Wry Noon

Where was a lyric in Bobbie Gentry‘s 1967 song “Ode to Billie Joe” that went something like Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge/And now Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. I was up to no good a couple of Sundays ago up on Choctaw Street in downtown Leavenworth, when I dragged some friends to the High Noon Saloon & Brewery (206 Choctaw).

We’d made the foray into Leavenworth because another friend had told me that she’d stopped in at the High Noon Saloon for breakfast one Sunday (on her way to throw something — her autographed Bobbie Gentry go-go boots, I suspect — over the side of the Bicentennial Bridge). She gushed that the 14-year-old saloon serves an inexpensive “all-American breakfast” for $4.99. She didn’t order it, of course; she ordered the all-American pot roast.

I’m always up for a five-buck breakfast, and it was a pretty day, so we set off for Leavenworth at 11 a.m. The place doesn’t open until 11, which should have been a red flag about its breakfast business, but I had called ahead, and the young girl who answered the phone assured me that the saloon offered breakfast until 4 p.m.

Once we got up to Choctaw Ridge, I mean Street, we saw the big ol’ sign pointing to the High Noon Saloon, which is located in the huge old 19th-century brick foundry where the Great Western Stove Company manufactured wood-burning stoves until the 1940s. Now it manufactures Tonganoxie Honey Wheat Beer, Annie’s Amber Ale and something called Stampede Stout.

One of the beers — none of the servers had the same answer — is used to make the saloon’s beefy chili, which is very good. It also makes a much better late-morning meal than the bargain “all-American breakfast” of two eggs, a hash-brown patty (the kind McDonald’s makes but not as tasty), bacon and toast. I ordered wheat toast but got thick, chewy “Texas toast” instead. (I kept it because it was better than the wheat.)

The modest platter (it’s the only breakfast dish on the menu) wasn’t worth driving 23 miles. I was still hungry, so I wolfed down a delicious cup of homemade chicken soup. Bob wisely decided against breakfast and ordered a nice, big cheeseburger. So had most of the other diners in the joint, I noticed. They know what to do at High Noon: Order lunch.

Categories: News