Her most recent journey found both of us on a trip into Carter County, up Stoney Creek way. The drive is easy, the early autumn scenery is interesting and lovely, and there are lots of places to see and things to do. One thing to do was to stop at Kimbo’s Country Cookin’ for breakfast.
Our friends Pappa and Nonnie let us know about how special breakfast was at Kimbo’s in Stony Creek.
“Absolutely the best biscuits & gravy, ever,” was the way Pappa described it to us.
“What kind of gravy?” I asked.
“Sausage,” said Pappa.
That was good enough for my dining partner.
Driving out from Elizabethton on Highway 91, you have to look sharp or you’ll miss Kimbo’s location at the side of the road. Their sign is attached to that of a tire store just before you get to the Dollar General.
Kimbo’s has seating for just thirty or so lucky diners that are served by proprietor Kim Ensor and her team of stalwarts from a small but well-organized kitchen. My dining partner and I arrived at the height of Kimbo’s breakfast rush, and were fortunate to get a table without too much of a wait. The very friendly Paula was our server who walked us through Kimbo’s menu, telling us the daily specials letting us know what was available.
I wanted something light, not being a happy traveller if I’ve had a heavy meal. This drew me to order one of Kimbo’s Western omelets (reg. $4.80); three scrambled eggs filled with chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes and, in my case, a small amount of shredded, aged Swiss cheese. I also had Paula add some a la carte grilled jalapeno peppers and mushrooms ($0.55 each) which priced my custom Western omelet plus two pieces of toast at $5.90 for the meal. Paula brought it to me and I enjoyed every bit of it.
BIG BETTY’S BREAKFAST
My dining partner asked Paula how long Kimbo’s had been open?
“Well, I’d say five years,” said Paula. “At least I think so. Myself, I’ve been here three years.
“I remember I’d just moved here, and one day my stepmom said:
“Let’s go have breakfast.”
“Where?” I asked her.
“Behind your house,” she said.
“Behind my house? That’s the tire place or the dollar store.”
“No, between them.”
“Uhhh, the creek?”
“No, no. Look, just go down there and you’ll see where I mean.”
“So I came by and had breakfast. Then I started working, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Impressed with Paula’s tale, my dining partner chose the Big Betty’s Breakfast ($6.25); two eggs fried medium well, accompanied by two slices of crisp, lean center-cut bacon, a goodsized serving Kimbo’s hash brown casserole and, (oh yes) two scratch-made fist-sized biscuits smothered in equally scratch-made and (very) real sausage gravy, with a cup of Kimbo’s good, strong coffee alongside for my partner’s caffeine fix. Despite serving over 30 hungry diners, Kim and her team were able to get my dining partner’s Big Betty’s Breakfast on the table in just under 12 minutes. The eggs, though not cooked medium well, were still good, the bacon smoky and very good, and the hash brown casserole was delicious. The biscuits & gravy combo was the star of the show. The biscuits were light, fluffy and yet substantial, just the foundation for a sausage gravy done the right way, as a roux made from sausage bits and its grease from being fried, mixed with unbleached flour. With whole milk added, the mixture was allowed to reduce, slowly concentrating the flavor and texture until, just at the end, some of the crumbled sausage was mixed in and the gravy was ladled onto the waiting open-faced biscuits. How did my (small) bite taste? Luscious.
In addition to breakfast, Kimbo’s also does lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. While sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs dominate the lunch menu, Kimbo’s also does a plate lunch daily special ($7.50) Mondays through Fridays. Choose from Southern comfort food entrees like chicken & dumplings or country fried steak served with your choice of two side orders (the sweet potato casserole looks interesting, as does the fried okra) and a dinner roll. Kimbo’s also does Belgian waffles, an inch thick and big as a dinner plate, that come plain ($2.95) or topped with the likes of strawberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, pecans or peanut butter ($3.45), and don’t forget the whipped cream. Oh, and rumor has it that Kim Ensor makes scratch-made iced cinnamon buns on Saturdays, but I could not confirm this. I’d say it would be worth another trip to Kimbo’s on a Saturday. Just to make sure, you understand.
Kimbo’s is Recommended by the Mystery Diner.
840 TN Hwy 91
Mon-Fri 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sat 6 a.m. – noon
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted