Friday, May 27, 2016

The Land of Ma'am

Bryce's Cafeteria Texarkana Texas

Ma'am: A shortened version of the word madam, which was formally used when addressing women in the days when etiquette and common curtesy were commonplace.  The term Ma'am often flows off the tongue very smoothly if accompanied with a Southern US accent.

Last week I found myself in the "Land of Ma'am".  Many times when traveling I make an effort to learn the local history, see local points of interest and experience the local ambience.  There was not a lot to see or do in Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas.  However I did find a treasure - Bryce's Cafeteria.  

Their history: Bryce's was founded in 1931 by Bryce Lawrence Sr. and has been serving good quality food to the Texarkana area ever since. It's been family owned and operated since the beginning and now for over 40 years, Bryce's sons Bryce Jr and Richard have been running the local landmark and serving the same great food their father served them when they were little.  It was featured in Southern Living for its wonderful desserts and was also recently featured on The Food Network's, "The Secret Life Of".

Being born and raised in the south, I know southern food.  My grandmother's fried chicken was the best and on Sunday we always had a home cooked pie or cake.  Summer vegetable were fresh out of my grandfather's  the garden.  

As soon as I walked in the door at Bryce's, I was greeted with the down home southern hospitality that I grew up with in Virginia.  "Welcome Ma'am" and what can I get you?  Talk about walking back in time.  Every server along the line, "Ma'am" what would you like?  I had roast beef, cream corn (lots of cream and butter), candied yams southern style (sweet and cinnamon-y), dinner roll and lemon chess pie (just like my grandmother's).  Of course, sweet tea.  I took my time and so enjoyed the meal.   Who said you cannot go home? 

I was made welcome at every stop.  By the time I had gotten to end of the line I had been Ma'am so many times, I lost count.  Then the final one - "Ma'am please enjoy your dinner" as my tray was taken to the table and silver ware retrieved.  I did not even have to take my items off the tray.  After several check-backs, "Ma'am is there anything else you would like", I knew I had arrive in the land of Ma'am.  Home at last. 

If you ever find yourself close to Texarkana Texas, you need to stop.  Southern cooking at its best and their deserts are second to none. Be sure to dress in you best lady-like southern style (hoop skirt optional).  In any case the "Ma'am"s are a sure confidence booster.   

I did not want  to leave so hung-out in the lobby reading their history and snapped the photo above of a framed drawing.  A fun trip back in history.  

Thank you:




  1. I have not had the pleasure of visiting Texarkana but have hit other parts of east Texas from Beaumont through Lufkin and Nagadoches and then closer to Texarkana from Tyler through to Shreveport La. The people are wonderful and their accent a pleasure on the ears. Their manners would do well to spread to other parts of the country.

  2. PS: Dylan sang of Blind Willie McTell as follows"
    "I've traveled through East Texas
    Where many martyrs fell
    An no one can sing the blues
    Like Blind Willie McTell"

    I am partial to the cover done by The Band on their 1993 album Jericho as sung by Levon Helm and Rick Danko.

  3. The drawing you snapped a picture of was drawn by Virgil White, and friend of a friend of mine, to illustrate a poem I had written about Bryce's. The genesis of the poem was the many times in my youth when we would drive by Bryce's and my dad would comment about the "big line out front." Of course, with a little southern accent, that sounds a lot like a "big lion out front" and my imagination got the best of me. Anyway, I have the original of that drawing hanging in my home office, and I will always have great memories of Bryce's even though it is gone now.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment - I took a photo of the drawing at Bryces. What a blast from the past eating at a true "Southern" Cafeteria.