Dolly’s Diner: Nothing plain about it

Mystery Diner • Oct 8, 2019 at 7:00 AM

It is really refreshing to have a restaurant's advertising campaign come right out and state, without equivocation, that what they serve to their customers is "Just Plain Good Food," and do so on their business cards and signage. I surmised this could be a possible case of inaccuracy in advertising.

Boy, was I right.

Dolly's Diner in Blountville serves"Good Food" all right, but there is nothing "Plain" about it.

Dolly's Diner is a sturdy cinderblock building painted white and perched on the roadside of Tennessee Highway 75 in Blountville The diner is a short distance from Highway 394, otherwise known as the quickest way to get to Bristol Motor Speedway from Interstate 81.

In business since 2015, Dolly Self has been opening at 6 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, rain or shine, serving breakfast, lunch and an early supper to crowds of her hungry friends and neighbors. Her good work takes place in a dining room that is just big enough to seat 40 or so patrons. Decor is "Small Town Bric-a-Brac," with some NASCAR overtones. Restrooms are accessible to the right as you enter the restaurant.

Our early morning drive took an unscheduled diversion when my dining partner announced that she was hungry, wanted breakfast and knew where we needed to stop.

I am always ready for breakfast, and since she was doing the driving, I sat back to enjoy this impromptu "Toot" of hers. Upon arrival, we became part of the breakfast crowd dining at Dolly's with a "Hey there, welcome to Dolly's. Sit anywhere you like!" from our friendly server, Trish.

A quick glance at Dolly's breakfast menu confirmed that breakfast was still being served, did omelets and offered biscuits and gravy instead of toast as a side order.

Vegetable Omelet: I ordered one of Dolly's vegetable omelets ($5.29), choosing biscuit and gravy on the side. Dolly herself created the omelet, biscuit and gravy, which Trish placed in front of me inside of ten minutes.

The omelet was two large real eggs, scrambled to the correct consistency, loaded with chopped tomato, onion, green pepper and mushrooms and correctly tri-folded before plating.

The biscuit and gravy featured a scratch-made "cat-head"-sized biscuit about two inches thick and light as air, regally enthroned as center of attention in a breakfast plate and smothered in Dolly's sawmill gravy.

A word about the gravy: though good, it was obviously created from a mix, not scratch-made; making it the only flat note in an otherwise delicious breakfast trio.

Breakfast Platter: My dining partner left no doubt that hunger was the reason for our stopping at Dolly's, ordering Dolly's Breakfast Platter ($5.99).

Made for the heartiest of appetites, my dining partner's breakfast began with two eggs over medium well, matched with two half-inch thick slices of pork tenderloin and one of Dolly's gravy biscuits subbing for toast.

My partner considers her ordering "eggs over medium well" is a good benchmark as to a chef's culinary expertise, and has been known to visit the kitchen for a quick word with the chef on the subject.

In this case, Dolly Self was up to the challenge, and my dining partner got two eggs fried correctly to her taste and request to go with the best pork tenderloin, which my dining partner shared with me.

Bacon Biscuit: As we were finishing our breakfast, my dining partner remarked to our server Trish on how convenient Dolly's Diner was to nearby Bristol Motor Speedway, and asked if they had done much business as a result?

With a sigh and a roll of her eyes, Trish said that the NASCAR fans had eaten 25 dozen eggs, five big stockpots of gravy and over 100 biscuits at Dolly's Diner on August Race Weekend.

Her mention of biscuits prompted an announcement from the kitchen that anybody who wanted a biscuit had better get their order in now because they were almost all gone. This prompted me to order one of Dolly's bacon biscuit creations, ($1.49) to go.

Warm from the oven, light, fluffy, loaded with thick, smoky slices of center-cut bacon and nestled in its to-go bag, the bacon biscuit made our trip home fragrant and memorable, and a yummy afternoon snack for the two of us.

The bottom line: While enjoying her breakfast, my dining partner studied Dolly's lunch/dinner menu, remarking that all of the selections offered looked appetizing. This elicited a response from a patron seated nearby.

"Ma'am," said our fellow patron, "you can't go wrong eating at Dolly's Diner. Like the sign says, it really is just plain good food."

"Just plain delicious, too," rejoined my dining partner with a smile.

Dolly’s Diner

177 Blountville Highway (TN-75)

Blountville, Tennessee


Tue-Sat 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Available on Facebook

Credit cards accepted

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