A Preview of the Coming "Highway 55" Restaurant - TribPapers

A Preview of the Coming “Highway 55” Restaurant

The Moose with fires. Photo by Clint Parker.

Marion – Last week, I found myself in Marion. While there, I thought I’d research the new Highway 55 restaurant coming to Weaverville. I tried contacting the company more than two weeks ago for more information about the eatery without hearing back.

Highway 55 in Marion is currently located in the same plaza as Walmart is(what a coincidence, Walmart is where the one in Weaverville is being built). Marion’s location doesn’t have a drive-thru. I learned from the waitress that a new location was being built down the street and that a customer would have a drive-thru, just like the one coming to Weaverville.

As I walked into the restaurant, the waitress behind the counter told me to take a seat anywhere. I did. As I waited, I noticed the eatery’s 1950s vibe, with walls decorated with pictures of actors and musicians from the 1950s, including James Dean, Elvis Pressley, Chuck Berry, John Wayne, and the like.

The booths, tables, and chairs complemented the 1950s theme with a neon-lighted sign in front of the open grill area that read “burgers, shakes & fries.” Although I don’t know if it worked because it wasn’t lit up while I was there. Some of the walls also had large decals or paintings of scenes from what you might see driving down the streets in the 1950s, with cafes, cars, and gas stations depicted from the era.

A guy, who turned out to be a member of the grill staff, walked up and took my drink order and said the waitress would be with me in a few minutes. There was a large party of about 10 people at one table, an older couple at another, and a guy waiting for what turned out to be a to-go order at the counter. Not much for 1:30 in the afternoon.

In a few minutes, the waitress came up and brought me a menu. I told her it was my first time there and asked what she recommended. She recommended the Moose. I got it with fries, with my other choice being tater tots. The Moose is described on the menu as “tender chicken with crumbled bacon, ranch dressing, provolone and American cheese.”

The meal arrived in what I thought was a reasonable amount of time to wait for my food. Since I was trying the food for the sake of the readers, I also ordered a burger (don’t worry, I only ate part of each and took the rest home). I ordered the Americana burger “5.5 oz of beef, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles & American cheese” and asked them to add ketchup and mustard and leave the cheese off. The waitress rechecked the order before heading off.

The Moose was a hoagy roll with thin sliced grilled chicken with bites of real bacon and cheese melted to bind the two types of meat together, with the ranch dressing completing the creation. The sandwich had a unique taste. I don’t remember ever tasting anything like it before, and it was tasty. The fries were middle of the road in size, not too small and not too thick, with the right amount of salt. They had a nice crispness on the outside and were hot on the inside.

The trouble came when I was waiting for my second order. The waitress took a long time getting back to my table as she was the only one waiting tables. She also worked to prepare frozen custard treats for everyone who ordered them. Another couple had entered the restaurant and sat down across from me. When she did get to my table, she brought me my bill and then went to wait on the new couple. After waiting another 15 minutes, she finally came by and asked if there would be anything else. I said yes, my other order. The look on her face made it apparent that order had not been put in.

After again confirming the order, I asked for a sample of the frozen custard, which is vanilla. While I waited for my order, the cook also confirmed my order, which he had messed up. By then, the waitress had brought me the custard. I found the custard to have a thick consistency, but when I put it in my mouth, the texture was more like that of ice milk with ice crystals than frozen custard.
When the waitress finally brought my burger, it was in a to-go bag, but I wanted to taste it fresh and hot. So I pulled it from the bag and gave it a try. It was a grilled burger that was juicy, not greasy, with fresh toppings and a non-toasted bun. I found it a delight for my tastebuds.

I took my bill to the counter and paid. It was about $18 plus a tip. Since this was my first time on Highway 55, I can’t say if the things about my visit were unusual or unique to the Marion location. I guess I’ll have to wait until the one in Weaverville opens. Which, by the way, we still haven’t heard from the company to know when that might be.