Watkins Grill dates back to 1947 and is in the spot formerly known at the Black Hawk Tavern which started in 1928. Just outside of downtown, it serves Southern homestyle breakfast and lunch. A fairly small place, it has parking adjacent to the free standing building. Inside the sticky wood tables are closely spaced and there is also seating at the bar counter. There is a sizable menu that is supplemtented by daily specials and a list of sides offered that day. It accepts only cash or check. The prices are on the cheaper side and most plates come with 2 side dishes, that included lots of vegetable options. Windows to the outside add lots of light and no music was in the background. It appeared to attract a large regular crowd that the servers knew. The food was generous but had little flavor or seasoning. Maybe we ordered wrong but both were daily specials. We left much to go somewhere else.
The Baked Chicken came with dressing and gravy along with tea. Sides of baby limas and squash casserole were selected to go with it. You could pick dark or white with chicken and we got dark. The cornbread dressing was gummy and thick. The limas were not fresh and cooked till mushy. The chicken was dull and tastless under a thick gravy. The squash casserole was had a cheese-crumb topping that was tough to cut but did add a bit of flavor and texture to the well cooked yellow squash.
Recommended by our server, the beef stew was served over rice and came with tea. We got sides of fried okra and green beans. The rice was as gummy as I’ve ever seen. The beef was tender but dry. The carrots seemed to be the pre-cut little types and they and the potatoes added color but little flavor. The green beans were cooked to mushy with no seasoning added to the pot. The fried okra seemed to be a frozen variety rather than fresh.
The meals also came with a bread basket of butter toasted rolls. They were the best part of the meal. They were halved and then griddle toasted and actually had some flavor.