The Blue Ridge Cafe
Longview, Alberta

Reviewed by Ian Klymchuk, President, Lucan Chapter
Philistine Liberation Organization

  It was spring break, and me and the wife'd been saving up our money and vacation time all year to take the twins skiing out west. Me, I don't ski. I wouldn't dream of risking my life that way, but the wife and twins had skied on some local hills, and they was real eager to try it in the Rockies. And they thought that once I got out there, I'd see how much fun they was having and change my mind. But nope, not me.

So every day while they was off blinding people with their neon ski-togs, I'd take the rental car and head off on the back roads, looking at the mountains and valleys and chatting with people in the small towns along the way.

  One day, about lunchtime, I found myself in a small, foothills town called Longview, and I pulled into this restaurant called the Blue Ridge. It seemed sort of like a local gathering spot.

  You walk in, and it's different, even from your standard small- town family joints. This one had about 600 hats hanging from the wall, all around the place. None of them rude or stupid ones either. Just standard hats from different places and businesses. Also, while they had a bunch of tables for four people, there was one real long table in the middle of the room for about sixteen people. I guess they get some big families in there every once in awhile.  

The prices seemed pretty good, and I was hungry, so I ordered the Blue Ridge Deluxe burger. The menu sez it has three patties, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fries, and onion rings, and so for the six-buck price tag, I figure the patties are probably about the size of kiddie burgers.

  Was I ever wrong. The burger was three handmade patties, and I swear each one must have been a third of a pound of meat. The whole thing was about six inches tall, and the platter was heaping with fries and rings.

  I could see all the locals smirking behind their hands and looking at me out of the corners of their eyes, waiting to see how I'd eat it. So I did the only thing I could think of. I smushed it together as much as possible and leaned over the plate to take a bite. Well, that sort of worked, but not for long. It was just too big and too awkward, so I finally took out two patties, ate them with my fork, and then ate the rest like a regular burger.

I should have asked or even looked around before I ordered. Some other guy in there was struggling to down the humungous platter of fish and chips he'd gotten, and the 10-oz. T-bone steak someone else was working on looked more like about 16 ounces to me.

The Blue Ridge gets 5 stars in my book. Huge, tasty meals for less than the price of fast food. And as a side benefit, I was still too full to eat dinner that night at the expensive ski-lodge restaurant.

[I am sad to report that the Blue Ridge Cafe is no longer in business. It was bought out by some people who removed all the hats, put in some "art", got a liquor license, and cut down on the portions, trying to make it seem like a big-city restaurant. Ian says, "it's a crying shame."]

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