The Whistle Stop in Glendale—food the way your grandma would cook
Famous Fried Green Tomatoes. Mama’s Famous Meatloaf. Bean Soup and Cornbread. Coconut Meringue Pie. Those are just a few of The Whistle Stop’s top sellers.
“I describe it as southern scratch cooking, the way your grandma would cook,” says Lynn Cummins, who bought the restaurant with husband, Mike, in 2005.
Perhaps the most well-known item on The Whistle Stop’s menu is the fried green tomatoes. You simply must try them.
“Our meatloaf is a top seller, too. People love it”, says Lynn. “We make it here. It’s kind of a sweet meatloaf, made fresh every day. Our fried chicken is popular because we bread it and do not fry it until you order it. It comes right out of the fryer, right to you. I think this sets us apart than most restaurants.”
The restaurant serves at least a dozen sides and is also known for its variety of homemade meringue pies.
The Whistle Stop’s history
The 100-year-old building began as Glendale’s grocery store, and it was later a hardware store owned by James and Idell Sego. Idell added sandwiches and soon the restaurant took off. James named it The Whistle Stop for the trains that pass daily and blow their whistles.
Lynn and Mike’s food industry background were as part owners in a theme restaurant called the Ranch House, which were popular in Louisville and southern Indiana in the 1950s and 60s.
The Cumminses visited The Whistle Stop, and Lynn commented to Mike that it was the type of restaurant she’d like to have. “I said something to the owners, somewhat jokingly, ‘When you get ready to sell, let us know.’” The Sego’s visited the Cumminses’ Indiana restaurant a couple of times. “They came to us and said, ‘We are ready to retire, and we’d like you to buy it,’” says Lynn.
The upstairs originally served as a pool hall and phone switchboard, and at one time there were quilts up there, explains Lynn. Around the mid-1980s, they turned it into a buffet area. The Whistle Stop serves buffet meals to groups up to 85, by reservation.
“When we have buffets upstairs, I do most of the cooking for that,” says Lynn. The Whistle Stop serves all types of groups, including Christmas parties, rehearsal dinners, business functions, birthdays and anniversaries. The buffet is chosen from the regular menu.
Lynn says the overall restaurant ambiance and atmosphere is unique and different. “People enjoy looking around the gift shop, which is in a log cabin that is attached to the restaurant.”
The Whistle Stop specials
Some of the recipes are the same ones that have been used at The Whistle Stop for years, Lynn says. “I have introduced some of my own recipes that I’ve found, tried and liked.”
Specials of the week include chicken and dumplings on Wednesday, fried livers on Thursday, Friday night salmon patties and the entree rotates on Saturday. “We usually have a special vegetable every day, which often rotates,” Lynn says. “Fried potatoes and onions is very popular. We did cheesy grits this past Saturday. Sometimes we do pot roast with potatoes and carrots.”
Recipe for The Whistle Stop’s Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese
Drinks include Coca-Cola, fresh brewed sweet and unsweet tea and coffee. They also serve craft sodas, where you can add strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, mango, cherry and vanilla to your Coke.
“We have five full-time cooks and one full-time baker,” she says. With approximately 33 employees, Lynn manages the day-to-day restaurant activities.
More about Glendale
With its convenient location right off Interstate 65, Lynn says The Whistle Stop is a destination spot. “We do have local regulars, who come weekly or monthly, but the bulk of our business comes from everywhere, even overseas,” she says. “We love our regulars. They are faithful and are like family really.”
Lynn says when people come to town they make a day trip of it. “Saturday is still a big day in Glendale, with antiques and other contemporary stores. If we are on an hour and half wait, they simply shop until their table is ready.”
Two of the town’s biggest events are the Spring Festival, the third Saturday in May, with 200 booths and live music in the park, and Glendale Crossing, the third Saturday in October, with 600 or more booths.
The Whistle Stop is open 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.