Bobby and June’s Kountry Kitchen is a place of romanticism and idealized memories. Every city has a place (or two) like this, a breakfast joint that serves as a tribute to times gone by from era’s long past. It’s here we find this simple little shack, nestled in the bosom of high-rises and traffic jams. Sitting proudly on 14th street in the cleavage between Midtown and Westside, Bobby and June’s bright yellow sign and weather tested wood planks immediately call attention to this Atlanta institution.
It’s a popular eatery amongst those that attend Georgia Tech, as it serves as a comfortable mixture of Waffle House meets Fox Bros. With its very own barbecue pit, Bobby and June’s moves seamlessly between the world’s of Meat & 3’s and diners. It was this history that coaxed me out of bed one recent morning, inviting me in for a meal where calories aren’t to be trifled with and organic is a term that applies to the Streak-O-Lean on your plate and not a food movement. Though I’m much more likely to see a sunrise on my way to bed than on my way out of it, the opportunity to rejuvenate the Ambiguously Foodie Duo was just too much to pass up.
Entrance into B&J is like watching Deliverance on loop, only – the people smile in this little movie (that and they don’t violate your body cavities). To get in, you’ll walk past a couple of chairs beside a coke top checkers set, some hanging hams, and handful of old time signs. After you open the steal gate and walk through the little anti-foyer, you’re smack dab in the middle of 1920’s Jaw-jaw, save for the electronic cash register and a few other giveaways. There’s a long bar which meshes with a couple of little dinning areas filled mostly with booths. The kitchen, and it’s exposed barbecue pit, accounts for the rest of comfortably cluttered space.
After some brief chatter between Eat It and I, we found ourselves sitting at a booth near the epicenter of the place. Most of the tables were occupied, and everyone from your downtown lawyer to your countryside bumpkin seemed to have convened on this particular morning. A minute or two later, we met by a jovial woman, one with a propensity for friendly sarcasm, who gladly helped explain what Streak O’Lean is (identified on the menu as Steak-o-lean … it’s fatback). She did this eloquently after handling our drink orders: coffee for him, sweet tea for me. The tea is legendary here, it’s the kind where you ask: “Would you like tea with your sugar?”].
The menu is a standard offering of southern breakfast options and classic lunch selections. Several types of sausage and meats, shredded hash browns, grits, and biscuits, all accompany an onslaught of eggs for the breakfast anytime. Open from 6am-2pm daily, lunch is also an option. If you’re looking for anything remotely healthy for your mid-day meal, you’ll be S.O.L at Kountry. Nope, what you can have is cooked meat, with or without bread. There’s barbecue, steak, roast beef, and so forth. Healthier options here seem to be the hot dog (with or without chili), or a single solitary chicken sandwich option. Heck, your best bet might actually be the peach cobbler if you are watching what you eat. Maybe there’s some turkey, but i didn’t see it.
Alas, it was 8am, so breakfast was on tap. My partner in crime went with a big slab of country ham, two eggs, and a side of grits (a combo at roughly $5.50 if memory serves). Meanwhile, I went with a sausage egg and cheese biscuit, a side of country link sausage, and a double order of hash browns (one served as my dessert).
I’m pretty sure most sugar here is reserved for the sweet tea, cuz the food is doesn’t have any. Instead, it’s either knee deep in salty goodness or fairly bland. Though I didn’t have a chance to steal anything from the other side of the booth, Eat It recognized a streak of salt in his ham, but added a dose or two to his eggs and grits (which on site appeared extremely soupy to me).
While Jimmy’s plate was appropriately dull to the eye, I found a golden brown serving of hash browns brightening up my already rich and buttery biscuit. Ample in portion, the biscuit encased a yellow mound of eggs accented by veins of American cheese. Serving as the sandwiches’ Atlas was a crisped and salty serving of patty sausage.
As with many a breakfast dishes, it’s pretty hard to make something spectacular out of the classics. That said, it’s pretty easy to “F” it up. The biscuits are fresh and bready (as opposed to flaky), the eggs are fluffy, and the cheese and sausage bite wonderfully. The sandwich took solace in the ingredients it had, and delivered a tasty bite. Nothing to sluff off as bad, but nothing to invigorate my inner child. It’s a greasy, fatty, mushy bite of bad-for-you. Take it, eat it, revel in it … and then move on with your day.’
The hash browns were notably absent of salt, but that was easily fixed table side. Meanwhile, they were perfectly crisped on one side while maintaining their oily smoothness on the top turned underbelly. My desert of country link sausage with another side of hash browns was a foray into Jenny Craig’s version of hell on earth. We walked out, better men than when we walked in … but probably because of our conversation and not our grub. It was tasty, but when I found my bill at over $10.00 before tax and tip, I was a little off put. It’s not “expensive” because a $10 meal isn’t, but for what you get, a few bucks off would go a long way.
Few things can wrangle me from my slumber … and to do it before 8am is almost always an exercise in futility. As that goes, I don’t have the pantheon of breakfasts under my belt that most people do. However, I’ve eaten at all the big breakfast spots around town, and am pleased to have gotten B&J’s under my belt. With big ticket breakfasts at the West Egg and the well known Silver Skillet both within a stone’s throw, B&J’s seems to get lost in the mix. Lord knows i’ve driven by the Atlanta institution many thousands of times. Meanwhile, Carver’s Grocery seems a better option for Meat and Three.
Bobby & June’s is a place that I appreciate far more for its personality than anything actually on the menu. Rumors of rude service seem lost on me, so I’ll just say that this is a place worth a visit. It’s food is fairly indistinguishable from the likes of the aforementioned Skillet (and similar to that of Waffle House). I’m still preferential to the Gato Bizco Café for it’s punk rock attitudes and superior grub, but if you like a K in your Kountry, Bobby and June’s seems just fine to me. Heck, if it’s worthy of mention in Food & Wine, it’s good enough for me. Follow up visits are in order, but you can tell things don’t change much round here … it’s been that way for years.
Bobby & June’s Restaurant Address & Information
375 14th Street Atlanta, GA 30318 // 404.876.3872 // Bobby & June’s facebook