It is at least twenty years later and I can still remember my first visit to Lou’s Café. Stopping in to see if anyone could tell us where to locate the turn we had missed, my husband and I received a large dose of culture shock. It seemed as if we had opened the door to the decades: a place where generations came and went, a place where time stood still and passed by at the same time
Miss Lou Dixon owns and runs that restaurant in the middle of the town of Sunbright, Tennessee. Miss Lou has been in business at that location since 1954. Even though the place looks a little squalid, it is not for lack of care; in fact, Lou is proud of how clean she keeps her place. She has often been heard to say, with the strongest East Tennessee accent, “It don’t matter how pore a body is. They can be clean.” She is proud of her “A” rating and prominently displays it.
It is not a fancy restaurant. The hundreds of booted loggers, railroad workers, and oil field roughnecks trekking through have worn the carpet thin. Chunks are missing from the carpet at the favorite tables of the workers. The hardened veneer on some of the tables is missing a notch here and there. The paint on the walls has cracks and there is a perennial smell of hamburgers permeating the air. The casual observer could be forgiven for thinking the place is about to fold financially; instead, what we found that night was a well camouflaged center of social activity and the finest, most accurate, information