to corporate offices of various restaurants for today's front page story. I would much rather deal with local owners of anything than go through the hoops of tracking down phone numbers for media relations, getting referred elsewhere then waiting for those call backs.
It's a major pain.
But the restaurant rumor mill has been stopped at least for a moment. I hope everyone is not too disappointed.
I returned to Minden three months ago after six years of city life in Biloxi, Miss., and in Shreveport and I have to say, it's so nice to be able to choose from dozens of restaurants and bars. I lived a block from Monjuni's – so nice!
But I have to admit, there's a few things those places (one or the other) didn't have and they were always my first stops when rolling back into town for a weekend with the family.
So maybe Minden doesn't and won't have a Chili's or Cracker Barrel, but it does have a few things I didn't appreciate until I couldn't get them anymore.
1. Southern Maid donuts at Hamburger Happiness. There is no better breakfast than a Southern Maid donut so warm out of the fryer that the icing just oozes onto your fingers. I have a rule in consuming these rings of deliciousness (also known as power rings by cops and journalists): if you eat one, you have to eat two – one for each hip.
2. Johnny's Pizza. I am a pizza connoisseur. Anytime I travel to a new place, I always try the place recommended by locals and they are always delicious in their own right, but there's something about a Johnny's pepperoni with light sauce and extra cheese that makes me blow my diet every time.
3. Buena Comida. Even while living afar, I still did a lot of personal business in Minden and it was always a treat to meet my sister or former coworkers for the awesomeness of Buena Comida.
My sister ate there so much when she was pregnant that as soon as my nephew could hold things, he was dipping chips in salsa. To this day, as the noon hour approaches, not a week goes by that someone in the newsroom doesn't say, "I wish we could go to Buena Comida for lunch."
Today is my mom's birthday, and it's a sad day that we can't have her birthday dinner at our go-to place.
4. Cotton's Chicken. During my tour of duty at the Shreveport Times, whenever we had a potluck lunch, someone always asked, "Who's going to Minden?" That big box of fried, spicy, juicy deliciousness was always the first to go. I've tried eating fried chicken elsewhere, but nothing ever compares. So I just gave up and waited to satisfy my fried chicken craving until I could go to Cotton's.
I know these places are the same old, same old, but they are to be celebrated not only for their deliciousness but also for being locally-owned and (except that one) still around after all these years.