The Clinch Mountain Lookout

It was Sunday afternoon, and Mom, Dad, and I decided to spend the beautiful day driving up into the northern Tennessee mountains (Lee was in Cincinnati, and was sorely missed!). We were pretty hungry when we left the house, but opted to wait and find food on the road. Unfortunately, all the roads we took led us around towns, not through them, and food was scarce.
Until we got to the top of Clinch Mountain.
There was a little road-side haven called the Clinch Mountain Lookout and Restuarant. It looked a little dive-ish, but we were hungry and it was open and the view was rather beautiful.
Inside, there were about 6 booths and maybe three or four tables, and the place was probably half full. The decor was very plain, and everything was showing age. Everything on the menu was fried. I ordered chicken strips, mom got the shrimp, and dad the fried pork chops.
While we waited for our food, I admired the non-edible items for sale — like the Nascar memorabilia, the hand-painted ceramic crucifix, and several ceramic woodland creatures. Our food arrived, and the waitress noticed dad’s pork chops looked overdone, so she brought him 2 more. Four deep fried pork chops. Yummy.
The best part about the meal was the live entertainment to help soothe the soul and aid in digestion. A man strummed his guitar while a woman banged out old-time melodies on her synthesizer. Each song started with a pre-set drum beat, and I think she had the synth sound set to “dog bark.” I had a Casio growing up that had 99 sounds, and this sounded like “dog bark.” She regaled us with favorites like “Old Rugged Cross.” The whole experience was so stereotypically hill-billy, that it bordered on surreal.
Unfortunately, we ate too much to order their signature dessert – vinegar pie. According to the menu, vinegar pie was born during the depression, when women ran out of lemon for lemon pie. So they substituted vinegar. Nowhere on the menu did they say it was tasty, just that it was famous.
Too bad we couldn’t eat any. But hey, that leaves us a good reason to return to the Clinch Mountain Lookout. To eat some vinegar pie, and listen to old hymns barked out on a synthesizer.