A Slice of Fried Gold

General Bracket #2: (2) Gumbo House vs. (7) Harley's Old Thyme Cafe

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I have a soft spot for down home food. Something about fried foods and epic portions really gets to me (wonder what that could be?), and those are two things that Gumbo House and Harley's Old Thyme Cafe do with incredible skill. But who is better at slowly but surely clogging my arteries while making me smile ear to ear? Let's find out.

Gumbo House: This tiny little place is located in a house on 9th and F and has long drawn my interest. I drove by it over and over and always wanted to try it out, yet never did. Well, until I did...and then I fell in love.

This spot serves classic southern style poboys with ranges of meats in them: fried chicken (off menu, but always on for my dad and I), blackened halibut, oysters, shrimp...you name it. They also serve gumbo, jambalaya, catfish with red beans, and all kinds of other southern classics, and I am glad to say that they are all remarkably tasty.

The service is also consistently great, with the owner doing almost all of the serving himself and almost always remembering repeat visitors. It's kind of like a homecoming every time, and not just because it's in a small little house. Pricing is decent and hell, they even deliver. This is a place that doesn't have a lot of negatives, save for the fact it is most definitely not healthy (which is a pretty big negative in today's more health conscious world for me).

Harley's Old Thyme Cafe: This is the most underrated breakfast place in Anchorage, as it once was great because of the best brunch in town and has quickly transitioned into being the best place for classic breakfast foods in town. I dare you to go to Harley's on a Sunday morning and tell me that this isn't about as good as you can get for breakfast staples in town. Their Country Bumpkin Breakfast that comes loaded with chicken fried steak, hash browns, three eggs, your choice of toast or biscuits and gravy (BISCUITS AND GRAVY!), AND a Harley Cake (only on Sunday) is perhaps the best way to clog your arteries in town. Sure, you may feel like you need to have a quadruple bypass by the time you're done, but it's a small price to pay to satisfy your taste buds in such an incredible way.

However, their lunch is not quite as phenomenal. While the breakfast is what I go to them for, I have tried the lunch before and it was far less impressive. While they do have an almost absurd amount of sides to choose from, nothing on the menu really impressed me so far. Evidently quantity does not make quality. Throw in some occasional service hiccups (speed, not niceness), and we have some negatives in there that are hard to ignore.

The Showdown: In the battle of down home joints, the spotless appeal of Gumbo House brings in the quick win against Harley's. While I love me some breakfast, I prefer to have my arteries clogged and my reaction times assassinated later in the day, thank you very much.


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