The only thing missing on Wednesday was a bottle of Ski at the Old Timers Restaurant in Ravenna. If you are missing the reference, lets go back to 1989 when the Kentucky Headhunters released their hit “Dumas Walker” with the famous line “slawburger, fries, and a bottle of Ski.”
I was born in southern West Virginia (Logan County), and I never really heard of a slawburger outside of the reference from the Kentucky Headhunters. In Logan County, it was Slaw Dogs (Morrison’s is my favorite), a hot dog with chili (not sauce) and coleslaw.
My colleague, Tal Jones, and I arrived at Old Timers after meeting with Estill County Judge-Executive Donnie Watson. We built up quite an appetite, partially because it was my first road trip since COVID-19 halted most of our travel in mid-March. If you have never been to Estill County, you should make a visit. It is unique because it is where the Bluegrass kisses the Mountains. Within minutes, you can be in the Bluegrass or the Mountains. I’ll take these Mountains every single time.
Old Timers, which opened 10 years ago, is just that… and it is just what I like. The dining area is like grandma’s kitchen and dining room. The food is made behind a bar, and the cook even chatted with us as she was cooking my burger.
So, let’s talk about the burger. I asked our waitress what the locals like. She replied, “The bacon double cheeseburger and the Double Decker.”
That’s when I knew this was my kind of place. I’ve been trying to watch my bacon intake (said no one ever), but I did inquire about the Double Decker. It’s a double hamburger patty with coleslaw on the bottom bun and all of the other veggies above the middle bun (see the photo).
Tal got special that day – glazed ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans. The dessert that day was blackberry cobbler. I didn’t partake because I would have had to take a nap, but I know it would have been so good.
Old Timers is a part of a pretty active local restaurant scene in Estill County. There’s the Steam Engine Pizza Pub on Main Street in Irvine – I’ve been told to try the Pizza Sub. There’s also Michael’s, which features a buffet that is unlike any other (according to a couple of locals). I was asked which I prefer: fried chicken or fried fish? I replied, “BOTH!”
For now, I’m going to continue to find some reasoning on how coleslaw made its way to hamburgers in Eastern Kentucky.
Oh, and for the record, you can’t go to Estill County without visiting Joe Crawford. And we did just that!