#ThursdayDoors — Gray Brothers Cafeteria

This place is an institution.
I used to eat at Gray Brothers with my grandparents. I used to eat there with my aunts. I used to eat there with The Motterns before I was one.


Obviously I have not eaten there since 1944.

See, how we came to eat at Gray Brothers is because we never eat at Gray Brothers. Two Sundays ago we drove down to Southern Indiana, well I drove down, cause I want always to drive in the daytime, even if there is a snowstorm, light is mo better, and my husband didn’t want us to eat there even though that’s where Aunt Marthanne brought her sugar cream pie…
After I snuck off to eat Swiss cheese, Papaw said The Mister ought to take us to Gray Brothers on the way home and I said, “HE NEVER TAKES ME TO GRAY BROTHERS! I ask him every time, and every time he says no! Twenty years! Not once in twenty years!”
This surprised Papaw and he shook his head.
It’s a damn shame is what it is.
So when we drove home, well, The Mister drove home, because it was dark, I said to him, “Your dad said you ought to take me to Gray Brothers.”
“Did he now? My dad said that? To YOU?”
“He did. And I told him you never take me.”

We stopped at McDon’ts in Spencer, about which I will never complain, Coke Coke.

I asked The Mister, “Don’t you like Gray Brothers? Why you never wanna go?”
“Cause, Baby, I just wanna get home. We will make a special trip next weekend. I will take you then.”

And now, I will take y’all. Sorry you can’t smell it or taste it.


I’ll admit it’s an odd pic, unless you consider it makes a nice Lock Screen photo.


Oh, it’s happening!

IMG_1209 (2)

Oh my gosh, here we go!





Now, Imma tell you how it works. You wait in a line. A long, long line. Even if you show up when it’s ‘slow’, y’ain’t walkin in to eat, you walkin in to wait.


You got about 200 feet to wait inside, but on Sunday after church, the line is outside and wraps round the building. We went at 2 on a Saturday and were about 60th.



It doesn’t change.


Okay, the menu changes daily, and you must Google if you wanna be in the know. It’s all good. It is ALL good.


In case you never Googled ‘Hoosier tenderloin’ now I can show you.


It’s bigger than the plate.

But don’t order too much, cause PIE.


The pie! Oh the pie! I declared their lemon meringue pie the best when I was maybe ten. I am unwavering.




Beef n’ noodles, green beans, sage stuffing, half a roll, half a pie, and four glasses of water later, I was bursting.
Between the stuffing and my half a roll, I sopped up every bit of that noodle goo.

Perhaps you need a close-up of the noodle goo.


Mmm, noodle goo. What could be better on a cold winter’s day?

And that’s Gray Brothers.

I didn’t eat the rest of the day… cept PIE. The other half of the best lemon meringue pie ever.


You should eat before you read me, hm? Next week, I may take you to brunch on The Fort. Unless I go someplace more interesting this weekend, which might also include food, because it’s winter in the Midwest and I just want comfort foods and quilts and books and tv and sleeeeep.

#ThursdayDoors is part of an inspired post series run by Norm Frampton. Β To see other doors of interest, or to share your own, click the link and find the frog.

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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54 Responses to #ThursdayDoors — Gray Brothers Cafeteria

  1. You made me smile for many reasons with this post. Good food, especially good pie, always captures my attention. I also have very fond memories of going with some wonderful in-laws to Luby’s Cafeteria in Houston, Texas, every time we visited. From now on, you should stop every trip and just post a tiny photo of the pie you ate at the end of whatever post your writing. We’ll get the message. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, yes. Yes! YES!
    We used to have a place like this when I lived in NC and it was one of my faves. Pie. Rows and rows of pie…. what’s not to love?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    i am on Team Pie when it comes to desert, so this is almost too wonderful for words. This restaurant looks like my childhood revisited– the food and the cafeteria and the doors and the whole shebang. What a fun adventure for you. Not jealous at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh what a fab place, Joey. With that fire going, it reminds me of a traditional Irish pub here. With such a long waiting line I can see why you haven’t been there before. Honestly, how can you not go back again after that yummy food? Worth the wait, I bet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. markbialczak says:

    Thank you for getting my Thursday off to such a mouth-watering start, Joey. Gray Brothers seems to be the sort of place that Yogi Berra meant when he declared β€œNobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Benson says:

    Hurray for noodle goo. You know I don’t think we have reviewed Grey Bros. I have eaten there years ago in my first life but not since. I have got to go to Grey Brothers. I really enjoy cafeterias. Darn those noodles look good. I hope you get to the fort for their Brunch it is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      In your first life. *sigh* I love that phrasing. You and Pat should make the journey πŸ™‚ We had brunch at Cafe Audrey a few weeks ago. I got doors and food. I liked the doors best. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like one of those “must” places. Plus pie… sooo much pie.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Oh my goodness, I want to go. I love noodle goo. I need to ask my wife to make noodle goo. That pie looks so good, but I’d gang up on the noodle and maybe take pie home – you can take pie home, can’t you? What’s the point of having doors if you can’t take pie through them?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. John Holton says:

    The pie was the clincher.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Norm 2.0 says:

    Ugh, the idea of waiting in a line like that for the ‘privilege’ of giving someone my money in exchange for food, no matter how good the food may be, is totally NOT happening – except on rare occasions for love..
    Awfully pretty doors though and yeah that pie looks delish πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Aw. I feel that way about buffets, but not cafeterias. Well, I did love one buffet, but it was trop cher, fine food for foodies and my parents only took me there to celebrate. It closed about 15 years ago. One of my favorite delis in the city is Shapiro’s and it’s a cafeteria. If you’d pass up Shapiro’s or Grays, all I can say is MORE FOR ME! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Luanne says:

    Oooh, it reminds me of the marvelous Schensul’s we used to have in Kalamazoo!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great front doors, and experience through your words, and viewfinder! The pie does look yummy, so do the noodles. Did the Mister like it there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      The Mister DOES like it, but it’s about 35 minutes from home, plus line. He had roast beef, mash n’ gravy, corn and chocolate silk pie πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • We used to travel over the hill which really are mountains, but we call them hills- to get really good BBQ Tri-tip, but then He-Man bought a gas grill and learned to grill and he does a wonderful Tri-tip himself now so we don’t go out for it anymore.

