Well, I am here to tell all you folks out there that there is a new place for breakfast in Carter County, and it is named after a dog. The restaurant is Libby’s Lodge, named for owners Don and Jamie Campbell’s sweet and sadly departed family dog.

The Campbells just recently opened Libby’s Lodge for business, and judging by the crowd that was already there when my dining partner and I arrived for breakfast, the word on Libby’s has already gotten around Carter County.

First impressions

Libby’s Lodge occupies a former used car sales property at 509 Broad St. in Elizabethton. Access to and from Libby’s large parking lot and Broad Street is very easy. There is handicapped parking immediately outside the front door, with other parking spaces surrounding them.

As you enter Libby’s Lodge, the restrooms are straight ahead past the cashier and carry-out counter. The dining room seats 26 customers and is accessed to the right of the cashier and carry-out counter. At the rear of the dining room are the servers’ prep station and the open-plan kitchen. Through a back door to the outside is the Libby’s Lodge barbecue and meat smoker.

The picks

Having done some September yard preparation work before breakfast, my dining partner was understandably famished, and wanted a late breakfast to restore her strength and stamina for the day’s work. I just wanted something good to eat, and thought that was reason enough to tag along.

After our server, Alison, settled us at a table, my dining partner took one look at the menu and ordered the Short Stacker Platter ($6.99), being two pancakes almost the diameter of a dinner plate, together with two eggs any style (fried and over medium well for my dining partner) and several strips of lean bacon (very crisp).

My choice was a Farmer’s Omelet containing slices of breakfast sausage, bacon chips, mushrooms and onions and topped with melted mild Colby cheese. My side order was some of Papa’s Fried Spuds and a big cathead-style buttermilk biscuit ($7.99).

My dining partner also suggested I try some of Libby’s biscuits and gravy, which is her way of judging whether a restaurant’s kitchen is up to the task of a Tennessee country-style breakfast. So I put in a half-order (as in only one) of Libby’s Lodge’s version of biscuits and gravy, ($1.99).

How it tastes

My Farmer’s Omelet was very good, the link sausage slices were a welcome surprise and a much better way of loading sausage into an omelet than the usual lumps of fried pork sausage. The bacon was very good, being lean and fried crisp. I was pleasantly surprised with my side order of Papa’s spuds, fried crunchy outside and steamy hot inside.

While my cathead biscuit was quite good, it was eclipsed by its cousin that was smothered in some of the best sausage gravy I’ve ever eaten. Even my dining partner was impressed with the savory flavor and substantial texture of Libby’s Lodge sausage gravy, and said so. This was high praise indeed from someone who’d been raised on biscuits and gravy as created by her mother, the redoubtable Mamaw of sainted memory.

My dining partner was very pleased with her Short Stacker breakfast. The plate-filling pancakes were light as air, and very tasty, though the syrup could have had a bit more body and flavor to it. Her bacon was lean and crispy almost to the point of being charred but delicious nonetheless.

Her two fried eggs were just perfect. My dining partner remarked to owner Jamie Campbell that the Libby’s Lodge cook, in her estimation, was one of a bare handful of chefs in the Tri-Cities who knew how to fry two eggs over medium well and do it correctly.

The bottom line

This is a really good restaurant to wake up to in the morning.

Libby’s Lodge is new, the kitchen knows how to cook any kind of breakfast, and can do it beginning at 6:30 a.m.

The restaurant is comfortable and spotless, servers Alison and Sue are capable and friendly, while the food they serve is as delicious as a Tennessee country-style breakfast can be, and they serve breakfast all day.

As we were leaving, I asked my dining partner my usual question, that being would you come back?

“Definitely,” was her reply. “You and I both still have their lunchtime menu to try.”

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