BRAMWELL — For a taste of true country cooking, stop by the Bramwell Cafe on Main Street here, where the menu promises "Hillbilly Cookin' Fit for a Millionaire."
Try the hoe cakes, fried fruit pies, chicken and dumplings, spaghetti or one of the new burgers with names like Devil Anse, McCoy or Stuffed Trail Blazer.
The cafe is a popular spot for locals as well as tourists and the food is wonderful.
But don't bother asking for the recipes. There aren't any.
"I guess at what goes in it and how much," said chief cook Vicie Haywood. "I raised a big family, cooked for 40 years and don't use recipes."
However, since she has been preparing food in large quantities at the restaurant, she finds it difficult to cook smaller portions at home.
Hoe cakes are cooked in a skillet using leftover dough from her plump, fluffy biscuits. The locals like to slice the bread, spread mayonnaise inside and add a slice of tomato. Legend has it the cakes got their name from farmers who would put leftover biscuit dough on a hoe on a hot day and let it bake in the sun.
Fried pies come in peach, blueberry, cherry and apple, the biggest seller. The fruit is stuffed inside the same kind of dough used for making the hoe cakes and biscuits. The dough has a hint of sweetness.
Top sellers for main courses are spaghetti or chicken and dumplings.
The restaurant is family owned and people in the community pitch in when business is brisk.
In fact, area resident Pearl Dawson volunteers on a regular basis to peel potatoes and wash dishes. On a recent day, her daughter, Fran Wolford, was there to help make sandwiches.
Various businesses have been located where the cafe now stands. Built in 1923, the spot had been vacant for quite a while before the current restaurant opened.
Bonnie Goins, who was serving customers on a recent morning, said her daughter and son-in-law, Dreama and Scott Spangler, opened the cafe five years ago about the same time their twins, Ava and Eli, were born. They are also the parents of Autumn, 12, and Ethan, 10.
"Dreama and Scott wanted to do something for the town," Bonnie Goins said. "The previous restaurant had closed and it was a gathering place."
Business is steady with locals gathering to visit or tour groups calling ahead for meals. On Thursdays, local businesses place lunch orders and volunteers deliver the food.
Area residents are known to drop off a cake or homemade applesauce at the restaurant for folks to share.
"It's not fancy," Goins said. "Families are welcome. Everything is made from scratch. It is not out of boxes or cans."
Some customers call ahead with special requests such as a pan of macaroni and cheese or a pineapple coconut cake. All requests are filled when possible.
Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 pm. Saturday. The Sunday buffet is offered 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Plans call for being open longer to accommodate visitors in town for the Christmas Homes Tour on Dec. 14. Hours that day will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The telephone number is 304-248-7414.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1246.