Wagner’s Family Restaurant in Oldenburg, Indiana is a casual, comfortable local place where the piping hot fried chicken is served up with dish towels instead of napkins, and the sweet tea is fresh and cold.
Waitress and daytime bartender Betsy McCray grew up in Oldenburg. She knows most of the diners by name, and rarely has to offer a menu even to the newcomers since most folks come in for the Family Style Chicken Dinner.
The fragrance of the chicken frying in cast iron pans makes diners grow impatient with hunger, but when the generous portions arrive, it’s obviously worth the wait. Brian Larimore and his father Robert drive up from Lawrenceburg to enjoy the delicious food, and enthusiastically recommend the freshly fried chicken dinner.
Ray Jordan has been cooking that crispy, moist, amazing chicken, and all of the other menu choices, for a year. He deftly moves through the kitchen, loading plates with the sizzling delicacy. Betsy fills trays with bowls of tempting side items, soon making her way to eager tables.
Creamy and just a little sweet, the coleslaw marries well with the peppery gravy made onsite from any extra fried chicken. The dinner rolls are the store-bought, in-a-plastic-bag kind – and are perfect with a generous spread of butter, or swished around a gravy-drenched plate.
The green beans come to the table with a dollop of butter and plenty of salt, while the mashed potatoes are a quiet backdrop to the flavorful chicken and bright gravy.
According to Betsy, there are desserts available, as well. Fruit cobblers, a variety of cheesecakes … it all sounds so good, but impossible to manage on this visit.
But Oldenburg is just a scenic drive away any day of the week …