Anyone who says the economy is putting the brakes on lunchtime dining has not poked their head in the door of Elliston Place Green Hills, the meat-and-three in the ground floor of the Retired Teachers Apartment Building. The place is hopping.
The team that owns Elliston Place Soda Shop recently took over the restaurant and has brought over the Elliston Place recipes. I can't compare them to the erstwhile Green Hills Cafeteria's fare, because it's been a while since I dined there, but for GHC die-hards, many of whom live upstairs in the tower, I can't see a thing to worry about under new management. Even the service, which meets you at the end of the buffet line and helps get your tray to a table, is as friendly as I remember. Meanwhile, the institutionally spare decor, dotted with portraits of the eatery's former owners, remains reassuringly intact.
We tucked into fried catfish with a light cornmeal coating, spaghetti with meaty sauce and a garden of long-cooked vegetables, including fried white corn, green beans and mashed potatoes. Meat-and-two with drink and dessert clocked in around $10.
If you're looking for carrot-raisin salad, sliced beets or cottage cheese, this is just your kind of place. Me? I'm looking for coconut cake, and EPGH delivered. Fluffy yellow sponge with an ethereal white frosting, laden with sugary coconut threads, emerges from the in-house bakery, which now also serves the original Elliston Place store. There's also fudge pie under a toasty comforter of meringue and chunky pecan pie.
The pièce de résistance, of course, is the conversation. I wasn't intending to eavesdrop, but the languid lunchtime gab gets loud in there, and the tables are close together. If you're looking to take the pulse on, say, the state of the world, local politics or the economy, then pull up a chair and grab a sweet tea and a piece of pie. You're sure to get an earful.
Located at 2209 Abbott Martin Road, Elliston Place Green Hills is open 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.