Going to the Oil Lamp Restaurant in Perry is like going back in time. In some ways, it’s very like the other “meat and threes” that serve our population. You walk through the line and choose the items you want, based on a daily menu.
In other ways, though, it feels like long ago. Everything is ultra clean and bright, the staff and clientele are friendly and neighborly, and a “je ne sais quoi” atmosphere pervades that makes it cheerier than many country-cooking places.
The prices can’t be beat either. One meat and two sides with bread costs $6.35, and a meat with three sides and bread is $7.85, not including the drink. A three vegetable plate is only $5.60 and large salads are $7.35. Kids plates with two sides are $6.50 including the drink.
So now, the menu. Each day features different items. On Monday, they have country fried steak, fried chicken and pork tenderloin, with sides such as broccoli cheese casserole, fried okra, creamed corn and black eyed peas. On Tuesday, it’s smoked chicken, beef tips with gravy and homemade hamburger steak with sweet potato soufflé, butter peas and turnip greens, among others.
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Wednesday, come for fried pork chops, smoked and smothered chicken and baked Cajun catfish with squash casserole, lima beans or mashed potatoes. Thursday, pineapple glazed shredded ham, turkey and gravy, and fried chicken are featured, with sides such as corn bread dressing, zipper peas and turnip greens.
Friday you can get baked chicken, meatloaf or fried catfish with sides such as shells and cheese, cheese grits and ford hook limas. Roast beef is available every day. Your plate includes bread, which includes biscuits, yeast rolls, corn bread and, on Fridays, hush puppies.
We came on a Tuesday and everything we had -- the smoked chicken, the beef tips and sweet potato soufflé in particular -- was worth making another trip for. The okra and tomatoes was especially fresh and tasted like it just came out of someone’s garden and into a pot.
Oh, and the desserts! All homemade, they have a huge range of available pies: pecan, chocolate chip pecan, chess, French coconut, coconut cream, peanut butter cream, chocolate cream, strawberry cream, blueberry delight, cherry delight, key lime and apple, and a banana pudding, too. We tried several, and the only one I don’t think I’d get again is the peanut butter, only because the color (more cream than peanut butter colored) threw me off. The key lime was wonderful, as were the chess and coconut cream.
They also have specials on Thursday and Friday nights, like smoked rib eye for $14.95, grilled sirloin for $13.95, and fried shrimp or oysters for $10.80. With prices like these, it’s worth the gas money to come down to Perry and try out this lovely little restaurant.
Oil Lamp Restaurant
Address: 402 Gen. Courtney Hodges Blvd., Perry
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $6.50-$14.95
Rating: 3 stars