Feed Your Soul: The Kitchen in downtown Monroe
Just after sunrise and sometimes before, the kitchen at “The Kitchen” is already hot. That’s because the breakfast regulars are here by 7:00 a.m.
As breakfast is being served Pat Reed is starting on the dumplings. That is if it’s Wednesday. Reed has been manning the mixer at the kitchen for more than 35 years.
She was here the day James and Mary Traylor opened on Memorial Day 1984.
Hand rolling and precision cutting the dough, lots of dough. She admits it wasn’t her favorite job back then.
“I hate dumpling day. Now after I got it down to my way of doing it and a simple way and I can roll probably 15 gallons in an hour and half,” said Pat Reed, a cook at “The Kitchen”.
“Why am I ordering the dumplings? Because they’re good. That’s why. You’ve had them before? I’ve had them before and I won’t go anywhere else to get them,” said Allen, a Kitchen customer.
Frank Anzalone walks over from his office, with a path in the grass to prove it, for breakfast and lunch.
“I feel like I’m part of the family here and that’s exactly how you feel when you come to the kitchen. It’s remarkable,” said Frank Anzalone, who eats at the kitchen twice a day.
For Terri Kent, that’s what this business is all about. Family.
“My Daddy taught us the two most important things if the front door is open one of us has to be here and know your customers,” said Terri Kent, whose dad opened in the kitchen in 1984.
Terri’s dad passed away in 2014. Her Mom Mary still comes in most every day to help out.
“The secret is low price good food and making them feel like they’re family,” said Mary Traylor, who opened the restaurant with her husband.
Besides homemade country cooking, there are also crazy good cheeseburgers. You can even get it on their special jalapeno cornbread, imported exclusively from Pennsylvania.
You can bet I’ll be back for the vittles but I also want to come back for the vintage décor. Everything from old timey coffee pots to Coca-cola collectibles. The place is wallpapered with way back when washing machines and choo choo trains. Making a pitstop at the kitchen is a tasty trip back in time.
“We don’t try to make a lot of money we try to make a living,” said Traylor.
“We just feel like God blessed us here. We have a lot of good customers,” said Kent.
For more great dining destinations in Louisiana, go to www.louisianatravel.com/culinary .