This place has been on my list for quite a while, and recently I was even scolded a bit for not having been before. So the other day, I bribed my BFF to make the like 2 ½ hour trip out to Mooresville and back to go to Gray Brothers. I drove and bought her lunch. She was a bit dubious… “Erin, there is no cafeteria that can be worth this kind of drive.” But she is used to me, and knows that once I have my mind on something, well I tend to be a pain in the ass until I make it happen.
When we got there, we were happy to see the line wasn’t too long (although the fence posts in the line area sort of made me feel a little bit like cattle). I knew I was getting the fried chicken before I walked in the door, and I did. I got one piece of white and one dark (breast and leg)(a little over $5 for both) to give them both a try. So, in thinking about this review, I realized I need to differentiate again between the types of fried chicken. There’s the kind that has a sort of breading/batter on it (a la MCL) and then there’s the kind that is just lightly seasoned and floured chicken pieces. Gray’s is the latter. Now I like both types when done well, but you have to season it well if you are just going to do the lightly floured kind. This was my problem with Gray’s—the skin tasted good, but wasn’t amazing because it wasn’t seasoned much. And the breast piece (as is so often the case) was dry. The leg was much more tender and all in all tasted better, but I still put Mississippi Belle up there as the best of this genre of fried chicken. And WAY closer to my house.
For my sides I had mac and cheese and mashed potatoes (my stand by fried chicken sides) ($1.80 each) and I got a yeast roll ($0.85). I liked the roll—super soft and light. The mashed potatoes were fine, a little drier than I like, but then again, I am not usually a gravy person and maybe they assume you will put gravy on them. The mac and cheese was pretty disappointing. Tasted a lot like processed cheese to me—that too smooth, too uniform , with a slight aftertaste flavor. You know what I mean.
The BFF got the chicken and noodles ($3.99) and commented on the fact that she liked that the noodles were clearly homemade, but she didn’t feel like they were so good that they were worth that kind of drive.
I also got a piece of pie, because everyone who has ever talked about why this place is good, always talks about the homemade pie. Well, so maybe I was supposed to order the sugar cream pie, but honestly, I generally prefer a fruit pie. And when I saw they were offering apricot pie, I went for it, because, well, I love apricots ($2.55). As I ate it, the BFF made a comment about what I was doing as I sort of picked at it—she said exactly what I was thinking. “Are you trying to find a piece of fruit?” I was looking for a piece of fruit. Even a teeny bit of fruit. The pie crust was good and crunchy with a sugary crust, but there was not much fruit to it at all. Now I know fruit pies have their fair share of that gelatinous filling as well, and I realize that this is not the season for apricots (or pretty much any other fruits in the pies) but this one really had little fruit to it.
So, not trying to sound really negative, but I am not getting the desire to make the drive from my house to go back to Gray Brothers. If I lived nearby, I might go there occasionally. But if I want cafeteria food, with two locations of MCL within like 7 miles of my house, I think it unlikely I would make that kind of drive. So I know some of you may want to yell at me, but I’m just being honest.
Gray Brothers Cafeteria
555 South Indiana
Mooresville, IN 46158