While driving home last Thursday evening, I received a phone call from my dining partner.

“It is too hot. I’m not cooking this evening,” was her declaration.

This was followed by “So, what’s for supper, buster?”

My dining partner’s call reached me just as I was turning from Johnson City’s Downtown Loop onto Buffalo Street. Looking up, I beheld the familiar, friendly forest green and neon pink sign of The Shamrock.

“No problem, hon,” I said, “I’ll take care of supper for us.”

The Shamrock Beverage & Tobacco has been in business since 1929; it says so on the outside of the building. A sometime hangout of mine and my buds back in high school and college, owners Jack Cox and Darrell Fox were the two genies that ran West Walnut Street’s version of Aladdin’s Cave, its interior seemingly filled to the rafters with wonderful and magical items. In addition to tobacco products and beer, The Shamrock has a small kitchen where all manner of carry-out foods were available for sale. There is also inside seating for about twelve customers inside the Shamrock’s “Back Room,” where social distancing rules apply. There are no public restrooms available.

Appetizer: Slaw Dog

Running the window was the friendly and capable Jake, who was kind enough to assist me in making my selections. Jake was especially helpful when I told him that it was my task to bring supper home and make my dining partner pleased with what I chose for her evening meal. However, first things first, and I ordered a Shamrock Slaw Dog ($2.05) for the two of use to split as our evening meal’s appetizer. A Shamrock Slaw Dog comes a 100% beef hot dog, fully loaded with yellow mustard, ketchup, chopped onions and no-beans chili all topped off with some excellent creamy-tart coleslaw. My dining partner and I found a Slaw Dog from the Shamrock to be the best way to start our impromptu evening meal.

Chicken Salad on Honey Wheat Berry bread

Meanwhile, Jake and I were discussing what my dining partner would like to eat for her supper? I told him that, because it was close to 6 p.m. already, my partner would want something light on her tummy. Jake thought for a moment, then smiled and .suggested I order my dining partner a chicken salad sandwich on toasted honey wheat berry bread ($4.49). Jake also suggested a short glass of cold lemonade ($1.49) but I declined, knowing my dining partner would be home-brewing iced tea for us when I got home with our supper. Jake made sure the Honey Wheat Berry bread was toasted correctly using the flat-top grill, just enough to make the chicken salad sandwich crunchy outside, but still cool and creamy inside.

Thursday Special: Meat Loaf sandwich

While discussing the finer points of my dining partner’s order, I noticed a hand-lettered sign in the lower right of the Drive-thru’s window, saying “Thursday Special: Meat Loaf Sandwich $4.99.” I am a sucker for a good meat loaf sandwich, having been rarely disappointed when I order one. Meat loaf, whether as entrée or sandwich, is a food product that requires time, cookery skill and some trained taste buds on the part of the cook to prepare it correctly. A meat loaf sandwich from the Shamrock done my way added a slice of American cheese for an extra fifty cents; the red, ripe tomato and lettuce, and two slices of well-seeded, untoasted Jewish rye bread were no extra charge. Jake asked if I wanted him to spread some extra tomato glaze on the meat loaf slices, and I told him to go ahead, making my meat loaf sandwich from the Shamrock even more delightful with every bite. Adding a Shamrock chocolate malted milkshake made with Hershey’s hand-dipped ice cream ($3.79) and my meal enjoyment was complete.

The bottom line

My new friend, the capable Jake, helped me to bring home supper for my dining partner and preserve peace in my family, The Shamrock performs flawlessly in fulfilling food orders for your inside dining enjoyment, or as a pick-up at the Drive-thru window. Shamrock’s menu is online with updates and daily specials available on their Facebook page.

You can depend on Jake and the professional team at the Shamrock to see that your food order is well-prepared from the finest ingredients, and ready to go when you are.

After all, the Shamrock team has been doing it the right way for 91 years.

Recommended by the Mystery Diner