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Sisters: A work in progress

By Rosemary Boggs

This article was published April 10, 2014 at 3:10 a.m.

two-biscuits-topped-with-creamy-gravy-come-with-the-country-breakfast-at-two-sisters-catering-in-sherwood

Two biscuits topped with creamy gravy come with the Country Breakfast at Two Sisters Catering in Sherwood.

I experienced a bit of sadness late last year when I found out that Just Like Mom’s, a Sherwood home-cooking restaurant, had closed. But it was made a little less poignant by the opening of Two Sisters Catering in a lovely free-standing building on Kiehl Avenue. They opened right about the time the other restaurant closed, but it took me a while to get there.

Two Sisters Catering is a full-service company that was started in 2001. The restaurant was opened to give them access to central Arkansas, and to make it easier for folks who may not need a caterer to go and see what they are all about.

The building is white and black, and the interior carries out the same color scheme with a few accent colors thrown in. The front door opens onto a wide aisle down the middle of a smallish dining area that’s filled with black tables and sturdy chairs. And as a nice touch, there were actually fresh tulips in small vases on the tables.

At first glance, diners might think they need to seat themselves and be waited on, but actually orders are placed at the counter in the back of the room. The food is brought to the table when it’s ready. There isa dessert case and ice cream counter in the back of the room as well, so be warned, you will probably be tempted to order something sweet.

My first visit was on a weeknight with my son along for the ride. I didn’t feel like cooking, so it seemed like the perfect time to give the restaurant a try. And since it’s a catering place, I figured they’d do carryout well. I was right for the most part.

Two Sisters’ restaurant menu is not extensive, but there should be something for just about all tastes. For lunch and dinner there are sandwiches ($6.95 to $7.95) that include smoked turkey, chicken salad, a half-pound cheeseburger and blackened chicken sandwich, all with chips and a pickle spear. There are also salads and a soup of the day.

Two Sisters offers daily specials, and on Friday it is fried catfish. For about $10 one gets fish, slaw, hushpuppies and fries. Not a bad deal, I thought. My son ordered that, and I went with a Two Sisters Grinder for $6.95, which also comes with homemade chips and a pickle spear. The grinder is made with smoked ham, pickles, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions and black olives on a ciabatta bun. It also comes with jalapenos, but I kindly asked them to hold those. I added a side of macaroni and cheese for about $2.

After a five-minute drive home we settled in, and I set about checking how well the food traveled. The catfish fared well, but the sandwich was packaged in a way that left the bottom of the ciabatta bun a bit soggy. The chips were on the right side of the black foam box, the vegetable toppings were placed to the left of those, and the sandwich sat halfway on the toppings. I sloppily assembled the sandwich, and it was delicious after all. The homemade chips, which were a bit bland, were somehow neither crisp nor soggy. Croggy?

The catfish was hot, crisp and delicious, and my son ate it all. About halfway through the meal I asked how the slaw was, and it was then he realized the slaw had been left out of our order. Instead, we shared the macaroni and cheese, which was gooey and flavorful.

A second visit found my mother and me at Two Sisters for breakfast on a cool and overcast Saturday. It’s served until about 10:30 a.m. and the regular menu kicks in at 11. There are not a lot of breakfast choices, but we made do.

The restaurant offers a Country Breakfast ($6.95) and Sister’s Pancake Breakfast ($7.95). I went with the Country version, which comes with two eggs, two slices of bacon, two biscuits with gravy, and a choice of cheese grits or hash browns. Mom went with the pancakes, which also come with eggs, bacon, and grits or hash browns.

After ordering, we sat at a small table for two, sipped our water and looked around the room, which really is inviting and comfortable.

Our eggs and two strips of bacon came out first. I glanced at my eggs and did a double take. We had ordered our eggs over-easy, but what we got were two rubbery, rather hard cooked eggs. The server offered to have new ones cooked but I decided to go with what I had, not wanting to waste the two. But we agreed that they tasted better than we had expected.

The biscuits and gravy and Mom’s pancakes came out a few minutes after the eggs. They looked delicious. We shared the two biscuits and gravy, and she took the pancakes home for later. The biscuits were extremely flaky and moist, and the creamy pepper gravy was a pretty standard white version. I couldn’t tell whether it was homemade, which is a good thing. I tasted the pancakes before Mom boxed them up. They were somewhat fluffy and had a nice flavor.

I realized I’d seen neither hide nor hair of my grits, so our server, who said she’d worked there for less than a week, headed back to the kitchen to check on them. They came out a bit later, right about the time we were finishing our eggs. I ate a bite, then decided to take them home and eat them for breakfast the next morning. They had a good texture with no lumps, but for cheese grits, they were a bit bland. A little salt and pepper helped.

We also noticed that mom had not gotten her hash browns. Our helpful server headed to the kitchen again and came back to tell us they were coming. But we were done by then, so Mom asked that they be put in a to-go box. When the little black container came out she opened the lid and we saw what looked to be about a half cup of little squares of potato that had been fried lightly brown. I tasted a couple while they were warm and found they were not as crispy as they looked and a bit bland.

Other morning menu offerings include stuffed biscuits with egg, cheese and choice of meat ($2.95), Belgian waffles ($5.95), French toast sticks ($1.50), oatmeal ($2.95) and apple dumplings (two for $2.50).

Missing food and uncoordinated cooking times can discourage customers. I will continue to go every so often, though. I know that they’ve not been in business that long and there are many situations that can throw service off.

One of the best experiences I had was with a take-home entree found in the small cooler on the right side of the dining room. Big enough to serve two or three people, most cost about $7.95. Through countless years of church potlucks I have become an adoring fan of poppy seed chicken casserole, so I got excited when I saw they offered that. Other selections are made with pasta, and I think I saw a grits casserole too.

When I started to cook the entree the next day I noticed there were no heating instructions on the container. I took off the lid and was able to see aluminum lining the black outer bowl, so I put it in the toaster oven for about 25 minutes.

What came out of the oven was one of the best poppy seed casseroles I’ve ever eaten. The chicken mixture was creamy and seasoned well with texture from the crumbled cracker topping. I paired it with a salad for a really good meal.

In the cooler with the casseroles are containers of cheese dip selling for $6.95. It tastes a lot like Mexico Chiquito’s signature dip, just a bit thinner after you heat it. But chips do not come with it.

Dessert lovers should rejoice at the selection of cakes, pies, muffins and cookies, although they aren’t always clearly marked with flavor or price.

Two Sisters Catering

Address: 3130 Kiehl Ave., Sherwood Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday Cuisine: Sandwiches, breakfast, salads Credit cards: AE, MC, V, D Alcoholic beverages: No Wheelchair accessible: Yes Carryout: Yes Phone: (501) 819-0189, Two-SistersCatering.net

Weekend, Pages 31 on 04/10/2014

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