A Story About Steak and Vienna Sausages

31 Mar

Tonight, we celebrated my dad’s birthday, and we did it a little differently this time. The usual birthday celebrations of my family involve going to Gondola, a local Italian restaurant, and having homemade hot fudge cake. That’s a good way to celebrate, but it gets a little old at times. Maybe my dad felt the same way because he requested a change.

This time, we went to the Hermitage Steak House.Hermitage Steak House

It sits on the edges of Andrew Jackson’s property and is named after his home, the Hermitage. However, it did not always have this name. It opened as Rachel’s Kitchen, which was an homage to Mrs. Jackson. I don’t remember the Rachel years, but I vividly remember what came next.

When I was a kid, my parents took me to eat at The Peddler all of the time, and I was fascinated by it. They had crackers and butter on the table, which any kid can make a meal out of. They also had this awesome salad bar with the best Thousand Island dressing that has ever been made and sliced up Vienna sausages. I could eat them straight out of the can, so putting them on a salad bar completely made my dining experience.

Those were cool but not as cool as the guy who brought around the meat. When you ordered, this guy with a chef’s hat brought around  a rolling cart with slabs of beef. He would show you the different meats, and you could choose which slab you wanted your steak to be cut from. Once selected, he would start cutting right there at the table.

I can’t count the number of times that I ate at The Peddler. Heck, I even took a few dates there. I took a girl named Lynn to the Governor’s Inaugural Ball when we were in high school. Before going to the ball, we went to The Peddler. Later, I tried to impress a girl named Bethany by taking her there. As it turns out, she left an impression on me. When the waiter asked how she wanted her steak prepared, Bethany replied,



“No, raw. Place it on the grill. Flip it. Then, take it off.”

I sat there stunned as Bethany ate a raw steak. I never asked her out again.

Tonight’s experience was better than that one. My entire family was there with my girlfriend and her daughter. We talked and laughed and had a grand time. The Hermitage Steak House is still good, but some things just aren’t the same. There is not butter with the crackers. There are no sliced Vienna sausages on the salad bar. The guy doesn’t bring the meat around anymore.

We did go retro with our choice of birthday cake. It came from Clayborn’s Bakery, a locally owned place in my hometown. It started out with one name then took another one. It was closed but has recently reopened. I know that every town has a place with the best donuts, cookies and cakes in the world, but this one actually has all of those things.

However, that is another story for another day.

2 Responses to “A Story About Steak and Vienna Sausages”

  1. Sarah April 4, 2013 at 23:26 #

    Glad to know Clayborne’s reopened… We’ve been wanting to try it for a while.

    • Rick April 5, 2013 at 02:26 #

      The cake was as good as ever, and I hear that the interior is a lot nicer than it used to be.

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