Patsy’s Café has been welcoming customers to the popular breakfast and lunch spot north of Pottsboro on US 289 for more years than most of the diners can remember. The cafe opens at 6 a.m. for breakfast and has a lunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. A friend and I stopped by about noon recently to give it a try. The parking lot was full, and the big dining room was bustling.

The buffet line regularly features three entrees and a full run of sides along with rolls and cornbread muffins. The menu also has a lineup of burgers, sandwiches and a few other a la carte items. The entrees for the day included chicken fried steak (served every day), salmon patties and Texas goulash. One entree and three vegetables cost about $6.00; a plate of all you can eat of everything on the line is about $2.00 more.

I passed on the chicken fried steak, which looked like the standard food supplier offering, but got a couple of salmon patties and big spoonful of goulash along with greens, cabbage, corn, English peas and a cornbread muffin. Frankly, I was disappointed. The salmon patties were pretty good, but a little over cooked and dry, and the goulash was cool rather than hot. The vegetables were tasty enough, and I am always ready for cabbage and am a sucker for English peas.

My friend had much the same with a piece of the chicken fried steak, and his assessment more or less reaffirmed my own. Patsy has a reputation for pies, and so I finished off with a slice of coconut cream with tall meringue topping. The pie was quite good.

Sitting down to write this review, I could not quite reconcile my disappointment with the meal with the droves of other customers who were chowing down with gusto, and after some reflection decided that I might not have given Patsy’s a fair reading. Obviously, on a small buffet, your satisfaction will be influenced by what is on the menu that day. Maybe I just arrived on the wrong day; so I decided to give Patsy’s another try. This time I was not disappointed at all.

Checking the café’s Facebook page a few days after my first visit, I saw that turkey and dressing were on the menu. This is obviously a popular item, and the Facebook page admonished diners to get there early before it was gone. Taking this advice I pulled up just after 11:00 a.m., well before the lunch crowd got there.

I filled my plate with a big helping of cornbread dressing topped with sliced turkey and added a couple of ladles of gravy. The gravy looked particularly tempting because it had bits of hard boiled eggs, an addition my mother had made to her turkey gravy. I added turnip greens, green beans and cabbage and sat down to eat. Score one for Patsy’s.

The turkey, dressing and gravy were excellent. It was like Thanksgiving in March, and with a crumbling of cornbread to soak up the last of the gravy and potlikker, I was a satisfied diner. Another piece of pie — no, I was full; maybe next time.

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