Well, besides the post from a little while ago with the new job, working from home, more time with my family, etc., we took a small road trip. Maybe I should call it a day trip. It all started with a story I was writing and the name of the town I came up with was Swampbottom, Mississippi. I actually did a search to see if there was any such name in existence and found Swamp Bottom Restaurant in Poplarville. Actually, it was listed in Poplarville, Mississippi, as well as Bogalusa, Louisiana, so I just typed in the address to my maps on my phone and it directed me where to go. I did call first to be sure of what their hours of operation were. Packed Mama and Hallie in the car and took off.
We had imagined, with a name like Swamp Bottom, it had to have a swamp close by, maybe Spanish moss hanging down from the trees, a restaurant front full of welcome, romance and intrigue. Right? What do you envision when you hear the name Swamp Bottom? I read some reviews on the restaurant and they claimed to not only have a wonderful menu filled with seafood, burgers, poboys, and not only that, but breakfast was served, and they talked of how part of the restaurant was a store which had many food items in stock to purchase, and they had daily entertainment with a Cajun band or else Cajun music was played to fill the restaurant with that zydeco ambiance loved by so many. Me, not so much, but many, nonetheless. I was only looking forward to the scene, the vision of the restaurant and maybe swamp, and see if the food was worth the trip. Well…
We drive for a little over 2 hours to get there and the map leads us to this place called Crossroads. Now, let me remind you, I did call them. A woman answered and with a raspy, smoker’s voice, she said, “Hello?”
I said, “Om, is this the Swamp Bottom Restaurant?” Because usually when you call a place of business, they answer with the business name, right? Wrong.
“Oh yes,” they said. “This is Swamp Bottom.”
To which I said, “Oh good. Can you tell me your days and hours of operation, please?” So, I truly believed this would be a great visit to an interesting place. I mean, I had come up with this great town name and found it to be a restaurant. It was meant for me to go there, right?
We get to the correct address and see the sign that says Crossroads. No Swamp Bottom. No spanish moss. No swamp. Maybe a half acre lot. Just a boring grassy and gravel lot just off the road with some sort of snow cone shack built to the left of it. No frills. No thrills. Just a lack luster wood frame small shack of a restaurant and did not feel welcoming at all. I call again.
Again, with the raspy smoker’s voice, she answers, “Hello?!” Obviously, not in the happiest of moods. Perhaps she’s been pulling too many shifts? I doubt it. I’m sure she was not so busy waiting on tables, she didn’t have time to go out for her usual smoke. There was no one there. I mean, no customers. No cars.
I ask, “Is this Swamp Bottom Restaurant? I’m parked outside and I have the correct address, but the sign says Crossroads.”
“Yeah, the same people work here though. It was just bought out from the previous owner and we changed the name is all. Everything else is the same.”
“So y’all serve breakfast?” I ask this, because it’s not quite 11:00 and I was curious as there were no cars.
“No, we don’t serve breakfast. Why? You want breakfast?!”
“Om, not really. I simply saw online where y’all served breakfast.”
“No, we no longer serve breakfast! We open at 11:00!”
So, we drive around the podunk town and see nothing but fields and pastures and old houses. Maybe a home owned tire company. An old expired gas station turned into a minute mart that didn’t look frequented. We drove down one road for about 5 minutes just to see what we could see, which wasn’t much of anything, and then back and it was 11:00. Oh my. A truck drove up to the entrance just before we did. Does this mean they have good food?
We walk in and there’s a sign that says “Please wait to be seated” and no one comes to seat us, so we stand there for a few minutes. Someone ventures out of the kitchen to tell us to, “just sit anywhere ya want.”
Is that zydeco music I hear? Real cajun music? No. There is no band. There is no piped in music, either, so we sit in silence, which is fine, I guess. Mama, Hallie and I look at each other as if we are all sorely disappointed. I had actually thought of asking them if they wanted to look for something else, that this restaurant is obviously not what we were expecting nor looking for. But, I figured I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and tried to be hopeful for mouthwatering food. I mean, no romantic, welcoming, picturesque view of the restaurant didn’t mean the food wouldn’t be awesome. I could skip all the ambiance as long as the food was memorable. Boy. Was it memorable!
We get the menu and there’s not much to it. Some of the things we were expecting from reading the online reviews weren’t even on the menu. The prices were kind of high considering we were in Podunk. Oh, I mean Poplarville. And who knew we’d go through all these places to get there. We drove through Little Rock. I thought Arkansas was further north. And we drove through Sandy Hook. Seems like there was another place normally found in New York, but I guess I don’t care enough to remember, or either I’m trying to block out the entire experience.
We finally decided on chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. Hallie got fried shrimp and french fries. Let me just say the only thing that was worth the use of our taste buds was the root beer we ordered. You can’t mess up bottled root beer, right? This restaurant experience had us crying in our beer. Ok, maybe I’m a bit melodramatic, but honestly, I figure the only reason they are still in business is because they are the ONLY restaurant within a 20+ mile radius and those people who live in this podunk town have never been exposed to the more worldly flavors exhibited at most other small town restaurants, including the likes of McDonald’s, which I don’t frequent myself, but would have been overjoyed had we eaten there instead of wasting our hard earned money at this place.
Oh, and sorry I didn’t have a photo to share. It wasn’t worth taking my camera out of my purse. By the way, not only were the online reviews of this place completely exaggerated, but they only had maybe 4 different kinds of desserts that did not look appetizing, and the so-called store did not consist of anything they said they had online. All we saw was a small glass case next to the register filled with a few, a small few, candy bars, and a small refrigerator behind us in front of the register that held the plated single servings of those few so-called desserts. Perhaps this is a rather harsh post and review of Crossroads, but I’m just telling you that you should NOT believe all the hype you may hear about a place online. With that said, feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt and go take a gander at this place. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you happen to drive past Crossroads, be sure to cross that road, keep looking for the next road, and the next, and the next, until maybe you will come across some other podunk restaurant. I hope they will be better.