Lovejoy’s on Main is a gift shop in Whitesboro, and the cafe in the back sports a real, live, antique soda fountain. Would you like to read that sentence again before moving on. We will give you a moment. There. Got it?
Located at the east end of Main Street on the south side, Lovejoy’s on Main announces itself as a Gift Shop and Boutique. There may be a small notice on the window about a cafe and bakery, but I do not recall seeing one. Once inside, the store is just as advertised, except at the back of the building, past the Texas souvenirs, the women’s apparel, and the one-off toys for kids is a cafe. One side has tables and chairs, the other tables and chairs but with white tablecloths. At the back of room is a real, honest to gosh, soda fountain with soda spritzers, wire-backed stools, and sign that reads, “Party like it was 1954.” There is a bit of the “Twilight Zone” here.
The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon., Wed. and Fri., and when I arrived with a friend from Sherman at little past 11, the room was about a third full. We took a table on the soda fountain side and considered the menu.
According to their website, Hank Lovejoy, who jerked sodas at the Finley-Hayes Pharmacy in Whitesboro when he was in high school, always wanted to run his own fountain. After all, that is where he met is wife Rita, who had a thing about cherry cokes. Hank and Rita got their wish, and Whitesboro got a throwback eatery of considerable charm.
Lovejoy’s is a salad and sandwich place with a daily special of a soup and quiche. These items are paired with each other in half-size portions or available separately. The soup for the day was potato. I ordered a cup of soup, a half of a chicken salad sandwich; the other side of the table had the oriental salad, and a turkey sandwich. Deeming it our duty to sample as many items as possible, we added a half slice of the bacon and cheese quiche, and a cup of the of chicken potpie for good measure. After the waitress took our order, she reappeared with coffee cup filled with of thin strips of crunchy toast of the “these won’t last long” variety. They did not.
Most of the potato soup I have had recently is of the baked potato variety, very white, very thick, very creamy. Lovejoy’s version had more color and bits and pieces of the other ingredients were noticeable. It was smooth and warm and a nice way to get started. My sandwich was served on a croissant, and while good, the chicken salad was a bit bland. It could have done with a bit more crunch in the way of celery perhaps or some apple or more grapes. The quiche was warm and comfortable and more eggy than some I have had. Make note that the half-size version of all of these items would do as full size for most places.
Across the table, the turkey sandwich was — well, a turkey sandwich. What’s not to like? And the Oriental salad, strips of chicken over romaine topped with crunchy noodles and a house vinaigrette, was a cool addition. The potpie was not as thick as other I have tried; it was almost a thick soup, but chunks of chicken, carrots, and the like with the disk of pie crust on the surface pulled the potpie idea together nicely.
Finally, dessert. I sometimes dream of the old fashioned ice cream sodas I knew as a kid. Ice cream, syrup, and seltzer muddled together at the bottom of a tall glass, a couple of scoops of ice cream, and a squirt of soda to bring the whole drink bubbling to the top, makes for a sweet dream indeed. Alas, the real thing is few and far between these days. I had chocolate, my friend had strawberry, and for a moment at least it almost was 1954 again. Oh yes, we had to try a half slice of the mountain of a coconut cream cake sitting on the counter, and I was ready for a nap.
Complaints, idea, suggestions. Let me know at Sparkes@heralddemocrat.com