I’m reposting this from last year – seems like a great time to remind you of great food in out-of-the-way places. If you can’t get to your grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner, go to Velma’s for lunch instead in the next week or so. You’ll love it!
If you’re like me and you love good food, and if it’s been a long time since you had a home-cooked meal like your Granny Terry used to make, complete with breaded pork chops or fried chicken and collard greens and mashed potatoes and fresh okra and biscuits and gravy and cobbler (wow! I should have eaten something before I started this post), then I’m just going to go ahead and tell you how to satisfy your cravings. Go to lunch at Velma’s Soul Food out on west 7th street in Clovis (1420 West 7th, 575-769-0707). Don’t go for dinner – she won’t be open, and she’d probably call it supper anyway.
She’s likely to be waiting for you to get there (because let me tell you, Velma doesn’t let anyone else serve up her meals), and when you arrive, the smells will grab you and pull you in before you even get on the porch.
There’s almost always breaded pork chops, or some brisket, and maybe fried chicken, or a chicken-fried steak (did I say this was REAL food?), and then several sides – sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, greens, spinach, corn, green beans, and then two or three kinds of bread – rolls and cornbread and biscuits.
Velma waits for you to tell her exactly what you want and she fills your plate, sort of like the lunch ladies used to do at the school cafeteria. Then she’ll ask whether you want sweet tea, and what kind of cobbler could she get you? It’s sorta like having dinner at your Granny’s house, but you don’t have to fight the cousins for the best dessert. Velma lets you choose.
The one thing Velma will let you get for yourself is salad. I figure this is because Velma doesn’t think the salad is very important – you can be trusted with a little lettuce yourself, I’m thinking.
There’s a clipping on the wall that says Velma’s been cooking since she was 9 years old, helping her mother on the farm (she was the seventh of eleven children). She learned three rules of cooking: Never make the same mistake twice. Make it the same way everytime. And if it looks good to the eye, it will taste good.
She came to Clovis in 1951 and worked at the Cannon AFB cafeteria for years, before opening Velma’s Soul Food in 1982. She says it was the realization of a lifelong dream.
I can tell you that in all the years I’ve been going to Velma’s, every plate I had was delicious in every way. She’s affordable, the atmosphere is, while not exciting, very unassuming and comforting (especially if you grew up in Logan at the Fireside, like I did. I think she still has the same red chairs we sat in at the Fireside in the 70’s), and Velma herself is a treat with whom to spend a lunch hour. If it didn’t sound totally hokey, I’d call her a treasure. Maybe I will anyway.
I have SO got to go get me some lunch. Wish I was closer to Velma’s.