Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Beef 'N' Bird was the word ...
Back in the late 1980s, there were a half-dozen drive-through food-servin' joints in Nashville called Beef 'N' Bird. The joint in question was called Beef 'N' Bird due to its limited menu: burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, fries, and drinks (soft and milk-shook). Beef 'N' Bird didn't do much, but what they did was done very well, indeed.
The reason I remember Beef 'N' Bird so well is because one of their drive-through stands was located less than a half-mile from the recreation complex at which I played summer baseball. The reason I remember Beef 'N' Bird so fondly is because my Mom or Dad would often take me there on Saturdays after I'd spent the better part of the day playing, and talking about, baseball with my friends. And while I liked me the Beef 'N' Bird's made-to-order burgers and chicken sammiches, I freakin' loved their thick cut, seasoned fried taters.
By the time I graduated from high school, Beef 'N' Bird had gone the way of wild cows and dodos. (As late as 1998 or 1999, the shell of a Beef 'N' Bird could still be seen on Church Street across from the Nashville Electric Service.) It really bummed me out, too, 'cause, again, I couldn't get enough of their fried taters.
I can't tell you how many times I've thought about - nay, pined for - Beef 'N' Bird taters over the years. I also asked countless friends, co-workers, and casual acquaintances they ever ate at Beef 'N' Bird and enjoyed their damn-good taters. Sadly, I can count on one hand, er, finger, the number of souls whom I know who ever ate at Beef 'N' Bird, and that's my buddy Bruce -- who, truth be told, probably only ever visited the place 'cause I dragged him there (the fact that he doesn't remember a thing about the quality of Beef 'N' Bird's food confirms such).
I've looked far and wide on the Inter-Web for "stuff" 'bout Beef 'N' Bird. The only thing I've been able to find is a 1990 Tennessee Supreme Court decision that name-checked a Tenn. Court of Appeals decision involving Beef 'N' Bird and an insurance company. (The name-checking involved whether parties to civil litigation must always be responsible for paying court stenographers.) Not what I'd call a fitting way to be memorialized.
So why am I telling you about Beef 'N' Bird? Well, I'll tell you ...
Regular A Man's Gotta Eat readers are well aware that my favorite supermarket - supermarket, not grocery store - is Publix. I stopped at Publix this afternoon to get a couple of things, one of which was located in the deli. While I was passing through Publix's deli, I spied some taters behind their plate-lunch/dinner counter that looked pretty good. "What the hell," I said to myself. "I'll give 'em a try." Boy, oh, boy am I glad I tried 'em.
Halfway between Publix and my home, I decided to try me a deli fried tater. I dug into my grocery bag, opened the tater box, got me a big one, and I took a bite. Wasn't nobody in the car with me, but I couldn't help but announce aloud: "This tater tastes just like a Beef 'N' Bird tater!" One more bite and that first tater was gone. I grabbed another and it was gone in one bite. Then I grabbed another (you know where this's going). Needless to say, didn't none of my Publix taters make their way through my backdoor.
I encourage you to go get you some taters from the Publix deli. If you do, just know that you could once get equally fine-tasting taters at quaint Nashville-area drive-throughs called Beef 'N' Bird.
Beef 'N' Bird ... man, I miss that place.