Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Out Of Town: Leonna's Kitchen, Rolla MO

Restaurant: Leonna's Kitchen
Address: 704 N Pine St, Rolla, MO
Website: None.
Genres: home-style, american
Check Constraints: None.
Chain: Not a chance.

  • Diet Coke ($0.79)
  • Hushpuppies ($1.59)
  • Street Car Sandwich ($4.79)
  • Cup of Chili ($2.59)
Every year around this time, three of the four geeks who contribute to this edifice travel down to Rolla, Missouri, for a roleplaying shindig. Paper and pencil roleplaying, yes. No, we didn't name the blog "geeks.rate(food)" on a total whim - we really are geeks. Witness a six hour drive one way, from Omaha to Rolla (and that's with your pedal pretty close to the floor). We decided that nothing about the blog itself precluded us from rating restaurants across the country, wherever we happened to roam, and so this and the next two posts will all be about restaurants in the Rolla area. Then it's back to business as usual.

Leonna's isn't exactly a hole in the wall, but it was hardly hopping. We were the only customers for a late Friday lunch. A quick google search shows that Leonna's is a regular meeting place for various church groups, so we imagine that it gets a little more crowded on a Sunday post-church. There was certainly no reason for it to be that empty - the food was solid hearty Midwestern fare.

If, like me, you were not familiar with the Street Car sandwich, let me enlighten you. It is at heart a patty melt - a disc of ground beef, served on a hoagie bun with grilled onions and mushrooms, swiss cheese, and a dollop of Thousand Island dressing (it's not on the menu, but it was definitely on the sandwich). It is a hard sandwich to botch but also a hard one to master, and Leonna's was a pretty damn good patty melt. All it lacked was the rye bread, which is perfectly fine with me as I'm not the world's biggest fan of caraway seeds in the first place. They do serve a patty melt, which must be practically the same thing with the rye instead of the hoagie. The price was more or less the same.

None of the sandwiches came with fries or other sides, so you've got to buy those separately. Luckily, the one I had was worth the extra cost. Deep fried cornmeal... what's not to love? I couldn't tell you for sure if the hushpuppies were made on-site, but it really doesn't matter. They were delicious, and cooked so that the very middle was just the slightest bit doughy.

The cup of chili, which was sorely needed on the frigid Friday we ate there, was nothing spectacular. It wasn't bland, but it didn't dance on my tongue with ecstatic flavor vibes either. Beans, meat, cumin, etc. It's a decent chili, and a rather large definition of the word "cup", which made it worth the cost.


  • Hushpuppies ($1.59)
  • BBQ Pork Steak with Taters and Corn ($5.99)
I went with the special that day in that empty diner. It was a nice piece of cooked sauce-covered meat that came with some very blah potatoes (they're freaking potatoes) and delicious corn (I do enjoy corn.) Good for the value, especially compared to the above sandwich. The meat itself was soft and probably would have tasted good on its own. I don't know how often they do this special, though, so who knows if you'll ever find it again. They do 'other' BBQ things, so you might run into the sauce again (which is most likely out of a bottle, although I think it's fine.)

The hushpuppies were just plain good. Having never actually had them before (for reasons I explained to Cham at length), it was good to have them. So much cornbread deliciousness.

Cham's got the environment/tone down right, although it's worth noting that it's also a smoking resturant, clearly. They also had desserts that we didn't try, but I sorta wish we did. Well, maybe another day. Or maybe not. After all, it's forever the hell away.