“I have such fond memories of eating at Shoney’s as a kid; I don’t want to go back because I know that I’ll be disappointed. I want to leave it as a memory”
“I thought [Shoney’s] closed down. Did they not?”
“Only old people eat there.”
Shoney’s has been getting a lot of attention around Clinton lately. Some may say this is due to their location, which is easily seen from I-20. However, it is more likely that the article Classic American Food: Shoney’s has been a favorite read of many Clinton citizens over the past two weeks.
The article, written by the well-known and well-read James Ritchey, characterises the restaurant as a family-friendly environment where one can get an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and coffee. Ritchey is quick to forget, though, one of his early statements regarding the other options that Shoney’s has regarding burgers and dessert.
Either Ritchey is fixated on his breakfast, or he chooses to forget about the other items at the dining establishment. I personally have had their self-proclaimed signature Hot Fudge Cake. I was not impressed. Andrew Welch, local musician and part-time food critic also sampled the Fudge Cake.
“If clowns had a cuisine, this would be it. The food at Shoney’s is foolish; a parade of exotic ingredients, confused and overpowering sauces, and ideas piled one on top of the other until the recipes simply collapse under their own weight.
“Almost every dish is sweet — so sweet that the desserts seem like palate cleansers.”
James Ritchey notes that Shoney’s “tends to be overlooked and forgotten.” And he is not alone in this observation.
When questioned about the restaurant, some were entirely disinterested and could not hold their attention on what they called “essentially a pit-stop dining experience.” After being asked how many thumbs up he would rate Shoney’s, Hunter Lynch responded with, “Will you make sure to put my name in with my quote?”
Mississippi College resident director Billy Stone has said, “I like nothing at all except for their coffee.”
James claims Shoney’s is a family-oriented restaurant, however most of those I have queried have not been to the restaurant since they were children. Once again, apparently, Shoney’s does not have the staying power.
Ellie Sills honestly explains her thoughts toward the restaurant by saying, “I’ve never heard of a single story that started with someone saying ‘the other night while at Shoney’s…’ maybe Waffle House, but never Shoney’s.” She reiterates her sincerity, “I wasn’t even trying to make a quote; that’s real.”
Many things have been said of it both good and bad.
“I’m surprised it’s not shut down already.”
“It’s the worst food I’ve ever eaten.”
“Only old people eat there.”
Some say these are fictitious quotes. I respond with this: Can you prove it?
Justin Medders, a local of the Byram/Jackson/Clinton area puts it this way, “It’s no Chick-Fil-A.”
In Classic American food, James quotes Tyler Miliken that Shoney’s is the “Sasquatch of breakfast buffets,” stating “you won’t believe it until you see for yourself.” I will agree that Shoney’s is the Sasquatch of breakfast buffets. It is usually behind a lot of trees in the thick of the woods, and people cannot seem to take clear photos of it.
In spite of all the things stated above, it is true that I have been to Shoney’s, and I have actually had a good time. I have gone with James, my good friend and atrocious writer and with my grandfather (separate occasions). They were both fun occasions, and I blame it on the people I was with.
I guess after all is said and done, Shoney’s is certainly a place one can go to be with family and friends. Godspeed, Shoney’s!
– Kirk Hensley, Contributing Writer