We had plans to meet the Crumptons for dinner at one of their favorite restaurants waaaaaaaaaay out in Columbia tonight, but at the last minute they had to cancel. Since we were already coming through Hattiesburg, we reluctantly carried on to eat at The Back Door Cafe that they were raving about. I’ve never been to Columbia.
It’s such a fantastic and beautiful town. It reminded me a lot of Laurel’s historic district, stately mansions beside farm houses and parks, all just a block or 2 from their hopping little downtown. The courthouse looks like it belongs in a capital city, and their old movie theater’s grand reopening is tomorrow night. You could feel something in the air there—what I hope is slowly but surely happening in our own hood.
We walked in to the restaurant and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so… Cool! The signage and architectural elements inside were craftsman inspired (which you know we’re crazy about), the seating consisted of tongue-in-groove benches along the length of the room with cushy pillows and old timey family photos haphazardly decorating the perimeter and walls, with table lamps casting a cozy glow. There were dog eared books piled behind my head near a huge painting of a rocking chair and you could tell the owner had lovingly renovated the place to make it more than an eatery, but their home away from home.
The menu was really unusual and delicious—Asian fish, build your own pasta (so good!), panned chicken with capers, steaks, salads all with a Southern spin.
A sweet lady kept checking on us through the evening, and we found out as we were leaving that she is Mrs. Fran, the owner. We all hit it off right away, her being a big Main Street supporter and telling us what kind of things are going on in their downtown. She does catering for weddings too, so we had a lot to talk about there. She loves Julia Child and even met her once, and every year The Back Door Cafe has a special menu on Julia’s birthday where she serves the famous cook’s most famous dishes. How fabulous is that?