Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Brother’s Restaurant, Murphy, North Carolina – A great find and a great meal!

If you are looking for a place to eat in Murphy, North Carolina that has lots of parking, a casual atmosphere, good food and reasonable prices – I have just the place for you!  Having recently spent 5 days in Murphy we tried several restaurants and we found ‘Brother’s Restaurant’ to be quite enjoyable.

Very nice casual atmosphere at Brother's Restaurant!

It is in a strip mall but don’t let that turn you off.  While the curb appeal leaves a little to be desired, the interior is clean, comfortable and casual.  The employees were friendly and helpful.  The portions were generous and you won’t leave hungry.

My husband ordered his usual drink, Sprite, and I ordered a lemonade.  I find lemonade is very refreshing on a hot day, and it was hot out!  We sipped our drinks while checking out the menu. Our server also brought out dinner rolls at the same time.

I could go for that salad bar right now!!!

We both ordered the salad bar, which was extra, but worth it.  Just a few of the items are:  two kinds of greens, carrots, cheese, baby corn, broccoli, grape tomatoes and the best pickled beets I’ve ever eaten!  They also had prepared salads and at least 8 types of salad dressing and don’t forget the croutons! 

Blackened Shrimp and wild rice.

My husband ordered the blackened shrimp, wild rice and Cole slaw, which also came with a few hush-puppies.  He said all his items were very good, including the hush-puppies which normally he doesn’t care for!

Rib Eye cooked perfectly!

I ordered the rib eye steak, baked potato and spiced apples.  The steak was cooked medium well, which was how I ordered it.  The potato was hot and the apples were like dessert.

We eat early, as I’ve stated many times, so we basically had the place to ourselves except for two tables.  But just as we were leaving several customers arrived followed by a group of about 16 consisting of couples and kids.  It seems like a very kid friendly place. 

I didn’t check out the restroom, but I would assume it’s as clean as the dining room and host area.  They do sell gift items so if you are looking for a last-minute gift you might find a cute item there.  They even sell Murphy post cards!

All things considered, if Brother’s Restaurant was in our neck of the woods we would go there once a week for sure.  Therefore, unless you are looking for a white table cloth restaurant with high prices, Brother’s is a great option!

Brother’s Restaurant - check their website for the menu, etc.
1466 Andrews Road
Murphy, NC

Photos belong to AbbyG

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Open Door Café, Athens, Tennessee

We are always on the lookout for a restaurant that isn’t an hour ride from our home.  Athens has a few places we like, but it’s time for something different.  Driving through town one day we had the red light at the intersection of West Washington Avenue and South Jackson Street.  I looked up at the old brick building on my left and the sign said, ‘Open Door Café’.  I didn’t remember seeing that before, but it could have been there and it probably has been there but it was new to me!  I admit I had never heard or read about this restaurant before.

When we got home I did a search and I found them on Facebook but I did not see a website.  I found that they are open from 3:00 pm to 3:00 am.   I also found out that this restaurant is located in the old Jackson Hotel on the square, near the courthouse. They do not have their own parking lot, but there is sufficient street parking available. I checked their menu and found several items that I wouldn’t mind trying.  I also read the reviews and decided it would be worth a try to visit the Open Door Café.

We headed to Athens to run a few errands and got to Open Door Café a few minutes before 3:00 pm.  We saw a woman enter so we assumed it was safe to go in.  We could see the dining room was set up with what appeared to be a buffet setup.  We were greeted and told we could not sit in the dining room as they were setting up for a function.  Therefore, we had to sit in the open area near the bar, which isn’t as fancy as the main dining room but not a big deal.  They have a small bar, but according to the menu they have a nice selection of 

I understand the bar can get quite crowded!

I asked our sever a question about the NY steak sandwich and she had to check with someone in the kitchen.  She said she only worked there a few days, which was evident as a few other questions we asked she didn’t have an answer for.  She did follow through and got the answers but it took time with her going back and forth to the kitchen to ask someone.

We ordered our drinks, a Sprite and a sweet tea.  We were the only customers in the place during our entire time there, and we thought service was rather slow.  It even took longer than we expected to get our drinks.  We ordered the shrimp cocktail to start consisting of 8 nice size shrimp and very good cocktail sauce which had a little kick to it!  It also took a while to get those shrimp, but they were still warm, so they obviously were freshly cooked.  

The shrimp cocktail was worth the trip!

