Photo 4: Accepting the Authenti-CITY Award on Monday from Mayor Joe Meyer at Covington Yard was Carolyn Chapman, center, who took over when her Mom passed away in 1996, and Michelle Robinson, who works the grill.
Photo 5: Addie Crutchleo works the grill ...
In fickle world gone mad, reliable diner has been there for us since WWII
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of 5 articles naming the winners of the 2022 Authenti-CITY awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony Monday to mark National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article.)
COVINGTON, Ky. – Back in 2020, New Yorker food critic Helen Rosner mentioned the Anchor Grill’s G.L.T. (goetta, lettuce, and tomato) in her “The Best Things I’ve Eaten This Decade” article.
Sorry you were late to the party, Helen.
Here in The Cov, our ancestors’ ancestors have been scarfing down the goodness that has been coming hot from the Anchor’s grill since 1946, just after World War II, when Virginia and Morton “Captain” Chapman opened their establishment at 438 W. Pike St.
When Virginia passed away in 1996, her daughter Carolyn took over (insert “hands lifted in praise” emoji here), and the kind of food we’ve come to know and love and NEED has, thankfully, continued.
So, of course Anchor Grill is an Authenti-CITY award recipient. It’s actually kinda like the model recipient because when it comes to “keepin’ it real,” this place -- its food, its people, its ambience – is about as reliably authentic as it gets. Evidence those wood-paneled walls, that Big Anchor sandwich, the band box (oh, how we love when they play the band box for us), and the staff that welcomes us at all hours.
Rosner wrote in her article that she had the G.L.T. “in a hungover stupor.”
Helen, that is generally how new disciples discover the Anchor Grill: it’s 3 a.m., you want real food i.e. nothing leafy, no gluten-free symbols on the menu, food that has the power to satisfy your hunger and absorb your alcohol. Food like biscuits, gravy, waffles, hash browns, French toast, home fries, goetta and cheese rolled up in a nice big omelet (all served day and night) … or dinner fare like a “giant” pork tenderloin sandwich, country fried chicken, fried oysters, liver & onions with brown gravy, or a big grilled strip steak.
And the price for these tasty servings? Unbeatable.
In a fickle world gone mad, the Anchor Grill is reliably there for us.
That sign that hangs outside the diner – the one that says “We May Doze, But Never Close” –was the spot-on truth until the pandemic put them in a staffing bind like every other place.
That said, their hours of serving good eats remains mighty generous for the legions of loyal patrons who’ve always found a place at the counter and had their appetite satisfied.
As you can see, the Anchor Grill is more family than institution here in The Cov. You know how you want Mom to keep your room exactly as you left it, even though you moved out 20 years ago and have since put two children of your own through school?
Anchor Grill is that “Mom” to The Cov … and we’ll keep coming back “home” because they keep it just the way we love it.
About the awards: The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.
There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).
# # #