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Tremendous Tiny's

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Tremendously good, that is. And a tremendous deal. Located near the corner of Greenway and 19th Ave., a bad luck spot formerly housing Lenny’s Burgers and several other restaurants, Tiny’s Country Cafe should turn that bad luck around. This is a family business, run by mom “Tiny” and her daughters. They have a long history in the Phoenix restaurant business starting with The Famous Restaurant on Dunlap, back in the 60’s.

Decorated in country style, with red check plastic tablecloths, lots of down home pictures and hand-lettered signs, a menagerie greets you as you enter. The day’s specials are posted on the walls, but there’s a menu too. We were there for lunch, so we ordered “Family Favorites” fried chicken ($8.99 for a half), and meatloaf ($7.49). These came with soup or salad, real mashed potatoes or fries, vegetables, and a roll or homemade corn bread. Ken enjoyed a cup of three bean soup, loaded with beans and very flavorful. My salad was nice and fresh, topped with green peppers, tomatoes, and, a nice touch, scallions. The cornbread was delicious. Somehow it managed to be both moist and crumbly. Too bad it was served with Country Crock margarine. Both the fried chicken and the french fries were greaseless and perfectly cooked - and there was a light hand on the salt shaker. Ken would have preferred bigger pieces of chicken, but I like the small ones because of the ratio of skin to meat (more crunchy skin), and because often the bigger pieces are bloody near the bone. I found the meatloaf somewhat strange: it had a texture that reminded me of corned beef hash. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the bottom of the slices had been burned on the griddle.

Other offerings on the lunch menu include pork chops ($8.99), chicken fried steak ($7.75), sloppy joe ($5.99) and a variety of sandwiches and burgers and salads. But the real treat here is dessert. I’ve never been able to figure out why people like strawberry pie - now I know! The flavor of the berries shone through the not too sweet glaze, and the crust was delicious. But we were told that the coconut custard and peanut butter pies are even better. Oddly, rice pudding, at around $3.75 was more expensive than the pie.

We’re planning to try breakfast sometime soon. The biscuits and gravy are prize winners. Egg dishes are served with either hash browns or grits. There’s a dish called “hog wild” which is two pork chops, two eggs, and two biscuits covered with country gravy ($8.25). I’ve heard of milk toast, but have never seen it on a menu until now. It’s three slices of buttered, sugared toast with hot milk poured over it ($2.50). Odd. You can get a plate of hash browns topped with fried onions, cheese and sour cream. I can relate to that.

So come to the country for breakfast or lunch, seven days a week, from 6 AM - 2 PM.

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