Set your alarm and let these eateries set your table
“Just try to learn what your company is fondest of and have their favorites. A few things well ordered will never fail to give a greater appetite, and pleasure to your guests.”
With that advice, Lettice Bryan of Washington County set down nearly 1,300 receipts—as recipes were once known—in The Kentucky Housewife. Published in 1839, it is considered to be Kentucky’s first published cookbook.
Inside are at least 16 different preparations for eggs, 36 recipes for pastries—nine of which are fruit tarts, including one for a whortleberry fruit tart—and an entire chapter devoted to “Warm Cakes, &c. for Breakfast and Tea.”
Breakfast—like Bryan’s advice—was a big deal then, and it still holds today.
Biscuits and grits—with treasures
WINDY HOLLOW RESTAURANT AND MUSEUM
8260 State Route 81, Owensboro | (270) 785-4088 (A second location, Windy Hollow Biscuit House, is planned for 630 Emory Drive, Owensboro—check website or Facebook page for updates.)
HOURS: Open Sundays only: 7 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
It’s a biscuits-and-gravy kind of place with country cooking on the menu and cowboy keepsakes in the on-site museum.
Windy Hollow Restaurant is delicious proof of the wisdom of Bryan’s words two centuries later: “There will be a time to crowd your table with delicacies.”
The restaurant, served by Kenergy Corp., has offered its Sunday Country Ham Breakfast Buffet since 1968.
“Our buffet hasn’t changed much, and we use recipes used by my uncle and also a couple from my mother, Deanna Miller,” says owner Evelyn “Rooster” Miller. “My mother fixed garlic cheese grits for Christmas with the Kraft garlic roll and challenged me to come up with this recipe in 2011. The grits have been the last change to our buffet.”
The grits are among customer favorites, topping a list that also includes fresh-cracked scrambled eggs, thick cut bacon, homemade doughnuts, banana pudding and fried chicken.
The original restaurant was built in 1964 by Miller’s uncle, Tom Miller. Her father, Hal Miller, took it over 10 years later, operating it until 2016, when Evelyn took the reins—but she had already been involved in the restaurant for over 40 years.
“I started around 1974, when I was tall enough to wash dishes,” she says. “I always wanted to help my dad at the restaurant and museum.”
The museum part of the restaurant is home to the Hal Miller Collection, comprising thousands of pieces of memorabilia, including World War II items, farm tools and equipment, vintage telephones and other treasures—so many that the History Channel’s American Pickers (Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz) paid a call on the museum in 2016. They had breakfast, too, especially enjoying the homemade doughnuts.
Adding to the museum mix are cowboy posters from a never-released cowboy movie, The Marshal of Windy Hollow, starring Tex Ritter, which was filmed in 1972, the year the restaurant burned down. It was rebuilt, burned down again in 2006 and the Millers moved to an old restaurant 2 miles away, which Evelyn’s dad was able to open in only 90 days.
Through it all, the family and its small staff of 11 put the Windy Hollow recipe for success—and that Sunday Country Ham Breakfast Buffet—into action:
“We’re open Sundays only; we’ve had the same great food for 50-plus years and the customers are like family,” says Miller. “As for the museum, as Dad said, ‘there’s lots of history in there!’”