Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **

Jonathan Byrd’s boasts that it is America’s biggest cafeteria. The serving line is eighty-eight feet long with a minimum of twenty entrees at any one time (serving continuously from 10:45 to 8:45 daily) as well as countless vegetable side dishes, Jell-Os, salads, desserts, breads and rolls. In need of comfort when we first stopped by, we dined on turkey pot pie and a bowl of chicken and noodles, the latter an especially salubrious bowl of thick, soft pasta and shreds of chicken in just enough broth to keep it all moist.

It happened to be a Wednesday, so the other entree choices for the day included wiener schnitzel, stuffed peppers, smoked sausage, fried cod, fried chicken, roast beef carved to order, turkey carved to order, meat loaf, and St. Peter’s fish. Each of the seven days a week has its own list of specials; and every day of the week, you can count on beef Manhattan, ham and beans, steak, shrimp, vegetarian vegetable soup, plus low-cal diet items from salad to no-sugar pies.

Among the memorable side dishes were macaroni and cheese with a good portion of crusty, chewy top-cheese mixed in with the creamy noodles from below, a buttermilk drop biscuit that was a textural joy and bread pudding laced with slices of cooked-soft apple and plenty of sweet caramel sauce.

The late Jonathan Byrd was a man on a mission from God. “I was impressed by how many significant biblical events involved people eating together,” he wrote for a story in Guideposts. As a matter of principle, he served no liquor in the cafeteria, not even in its banquet rooms, and even after his passing, the Jonathan Byrd function rooms regularly play host to gospel concerts.

Directions & Hours

100 Byrd Way Exit 99 off I-65, Greenwood, IN , (Get Directions)

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What To Eat

fried chicken

DISH
turkey pot pie

DISH
caramel bread pudding

DISH
Meatloaf

DISH
Corn bread stuffing

DISH
Greens

DISH
Sugar Cream Pie

DISH
Corn Muffin

DISH
Mac N Cheese

DISH

Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria?

3 Responses to “Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria”

Al & Janet Bowen

October 10th, 2013

We make monthly trips to Indy and make a point of stopping at JB’s for lunch each trip. I second the positive comments on the Fried Chicken, although if we happen to be there on “Liver and Onion Day’ I will choose that entree. The Carmel Bread Pudding makes a great warm dessert for a solid meal.

Always spotless clean, and with a friendly staff, Jonathon Byrd’s serves up a good example of Hoosier Hospitality in a traditional atmosphere. We will continue to visit it in the future.

Reply

Randy Owens

January 28th, 2005

I had a chance to spend New Year’s Eve here two years ago while I was in town on a business trip. There was an old-fashioned gospel singing going on and the cafeteria had converted to a flat rate charge of $25 which included a limited all you can eat menu and the entertainment. The main parts of the menu were the traditional baked ham, turkey, mac-n-cheese, green bean casserole, dressing, and cranberry sauce that you always HAVE to have! The food was well cooked for the crowd of about 500 people and even thought the lines were a bit slow, the staff was working very hard to move things along. Dessert was a choice of several pies and cakes and in general the meal was pleasing and appetizing.

While I was a bit dissapointed to not get the “real” food, I have to say that the staff and the people there for the event were VERY gracious and welcoming. I stood out quite a bit with my southern (NC) accent and was the subject of more than a few, “You ain’t from around here are you?” comments but all in all I had a wonderful time in a clean, family atmosphere.

I came away with the impression that these particular types of gospel singing events are just par for the course in this part of the country! I would recommend it and would love to do it again.

Reply

Jason Warren

February 1st, 2004

Six hours of driving and looking forward to the largest cafeteria was met with disapointment. The long line of food laid out cafeteria style was fun. From the appetizers to the entrees to the sides to the desserts there was plenty to keep the brain and stomach in conflict on what to chose. However the excitement was short lived. The meatloaf was below average, thick and juicy as it should be, but low in flavor. The green bean caserole had a pungent taste to it while the biscuit was standard fare. The only highlight was a corn bread stuffing. Thick and full of texture and taste.

Service is different that you go through the line and choose your food and get a ticket from a cashier, but don’t pay. Then in the Colonial style dining room servers offer drinks and other food options that can be added to your tab that you pay at the exit.

Reply

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