L & M Cafe

Buffet | Diner | Hamburgers | Meat-and-Three | Small Town Café
excellent
Worth a detour
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**THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED**

Glitterati do not eat at the L&M Cafe, nor do persnickety epicures. It’s far from the culinary cutting edge. But if you seek a family-run diner with honest proletarian character, if time-burnished upholstery induces a warm nostalgic glow, and if you smile at a menu of effulgent burgers and meat-and-3 classics with Jell-O and thickly iced sheet cake for dessert, this inconspicuous roadside eatery on old Augusta Road is a detour you’ll want to make.

Whataburgers are the menu’s featured attraction. No relation to the chain of Texas-based Whataburger restaurants, these are thick, irregular patties of beef that are powerfully flavored by the vintage iron grill on which they’re sizzled. Piled into a big, soft bun with cheese and bacon, lettuce, tomato, and condiments, these are cooked-through diner paragons, large enough that a single is right. In fact, I thought my double bacon cheeseburger was overly beefy, if such a thing is possible. French fries are a worthwhile option: thick, skin-on logs with crisp edge and soft, starchy center.

Fried pork chops are outstanding. They’re juicy within and wrapped in golden crust that is salted enough to become powerful harmony for the meat it envelops. Extra-thick crust on fried chicken is an even more significant presence: chewy, flavorful batter that is a joy to tear off and eat all by itself. The chicken inside drips full-flavored juices. On the side, green beans, field peas, corn niblets, stewed tomatoes, and cole slaw are bit players in their little sections on L&M’s diner-style partitioned plates. Weekdays, a help-yourself buffet lunch offers all the side dishes and a couple of entrees from which to choose.

Although L&M is a short-order diner, service is not instantaneous. Those sitting at the counter or in booths near the kitchen hear meals being chopped, mixed, cooked, and assembled. In the case of deep-fried food or even the fairly thick hamburgers, this can take a while. I enjoy the wait, as it provides plenty of time to poke around the colorful dining area and the adjoining game arcade, which includes an old-time claw machine.

What to Eat
L & M Cafe, Double Bacon Cheeseburger
Double Bacon Cheeseburger
Must-Try
King of Whataburgers: double bacon cheese, fully dressed
L & M Cafe, Pork Chops
Pork Chops
Must-Try
Thick, juicy fried pork chops are are a house specialty.
L & M Cafe, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Must-Try
Fried chicken sports crunchy, well-seasoned crust.
L & M Cafe, French Fries
French Fries
Must-Try
Whataburgers can be accompanied by high-quality French fries.
L & M Cafe, Philly Sandwich
Philly Sandwich
Messy, yummy Philly sandwich
L & M Cafe, Chili
Chili
Thick clods of ground beef make L&M's mild chili a rib sticker.
L & M Cafe, Sweet Tea
Sweet Tea
Pour your own tea refills from the accompanying carafe.
L & M Cafe, Baked Spaghetti
Baked Spaghetti
Baked spaghetti: a balance of beef, sweet tomato, tender noodles, & creamy cheese
L & M Cafe, Lemon on Lemon Cake
Lemon on Lemon Cake
A square of baked-that-morning cake is included with the weekday buffet.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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