Good God A-Mighty, Which Way Do I Steer? Pat's Place: A Patburger at The Center of The Universe

May 20, 2016

Pat Greene (left) poses with her granddaughter, Megan Blevins, at her new restaurant, Pat's Place, at the corner of Hwys 136 and 189 on Lookout Mountain. Megan waits tables part-time. Pat does the cooking.


     The cow has gone.

     The mighty bovine that stood at the corner of highways 136 and 189 in April to announce the opening of the newest restaurant in the Rising Fawn ZIP code, Pat’s Place, was on loan from Mayfield Dairies, where proprietress Pat Greene’s husband, Bruce, is employed, she explained. “I thought it would attract attention,” she said.

     Now, like one of India’s sacred cattle, the Mayfield cow has ambled beatifically on to bestow its benevolence on other establishments. But if the cow is gone, the beef remains.

     Pat’s Place has got your T-bones. It’s got your country-fried steaks. It’s got your meatloaf. But what it has most of all is (drum roll, please):

     “I’m known for my hamburgers, the ‘Patburger,’” said Ms. Greene, discussing her menu Wednesday afternoon as her staff prepared for the evening rush and The Planet’s stomach growled yearningly. “I’ve had pregnant women call me at 12, 1 o’clock in the morning—Ms. Pat, can you make me a burger for breakfast?”

     The answer, by the way, is yes. Pat’s Place is open for three meals, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

     But back to the Patburger: This is a hefty handcrafted hunk o’ ground beef available with cheese, onion, red tomato and all the trimmings. It’s a gustatory heavyweight that has (The Planet witnessed this personally) reduced vegetarian wannabes into ravening carnivores with dripping fangs and the Jimmy Buffet song on their lips.

     The Patburger was an institution at Pat’s General Store and Diner, the Highway 159 restaurant near Canyon Ridge Golf Course that Ms. Green operated for over three decades, years during which she prides herself on having perfected the art of the burger. Patrons can order the Patburger alone or served with Ms. Greene’s also-famous sides.

     “I have home-cut, hand-cut fries—curly fries and straight fries,” said Ms. Greene. To make them, she starts with, get this, potatoes. “Real food,” she says proudly.

     Real food is what she in fact specializes in, says Ms. Greene: She does a killer meat-and-three Monday through Saturday with different entrees featured daily, catfish and hushpuppies every Friday night.

     Ms. Greene says most of her menu is a continuation from her old restaurant, which she closed in about 2009 or –10.  “I took about a six-year break,” she said.

     She decided to open the new restaurant after her friend, Eddie McBryar, who owned the long-vacant Bea’s Country Store building, had spent about six months renovating it. She liked the building and the location. “We worked out a deal and it was a deal I couldn’t pass up,” she said.

     Plunging back into the restaurant biz, Ms. Greene did decide to try one new addition to her tried-and-true lineup: Barbecue. An uncle by marriage, Bucky Burnham, turned out to be to the pig what she was to the cow, so Ms. Greene added a smokehouse to her restaurant and Q to her menu. “It’s the best you’ll ever put in your mouth,” she said.

     Uncle Bucky is not the only family member helping out at Pat’s Place. Ms. Greene’s two granddaughters wait tables part-time and her mother-in-law mans the cash register when needed. In all, Ms. Greene has a staff of eight.     

     They stay busy. Ms. Greene says business has been generally good but she always welcomes more.

     So come on up to Pat’s Place, Dade Countians, for a Patburger at the center of the universe, but be aware you might not see Pat in person.

     She’s generally in the kitchen, cooking.    

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