        I would drive 35 miles for good food, but He-Man needs more convincing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • joey says:

          I feel that. I like to have new experiences, so I’d drive pretty darn far for a meal πŸ™‚
          It’s wonderful to cook good stuff at home, though. When you can have it exactly as you like it.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Fortunately, I’ve already eaten lunch, Joey, but it does look great. The doors look good, too, in a very different way, of course. πŸ˜‰ Glad you got back finally.


    Liked by 1 person

  14. slfinnell says:

    Bananas and pretzils for snack with the kiddos will not be the same today. Thanks lol

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bill says:

    I did eat before reading. I still wanted some. Eating food and being hungry are not always coincidental.
    My aunt Lorry always took me to Percy Brown’s when she was in town and I was still a preteen. I can still smell the place, taste lamb with mint jelly; and I can even hear Lorry’s voice and recall her scent. I never was in the place without her. Brown’s and Lorry are both gone, but I remember. Thanks for pinging my memory with yours. And congrats on the coup de Gray.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I am very pleased to have evoked so many fond childhood dining memories. I’m glad to have reminded you of your aunt for a bit. Coup de Gray πŸ˜› Excellent!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Badaboooom! How come that McDon’ts are still in business over there, one wonders. Your plate looks exactly like something I’ll order. Sage stuffing! And the yellowness, mmmm. For the pie, I’d probably go for something chocolatey instead, or better, I’d switch that bread for another dessert. Oh yes, I would.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      We would dine well together, you and me. McDon’ts doesn’t have lines like that, or prices like that, plus you can eat while you drive. For us, it’s a portability issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. JT Twissel says:

    If you wrote a food blog – “you should eat before you read me” would be the perfect tagline. Adorable snappy of you!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Perpetua says:

    I don’t know about lining up, by the time you are called you’re famished. I must admit you look good with the pie.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Prior... says:

    seriously glad I am not hungry seeing this (yes, I thankfully ate before this blog visit)
    ~ that lemon pie does look like it has the best meringue (can tell from the pics)
    ~ the place reminds me of a cafeteria in California and they must be doing something right to be in business this long…
    ~the doors were a nice wood and the way the pictures unfolded was nice from start to finish


  20. Amy says:

    Mmmm… This place reminds of a cafeteria that my Papa (grandpa) used to take us to sometimes. I can’t recall the name because it was rare, but I loved walking along and getting to pick out what I wanted from all the tasty choices. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  21. marianallen says:

    Oh, Gray Brothers is more’n two hours from my house. ~weeps~ There is, however a cafeteria only about 45 minutes from my house wif pie and stuff. I posted pictures of it one Thursday with a picture of the menu with all the sides. Maybe I’ll talk Charlie into taking me there when the weather gets nicer.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Rowena says:

    Hi Jolene,
    Greetings from Sydney, Australia. I really enjoyed your post and went and checked out Gray Bros’ website etc. Indeed, I also needed to check out a map of USA to brush up on my geography and see where Indiana is. I was curious about the yellow noodles and what gives them their colour and flavour? I haven’t tried something like that. I’ve really been wanting to try authentic Southern Fried Chicken but there isn’t anywhere local that does it, except of course KFC which isn’t the same. The only thing people queue up for around here is Fish & Chips at Fisherman’s Wharf in nearby Woy Woy. Actually, I just checked them out and they’ve taken a bit of a nose dive. The last couple of times we’ve gone there, the fish and chips were mediocre. It’s awful when a local landmark business throws itself down the gurgler like that.
    Hope you have a great week and I’m now feeling hungry. Indeed, not just hungry but in need of good food. I was going through recipe books yesterday trying to get a new repertoire together. We tend to be rather particular.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Hi πŸ™‚ Nice to see you!
      The yellow in the noodle sauce is because of the yolks in the noodle and the drippings from the beef. And see, I can’t imagine living without noodles — although more turkey and chicken noodles are cooked at my house. I rarely make egg noodles these days, but there are some dried storebought noodles I like.
      We have our share of fish n’ chips here, but I’m sure yours are flavored differently.
      Southern fried chicken is all about spice and hot vegetable oil, gettin a good crust on the skin. You can eat good varieties of it all over America, and it’ll taste a bit different but delicious regardless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Joey, I got quite hungry after reading your post and was reading through a cookbook yesterday trtying to get some new meal ideas. i’m great with baking but get stuck thinking about meals. I get really bad heartburn and reflux and avoid coffee and tomato puree, which can make it more difficult to get meal ideas. Our food in Australia has a strong Asian influence these days. Italian has also left a pretty big mark. lasagna is pretty popular. Our family has roast once a week. It’s so easy. We have a good Asian noodle place down the road, which is really authentic.
        Best wishes,


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