Gowensville is a quiet community just south of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the North Carolina border. Where the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway crosses Route 14 is the Junction of Gowensville, a favorite meet-and-eat place for local citizens as well as visitors to this pretty part of the Southeast.
Service is buffet-style: pay one price, fill a plate, and find find a table. Once seated, customers are entertained by a model train that runs on an overhead track around the dining area.
The cuisine is downhome Dixie, which means plenty of pork products on the Friday & Saturday breakfast buffet and Sunday brunch: glazed ham with pineapples, hickory-smoked bacon, sausage patties, bologna, liver mush, and fried fatback. Buttermilk biscuits are swell, especially when slathered with house-made apple butter or strawberry butter.
Fried chicken stars on the buffet at lunch and dinner. It’s outstanding fried chicken, encased in thick, convoluted crust that is seasoned to coax maximum flavor from the moist meat within. In addition to chicken, each day’s array has another entree, such as meat loaf on Tuesday, pork chops Wednesday, BBQ Saturday, and pot roast Sunday. Check the Junction website to see the exact daily rotation. Side dishes vary by day, also; among the southern-kitchen classics are fried green tomatoes, mac & cheese pie, collard greens, creamed corn, fried okra, and broccoli casserole. There always are strips of fried fatback to munch.
Note the hours of operation: lunch every day; breakfast only on Friday and Saturday; dinner Thursday through Saturday.
Thanks to Kevin Igoe for leading me here.