Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 29, 2013

PRESTON: A challenging challenge, the Catlettsburger and good times in Grahn

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I’m looking forward to being at The Lamp Post Cafe at 4 p.m. this Friday to witness a quartet of Greenup County residents taking “the challenge” at the restaurant on the corner of 15th Street and Greenup Avenue in downtown Ashland.

Once upon a time, I’m certain my love of good burgers and overabundant appetite would have allowed me to attempt this, but these days there’s just no way. The challenge at The Lamp Post asks each participant to consume their Full Moon Burger, normally a one-pound patty but grilled up as a two-pounder, with all the fixings (lettuce, onion, pickle and so on), as well as two pounds of French fries, a 20-ounce drink and a large strawberry croissant — all before the 30-minute time limit has expired.

To my knowledge, none who have taken the challenge have been able to claim victory (and a free meal). That strawberry croissant alone is such a massive dessert, I can’t imagine anyone can do this easily. It should be entertaining at the very least. The challenge remains open to all contenders if you or anyone you know feels they can be the first to claim the title.

For more information, stop by the cafe or call (606) 325-5283.

Catlettsburger

I recently received a glowing recommendation from a local diner who had just enjoyed a meal at the Catlettsburg Cafe, which she described as being located in the old Amvets building downtown. I immediately thought, “I thought that place was called Donna’s,” and hit Mr. Internet for a point in the right direction.

My initial search turned up a confirmation that the restaurant at 2515 Center St. had indeed been known as Donna’s, and I punched in the phone number for the place. Moments later I was talking to owner Donna Sparks, who confirmed the name change, and explained the building owner had agreed to pay for a new sign if she changed the name to something another restaurant might be able to use if they were to go out of business.

Sparks said the burgers tend to be the crowd favorite at Catlettsburg Cafe. I asked what she does to make the burgers special and she didn’t hesitate to say, “I don’t have a clue.” After thinking about it for a moment, Sparks credited the quality of ground beef they use, explaining their food service rep has told them it is some of the best stuff available.

“It comes from New York and it is 100-percent beef,” she noted before adding “And, they’re crazy over French fries here.”

She then mentioned a burger which I simply have to sample for myself, the Catlettsburger.

“It is made with two one-third pound patties with bacon, Swiss cheese and whatever you want on it,” she said.

Sparks said the family operation (“mother, daughter and brother”) also features daily dinner specials such as spaghetti on Tuesday, open-faced roast beef on Wednesday and meat loaf on Thursday. The restaurant has been in business for six years, offers local delivery and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, or to place an order, call (606) 739-0022.

In Grahn

The rural Carter County community of Grahn has been one of my favorite places for a while now, the result of being tremendously impressed with the way people who live there responded to a big flood during the early summer of 2010.

The old elementary school now serves as a community center, and director Starlene Harris reports Eagle's Nest Fabric and Craft Store at Grahn School Community Center will be hosting a holiday Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26.

“In addition to holiday decorations, crafts, and craft supplies, a new shipment of fabric has been received,” Harris wrote.

“Also on the 26th, the Grahn School Community Center Thrift Store will be open and a large number of new and used toys will be available for purchase. The kitchen and dining room will also be open on the 26th with vegetable soup, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages being sold.”

The quiet community, which was once home to a thriving fire-brick (refractory brick, that is), will also be hosting the 2nd annual “Starving Artist Arts and Crafts Sale” on Nov. 9. The sale will be in the gymnasium at Grahn School Community Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Booth spaces are available for $5 per space.

“Reservations for a booth space must be made in advance,” Harris advised. “The deadline to register for a space is Oct. 28.”

For more information or to reserve a space, call (606) 286-0177 or stop by the center at 7380 Aden Road, Grahn between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.