by Brian Lamar, Assignment Editor

It is weird how some of the best down-home cooking is hidden off the beaten path. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call Espy Ave. off the beaten path, but Martha’s on Espy Ave. feels like a gem tucked away from the world.

Martha’s, a no-nonsense traditional country diner feels like you are stepping out of the hot gravel parking lot and into a den of culinary retreat.

The first noticeable reason for this description is the scope of blue-collar workers you will find there taking refuge from the heat and gaze of their foremen.

As you look around the room, hearty men with plates in various stages of completion are adorned with traditional dishes like country-fried steak, lima beans and mashed potatoes.

Each bite as delicious as the last. Seasoned, breaded and cooked to perfection by a team with decades of kitchen experience.

Martha’s isn’t a huge spot, so getting there early for lunch is a wise move…now that I wrote this and it printed though, this article may have changed that dynamic.

Martha’s is a lunch-counter type of operation. It is only open 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Recently, they have decided to open their doors for a catfish dinners on Friday nights.

Many people order off the menu for dine-in or to-go items like burgers and po-boys, but the biggest crowd draw is the Daily special.

Tuesday is a choice of a hamburger steak with grilled onions or fried pork chop or country Fried Steak.

Wednesday is spaghetti and meatballs or country fried steak.

Thursday’s special is a fried pork chop or country fried steak. I hope you are seeing a trend here.

Friday’s daily special caps it off with fried catfish with hushpuppies, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans or french fries.

The lunch specials come with two sides, a roll and a tea or canned drink.

On special occasions like Thanksgiving. Martha’s has (in the past) done special dishes for carry out like a 13 X 9 pan of cornbread dressing with chicken or a big pan of bread pudding and a gallon of seasoned greens.

So go plop your butt in a seat one day when you have worked up an appetite and be prepared to be full.

Martha’s will not let you down. The staff is friendly. The restaurant is right next to the soccer fields.

Maybe bring a ball and go next door to work off some of that food.