Character is character because it is unique. The moment you mass produce it, it loses its character. I’m sure the original TGIF’s restaurant was an unique experience. Same with the Olive Garden, Applebees, even McDonalds. But once those restaurants became mass produced they lost any claim to having character.
This is one of the reasons I love Reggie’s in Jackson, TN. The restaurant, while being updated over the past 15 years, still has character. But that is not not why Heidi and I try to stop there every time we drive through Jackson on the way to visit family. It’s the barbecue that keeps us coming back. No amount of character will keep me coming back if the food isn’t very good. Reggie’s has both character and great barbecue.
Reggie Actually Works There
The neat thing about Reggie’s is that he actually works there. I’ve had two great conversations with him over the years. The first was simply about why he added brisket to his menu that is mostly pork. There were so many Texans coming through, that he added brisket to the menu. And yes, it’s as good as any brisket in Texas.
This time through, I told him how I introduced Heidi to the restaurant after we got married, and she is the one making sure we always stop on our drives to eastern Tennessee. Reggie said he hears that story all the time. One man came by with his full-grown son, and told him how he introduced his son to Reggie’s when he was about 5. They’ve been driving through every summer ever since.
Yes, it’s that good.
The other great conversation was about the picture of Reggie and B.B. King.
I couldn’t help but ask Reggie about the photo he had with blues legend B.B. King on the wall. He told me that he has a newer one at home. Both he and B.B. grew up in the same area of Mississippi together and he knew some of B.B.’s family.
Heidi told Reggie that she saw B.B. in concert one year when he opened up for the Rolling Stones. She liked B.B. much better than the Stones. I would have preferred to see B.B. in concert as well, but never got the chance. And Heidi pointed out that after watching the Stones, she felt like she needed a shower.
Elvis Presley’s Death
I didn’t have to ask him about this newspaper. I remember the day I found out about the king’s death. I was at summer camp, and many of the girls immediately broke into tears. I think it took me a while to realize how much weight Elvis’ carried in our culture, so his death was huge.