The heads don’t quite swivel when we walk into Tommy’s Dutch Lunch, in an industrial section of Walla Walla, Washington. I’m a bit surprised, as we’re obviously the only tourists in the place and my sister is the only woman, other than the two waitresses.
The rest are regulars—middle-aged, working men chewing the fat around a large oval table and squeezed into stools overlooking the kitchen. Which suits me just fine, as I love parachuting into such a vibrant, local scene.
The place, complete with a sloping floor, is named after a one-time owner and boxer, Tommy Gardner. The Dutch lunch refers to the old practice of folks assembling their own sandwiches.
What surprises me is the quality of the food, several notches above the greasy spoon I’m expecting. My chicken-fried steak is hot, crispy and delicious under a blanket of white, pepper gravy. The over-easy eggs are perfectly cooked and the mountain of house-grilled potatoes hard to stop shovelling down. My sister’s lone poached egg is dwarfed next to the hubcap-sized pancake.
The coffee’s thin but, hey, nobody’s looking at a computer or phone screen. We’re happy campers.
Tommy’s Dutch Lunch
1203 West Pine Street, Walla Walla, Washington
Daily 6 am-2 pm