My wife was in the mood for a hamburger. Seizing the chance to sample a new eating venue, I reached into my stash of places to eat and we headed to The Other One Diner. It had been a while since our last visit to Juicy Lucy’s in New Orleans and we had to find a place closer to home to slake our craving for something other than the ordinary burger. I uncovered The Other One Diner while doing some online research earlier and had filed it away as a place to try when the opportunity arose. We pulled into the tiny parking area in front of the diner, tucked away in a hidden corner of a strip mall in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The unassuming façade of the establishment masked the active interior just inside the entrance.
Entering the establishment I felt more confident in our choice of eatery. It had that same homey feel that good diners and eclectic holes-in-the-wall share. Handwritten on in colored chalk on boards that would make any schoolmarm jealous was the extensive and eclectic menu. My heart skipped a beat as I began reading the numerous offerings. My mind went numb attempting to absorb the voluminous offerings of burgers, sandwiches, po-boys, and a maelstrom of unique sides, all in combinations not usually encountered in the culinary hinterland of East Tennessee. Menu items monikered as Chili Shaq, Tank, Monkey Surprise, Pig in the Alps, Green Hen, Tobinater, and Sean’s Spicey Burger complete with warning that it’s “Really Really Hot” had my mouth watering and eyes spilling tears of gratitude to whatever culinary gods were responsible for this temple of bunned booty.
Nearly speechless my wife and I finally made up our minds and decided on which temptations we would order. On most occasions we would order one entrée and split it, that usually being enough food to satisfy us both. But with such a superfluity of options we decided to each order something and try them both. I chose the Bangkok – grilled chicken with peanut sauce and Thai veggies, and spicy fried pickles on the side. My wife chose the Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger with a side of zucchini fries and we slipped off to our corner of the rapidly-filling dining area to await our orders. It was good that we arrived early. Not just to beat the crowd but so we had enough time to read through the gigantic menu and give our brains and taste buds time to sort things out.
Our food arrived after a short wait and we spent several moments simply admiring our choices. The sandwiches were visually appealing and smelled wonderful. Grudgingly we split our entrees and traded with each other so we could both enjoy a taste of everything that had arrived at our table. The spicy fried pickles were a new twist on an old favorite. The zucchini fries were a total surprise. I may never eat fried potatoes again! The grilled chicken and Thai veggie sandwich was delicious and loaded with cilantro, one of my most favorite herbs. Then it was time for the PB&B Burger. Hesitantly we both took a bite. We immediately looked at each other and shared simultaneous grunts and smacks as we dove hungrily into the afternoon’s show stealer. All too soon there was nothing left to devour in either of our baskets. We reclined as best we could in the booth and ruminated over our wondrous repast. Everything was delicious and we assured each other that we would definitely be back to try some other eclectic combinations from the wall of ingenuity that bore the menu. I may put peanut butter on everything I eat from now on! Then we stopped. Our eyes locked onto the single brownie at the same time. A lone brick of chocolaty goodness lay in the center of the table, midway between the two of us. For an instant we became opponents and dared each other to make a move. This could get ugly!
© 2014 G. Scott Brinkley. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.