Every Friday through the end of 2018, the Rant will feature a dish that stands out among Lee County’s restaurant scene. We’ll usually focus on lunch, but there aren’t any rules – we just want to let you know (if you don’t already) about the many dining options we have that are owned and operated by people right here in Lee County. Today’s special at the Tramway Diner is the fried shrimp and flounder plate. Go get it.
Occupying a spot that once served as a Dickey’s BBQ Pit, and before that a Mac’s Breakfast Anytime, the Tramway Diner has spent the last several years quietly building a reputation as a pretense-free spot to get any number of home cooked favorites ranging from American breakfast classics like bacon or sausage and eggs to burgers and hot dogs and lunch/dinner platters like turkey and dressing or pork chops. They also have daily specials, so if you miss out on today’s, you’ll have to wait a week.
THE DISH: Friday’s special – a plate of fried shrimp and flounder, served with two sides and bread ($9.95) – is pretty simple. It’s not a fancy meal made from seafood of the fresh variety, but it doesn’t need to be to taste great. It’s fried seafood – what more needs to be said? You get a choice of popcorn or jumbo shrimp; we always choose the popcorn variety because there’s just enough briny shrimp flavor in each mouthful to cut through the bread batter without one taste overwhelming the other, and it pairs great with the mild, delicate sweetness of the flounder. You get cups of tartar sauce (best with the flounder) and cocktail sauce (best with the shrimp), but both of the dish’s stars more than hold up on their own as well. Collards and fried okra make this a truly southern meal, although your choice of sides also includes things like potato salad, green beans, mac and cheese, peaches, stewed apples, and any number of other dishes you might find at grandma’s Sunday table. It’s a lot of food, so come hungry.
WHAT ELSE TO TRY: The Tramway Diner has a big menu, and you’re not gonna find much on it that isn’t great. Breakfast is a standout, and it’s available all day, whether it’s one of their omelets ($5.95 – $9.95) or their egg platter with country ham ($7.95). For lunch, the Reuben ($7.25) looks pretty good, and they do a mean hot dog ($3.95), which you can also get bacon-wrapped and deep fried (we’re feeling dizzy, $5.25). If you go on a day that’s not Friday and still want to eat something from the water, the fried catfish plate ($8.50) compares pretty nicely to the shrimp and flounder, and is available all week.
The Tramway Diner is located at 2278 Jefferson Davis Highway and can be reached at (919) 775-5770. They are open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit their Facebook page here.