Back in 2000, my friend Dave Satterfield and I walked into City Cafe in Northport at about 4am for breakfast. It had been five years or so since I had eaten there, and several years for Dave. Both of us had eaten breakfast there several times a week when we were in college; me in the late 80's and Dave in the mid 90's.
As we walked in the door of the restaurant, Ms. Mamie looked at us, put her hands on her hips and exclaimed "where have you two been?" We sat down in a booth and she walked up with her pad in her hand and her huge smile.
She looked at Dave and said "two cheeseburgers, double fries." Dave just nodded in astonishment.
She looked at me and thought about it for a few seconds. "Three egg western omelet with extra biscuits."
At this point, both of us probably had our jaws open in amazement. This is not a sleepy little restaurant we're talking about. They probably feed a thousand people or more every day, so the fact that she remembered us from so long ago and what we liked to eat was just amazing. Ms. Mamie is just one of the many reasons that City Cafe will always be a special place for myself and many of my friends. I honestly don't think there's better Southern Food served anywhere else, and I judge all Meat and Threes by the City Cafe standard. So far none have made the grade.
Ms. Mamie left City Cafe several years ago, and now I've heard this week that she's retiring. I wish I could make it down there to help send her off, but life as usual is too busy for me to get away.
I was surprised to hear about the great sadness in her life that brought her to Northport and City Cafe just before I started attending the University and eating there. She never let it show or told us about it. She's one of those great Southern ladies that just carry on and don't let things get them down and never complain about anything. I love you Ms. Mamie and hope the rest of your life is filled with happiness and success.