In Cartersville there is a long standing rivalry between two classic diners. Some people prefer 4 Way Lunch while others swear by Ross Diner. With only one morning in town I channeled my inner hobbit and made room for second breakfast at Ross Diner. The restaruant is located at 17 N. Wall Street across town from the “other diner,” and has been serving good food with quick service since 1945.
Walking in the front door I was warmly greeted and within moments had a steaming cup of coffee in my hand. The ceramic mug vibrated as a train slowly rumbled over the tracks which slice Cartersville in two.
“Get used of the trains. They come by about every 30 minutes,” said the cook who called to me from the back of the restaurant.
Polished aluminum stools topped with burgundy vinyl cushions surrounded a large u-shaped formica countertop. Two sheriff’s deputies and a local attorney chatted over breakfast on three stools near the kitchen. Behind them a relic from another time, a payphone, hung on the wall.
The breakfast menu at Ross Diner is straightforward offering eggs, pancakes, a choice of meats, grits, and biscuits. I ordered two eggs over easy with sliced tomatoes. For my meat I decided to be bold and selected fried bologna. While waiting for my second meal of the day the waitress filled me in on local gossip while I probed to see how deep the local rivalry between the two old school diners ran.
“Have you ever eaten at 4 Way Lunch?” I asked. “I have lived in Cartersville for 35 years and been there only once. Mind you I didn’t eat anything. It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s just that I don’t want to go there,” she replied with a smile in her sweet Georgia accent.
An oval beige plate was slid in front of me. The eggs were cooked as ordered and the tomatoes were juicy and ripe. I had never eaten fried bologna and cut into the slightly charred pink meat with a bit of apprehension. It was delicious and turned out to be my favorite part of the meal.
My plate was cleared away, and rather than rushing out to make room for another customer I had a second cup of coffee, read The Daily Tribune News from front page to back, and shot the breeze with Ricky, the cook, who at one time played basketball for Daytona State College.
Ross Diner is open Mon – Thur 6:30 am – 2:30 p.m. , Fri 6:30 am – 8:00 pm, and Sat from 6:30 am – 2:30 pm. The restaurant can be found on Facebook and contacted by telephone at (770) 382-9159.
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