Rural Missouri - November 2012 - (Page 16)

O U T O F T H E W A Y E A T S M by Jim McCarty The place for pan-fried chicken and more aybe it’s the location near historic Route 66. Or it could be the giant chicken roosting in the back of a red El Camino. For some reason, Tony Sherrer doesn’t mind being behind the times when it comes to the menu at the restaurant he and his wife, Melissa, own at Doolittle. “Cookin’ From Scratch is the name, but it’s also the way we do things,” Join Editor Jim McCarty on he says. his visit to Cookin’ from “EveryScratch in the online edition thing at here starts from nothing. It might take a little more time, but the end result is just so much better.” Just about everything at this diner off Interstate 44 is done the hard way, from hand-pattying the burgers to peeling 700 to 800 pounds of potatoes every week. Even the rolls are homemade at Cookin’ From Scratch. “In our business, you have to set yourself apart,” says Tony, a member of Gascosage Electric Cooperative. “What sets Cookin’ From Scratch apart is we still do those things that take time versus just buying them in a box and putting them on a plate.” One glimpse at the diner’s awards wall, and you will know the specialty here: pan-fried chicken, cooked in the best oil money can buy. This time-tested cooking method creates a crispy outside that’s not greasy inside. “You’ve got to have a barrage of cast-iron skillets,” Tony says. “Your chicken is never completely submerged, and that is the difference. It does take 45 minutes to cook a pan of chicken, just like Grandma did on Sundays after church.” Another staple is the burgers, which rival fried chicken as the best seller. “It’s almost a lost art,” Tony says of the burgers he sells. “The fried hamburger that people grew up with and mom would fix for dinner at night, we still produce that here.” The rib-eye steaks follow the same theme. They are USDA Choice Angus beef, aged 27 days, and cut fresh. While you always will find panfried chicken, other items will vary with each visit. On Thursdays, you might be treated to slow-roasted prime rib. On Friday, it’s all-you-caneat catfish. On weekends and during the sum- Tony and Melissa Sherrer own Cookin’ From Scratch, which is home to pan-fried chicken, homemade pies and the Route 66 King of the Road Burger, shown here. Cookin’ From Scratch Specialties: Pan-fried chicken, handpattied burgers and homemade pies. Price: Sandwiches from $5.39 to $7.49; entrées from $5.99 to $14.99. Cash and major credit cards accepted. Details: Open Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in summer except Sunday when it closes at 3 p.m. Smoking allowed in separate area. Seats 100. Catering available. Directions: Just off Interstate 44 south of Rolla at exit 179. Contact: 573-762-3111; doolittlemissouri WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP Doolittle • mer, Cookin’ From Scratch opens at 7 a.m. for a breakfast you won’t soon forget. “We have one of the best country breakfasts out there,” Tony says. “We do a lot of unique items, like the Lumberjack, the Traveler and our sampler plate.” One breakfast and dinner favorite is the bone-in ham steak, made just for Cookin’ From Scratch. Locally sourced foods play a big role at the diner, too. This is especially apparent in the delightful pies made fresh daily. “Our pies are a work of art,” Tony relates. You will find the best seller, coconut cream, every day. But depending on the season, there also might be peach pie made with fresh peaches from southeast Missouri or cobblers using Missouri apples. From the crust to the filling to the mile-high meringue, everything is made from scratch. While the giant chicken car has been drawing folks off the interstate for years, a new attraction has been added to the diner, which opened in 1985. Two years ago, Tony and a close friend brainstormed ideas for a food challenge. They came up with the Route 66 King of the Road Burger. This behemoth starts with 66 ounces of fresh ground beef that is fried with a cast-iron griddle on top. It takes 45 minutes just to cook the burger and longer to make the homemade 9-inch-wide bun. Those attempting the challenge get 66 minutes to eat the burger — loaded with nine slices of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and horseradish sweet pickles — along with 1.5 pounds of fries. About 150 people have taken the challenge, but only five have completed it. “It is a pretty tough challenge,” Tony says of the $36.99 burger, which will feed five to seven. “But we sell a lot of these to families that want to split it up.” Then there’s the daily specials such as country ribs and sauerkraut. Winter offerings include a meaty chili and homemade vegetable soup. Another specialty is the Doolittle Club, made with chicken breast piled with ham, bacon, Swiss cheese and barbecue sauce. Tony says his suppliers get him the freshest ingredients. “The bottom line is we cut no corners here to provide the best experience for our customers,” he says. With the from-scratch philosophy, there isn’t much the cooks here won’t attempt. “Come give us a try,” Tony says. “We are the original country cooking destination.” 16 http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2012

Rural Missouri - November 2012
Doing away with the ‘old scrub bull’
Cooperation among co-ops
Addicted to duck calls
Out of the Way Eats
Redefining rustic
Best of rural Missouri
Hearth and Home
Sleep like the grain
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - November 2012