Volume 1 #3 (May 20-26, 1998)
Restaurant Review: Grandma Was a Fry Cook
"I don't know anywhere else you can get a pork chop smothered in gravy at two in the morning," a friend of mine once said.
Waffle House? Denny's? Not a chance. The place to go after late night carousing is the H&O Cafe, a Pensacola landmark that's been here longer than most people can remember.
Hidden away on Gonzalez Street three blocks north of Cervantes near I-110, H&O serves traditional Southern cooking in a traditional Southern atmosphere. Open 24 hours on weekend, H&O is a popular stop at any time.
"We have a daytime crowd, we have an evening crowd, and we have a late night crowd, and they're all different," says Marilyn, a waitress, as she pours a customer another cup of coffee.
Conspicuously missing are dieters. Simply breathing the air within twenty feet of the kitchen can cause weight gain of several pounds. H&O cooks like your grandmother used to, if your grandma once won a lifetime supply of lard in a grease-frying contest.
H&O has not strayed from the old ways in the slightest. If you have any Yankee friends who wrinkle their noses at grits, have them try H&O's butter-soaked, creamy smooth hominy grits. If they don't like that, there's no hope.
For a more substantial meal, the pork chops are legendary, and the fish sandwich is a local favorite.
The laid-back atmosphere is encouraged with a juke box that spans John Lee Hooker, Percy Sledge and Erykah Badu. If the posters at Gussie's Record Shop make you nostalgic for the says when Pensacola was a regular R&B pit stop, H&O's juke box will ease the pain for a little while.
The cafe's prices will make you nostalgic as well. There aren't many places you can spend $5 on a meal and barely finish it.
Next time you're in a mood for a solid meal with all the fixins, whatever the hour, amble down to the H&O and get yourself the good stuff.