My husband’s first thought was to order the fried shrimp po-boy sub, but he changed his mind and got the Kobe burger.  Their ‘sandwiches’ come with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions.  The burger was served with an order of fries.  The burger had a nice char and my husband said it had good flavor.  

Kobe burger with fries

I ordered the NY steak sandwich and substituted the fries for a baked potato.  The potato tasted like it has been re-heated and it wasn’t all that hot.  I asked for my steak without seasonings and it was loaded with Italian seasoning with a very strong oregano presence.  I have issues with seasonings and spices and I paid the price for that oregano for several hours.  While the steak was over-seasoned, it was very tender.  It was served on a toasted sub roll, open face style.  It is best to eat this type of sandwich with a knife and fork however!

NY strip steak sandwich

I wonder how their service is when the restaurant is busy since service was so slow when it was just the two of us.  Several reviews did say service was slow. One review I read compared prices at the Open Door Café to prices at Ruby Tuesday.  Ruby Tuesdays steak prices are a lot less but the quality of their steak is not as good.  My 6 oz steak sandwich was $12 and their regular NY strip steak dinner is $20.95 for an 8 ounce steak and comes with salad, veggie, bread and baked potato.

While there were good points and bad points during this visit, we are tempted to try it again in the future.  I would have to make more of a point that I do not want Italian seasonings on my steak.  By the way, I can understand using Italian seasonings on chicken, but on beef?

When I do a restaurant review I give my opinion.  You will have to try it yourself.  We don’t all like the same things.

Open Door Café - click here for menu on Facebook
3 North Jackson Street
Athens, TN 

Photos belong to AbbyG

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Our “Sanctuary” while on a vacation to Murphy, North Carolina

Several months ago I found the Sanctuary on VRBO.com and decided that was where I wanted to stay on a mini-vacation to Murphy, North Carolina.  At the end of this article I will give you the link to their VRBO listing since that’s where you will find photos of the interior and all the other information you need to determine if the Sanctuary is right for you!

Check out that amazing view from the Sanctuary in Murphy, NC

I will, however, share my photos of the exterior, the amazing view from this mountain top retreat….but first, let me say that over the 20 years my husband and I have been renting vacation cabins/cottages in various states, the Sanctuary is the most well-stock we have ever been in.

Not only did it have satellite TV with more than just the basic channels, it had Direct TV so for us there was no learning curve.  One TV in the living room and one in the master bedroom is a luxury!

Sunrise at the Sanctuary, it was worth getting up early to see this!

The kitchen is small but totally stocked with dishes/cups/glasses/pots/pans and enough utensils to feed a small arm.  There is a huge stock pile of toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies and everything you need without having to run to Ingles. 

The master bedroom was the only one we used but I can honestly say that the bed is the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on in a rental.  The sheets were comfy, there was a nice supply of towels and wash cloths.  Not the usually white, small, thin towels you get at some rental – but decent size towels that were nice and soft.

The two bedrooms were at the opposite ends of the house but the view, oh the view, could be seen from almost every room!  As you walk in the front door the view will leave you breathless.  The light coming in through the sliding doors will blind you for a short time, but the sunrise is something to see…the sky turning from black to red and then eventually to what you see in the photos.  

If you drop anything off the deck it's gone forever!

Oh, there is a basement with twin beds and a shower and toilet.  That’s where the washer/dryer and supplies are located.  There is also a computer if you don’t want to take yours.  I always have my laptop with me and the WIFI was very good, no issues at all!

From the basement you can go out the small patio and grassy area that is fenced so Fido can do his business off leash.  There is also a pooper scooper for humans to use and it is requested that you use it!

The deck off of the living room has enough seating for all your friends and family….from a table and chairs other side chairs and a chaise lounge.  Don’t forget the BBQ grill if you want to cook out. 

While you can’t leave your vehicle parked near the door since is it a shared ‘driveway’ there is enough space to park close to the garage or you can use the garage – just don’t forget to leave the remote when you go home!

We didn't bother with the garage but it would be great to have in winter!

I think I’ve given you more than enough information to help make an informed decision if the Sanctuary is the place for you.  It is only two miles from historic Murphy where you will find shops and restaurants galore which I will talk about in future issues. 

No matter why you visit Murphy – to eat, shop, hike or even gamble, you won’t be 
disappointed in the Sanctuary!

The Sanctuary is pet friendly!

Photos belong to AbbyG

Murphy, North Carolina information - click here 
More Murphy, North Carolina information - click here
The sanctuary information - click here