Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Breakfast Buffet for Dinner

It was time for dinner and we didn’t feel like cooking.  But this time of the year, it gets dark early so we didn’t want to have to drive to far for our evening meal… There were a couple of local restaurants that we hadn’t eaten at in a long time or ever, so I picked one and off we went!

As you can see, this is Donna’s Old Town Café.   It’s located in downtown Madisonville Tennessee.  This restaurant has been in business for many years and while we ate here once before…probably 6 or 7 years ago…it was time to try it again.

Note: We are not creatures of habit when it comes to restaurants.  A 'favorite' restaurant for us would be one that we dine at 4 to 6 times a year.

This photo was taken from about midway through Donna’s Old Time Café toward the front of the restaurant.  The cashier is stationed at the front right side.  There is a small gift shop by the front windows.

Laurie took this photo from the front of the restaurant.  The restaurant is long and narrow with 2 seating areas…this one in the front and a second one back by the buffet tables you can glimpse in the next room.

I was looking forward to dinner!  What I’d read somewhere and forgotten was that Thursday night’s buffet at Donna’s Old Town Café is a breakfast buffet… We like breakfast so we decided to try it vs. ordering off the menu.

This serving table provided all the salad and dessert related items…

The adjoining ‘hot’ steam table provided the meat, eggs, pancakes, potatoes, soup, gravy, biscuits, etc., etc.

Laurie decided to start out with the salad table.  She chose 3 different types of potato salad… She loved 2 of them and the 3rd one was just OK.

Salad table…hell no!  I went directly to the hot serving table where I picked up a biscuit and pepper gravy, a bit of country ham, a couple sausage patties and a potato pancake.  That yellow stuff is some kind of cheese…

I didn’t ‘understand’ the potato pancake.  It wasn’t warm and it lacked that distinctive flavor in a top notch potato pancake.  (Maybe it wasn’t a potato pancake…but standard pancakes were offered right next to these) The sausages were good…nice flavor and the biscuit was very good as was the pepper gravy.

Laurie went over to the hot table and came back with a biscuit with the pepper gravy, some scrambled eggs, cheesy potatoes with onions, country ham and bacon and cooked apples.  She liked everything she had, even commenting that the scrambled eggs were better than usual for being on a buffet line.  She also thought that the pepper gravy, not usually our favorite, was very nice.

My second trip to the buffet netted another biscuit which I covered with a scoop of thick chicken dumpling soup.  I asked the very young waitress if the vat of chicken dumpling soup was intended to be poured over the biscuit.  She’d never heard of such a thing…but Donna (the owner) was sitting nearby and she told her that it had been a common practice in the past. 

(FYI…the red dots on the food came from my personal bottle of Tabasco)

For dessert Laurie chose this piece of what she thinks was banana spice cake with a maple-sour cream icing.  She liked it just fine.

I personally would have liked it if the different non-fresh vegetable food items had been labeled as to their identity.  I’m not much into guessing about my food selections.  What were the 3 potato salads…was that a potato pancake…what were the desserts…what were my soup choices, etc.?

For my dessert, I chose this pudding.  It had chocolate, pineapple, custard and whipped cream but it was unnamed so I’m guessing a bit.

Laurie enjoyed her meal more than I did.  Both potato offerings were loaded with onions…which I’m not crazy about and I just don’t care for plain scrambled eggs from a steam table.  The biscuits were excellent as was the pepper gravy and the chicken dumpling soup was tasty enough too.

Certainly the price was right!  Our tab after taxes and before a tip came to less than $20.00… We will return to check out the normal dinner buffet which is served on Friday and Saturday nights.

This restaurant is open from 7 AM until 3 PM Sunday – Wednesday and from 7 AM until 8 PM Thursday – Saturday.  You can order from the menu if buffets aren’t your thing.  Donna’s Old Town Café is located at 100 College Street in Madisonville Tennessee.  Phone: 423-442-3304.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for dinner!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Looks like a good choice for a quick meal.

  2. Glad you liked liked the biscuits and gravy, sounds really good to me!

  3. Dave, Laurie's place looks so delicious! Sorry you were not impressed with the potato pancakes.