Driving old highway 70 from Sparta, TN to Rock Island is like moving backward through time. The path of one of the oldest roads through the state, The Old Kentucky Road, intermittently crosses the newer, now bypassed, highway seventy and the architecture along the way reflects that history. Some of the plantation homes you pass were clearly here before the Civil War.
I normally drive this road when I am going to visit Rock Island State Park. But today, I am driving it because I am craving home cooking. The Rock Island Market is an unlikely place to expect a good meal. As you drive past, it looks like the kind of convenience store that sprang up everywhere during the nineteen seventies. But anywhere near meal time, the parking lot is jam packed – – those folks ain’t folks shopping for groceries. You enter the restaurant through a side door in the market and are greeted by a stone fireplace that Cracker Barrel would be proud to display.
There is a cafeteria-style buffet straight ahead to display the daily specials, but you sit down to be served – – and the service is as good as the food; and the price even makes it better. So the next time that you are missing grandma’s or mom’s home cooking, take a deep breath and a slow drive to one of the better diners that I’ve been in for a long long time. You won’t regret the trip.