Lloyd's is a local Birmingham place out 280. Now, it's not that much of a haul, although fighting 280 can be less than pleasant. However, when Lloyd's opened, it was out in the boonies! Because this place has been in the exact same location since 1937! Pretty stinking cool. I had never been but had seen it and had heard good things, so when my friend Ben invited me to join him for lunch there, I figured this was as good a time as any to give it a shot!
The menu is pretty basic, and like many old places you need to know the "insider secrets" to get the most out of your visit. For example, during lunch time you can get half portions of most anything on their menu. It's not printed anywhere on the menu and wasn't mentioned as a daily special or printed on a board. You just have to know! This is sort of a meat and three type of place, but on the menu it states that all entrees are served with salad and your choice of french fries, baked potato, or onion rings. There is a big long list of vegetables on the menu, and we were informed (after asking) that you can substitute any two sides with your entree. Maybe this is just me, but it seem it would be easier to print that on the menu!
I ordered the grilled chicken with a baked potato. Jeff got a half order of hamburger steak with french fries. Ben got the ham steak with mashed potatoes and squash. Jeff and I also got salad with ours (which I would have substituted something else for the salad if I had thought about it.) This was served "family style" with dressing on the side, so Jeff helped himself. My grilled chicken was pretty simple. It was obviously marinaded in something that was a little too salty for my taste (I'm guessing a little too much soy sauce). Not bad, but probably not something I would order again. The baked potato was ok (I mean, it's pretty hard to screw up a baked potato!) but it had not even been cut open and was only served with a little paper cup of sour cream. The butter was on the table with the bread, thankfully. Jeff devoured his hamburger steak, which is one of his favorites. The french fries looked to have been cooked a little too long but there were no huge complaints. Ben enjoyed his ham, but the only complaint was that it came with honey that was in two packets slung on top of the ham. The problem with putting packets on top of greasy meat was that they were almost impossible to open, and we had to resort to the scissors on my pocket knife! I'm not terribly impressed with sit-down restaurants who serve their condiments in packets to begin with! His vegetables were reported to be very tasty, which again makes me wonder why they aren't featured more!
The service was very efficient and friendly. The atmosphere was what I generally expected for an older meat and vegetable place. It was a surprisingly large space, and Jeff reported that at lunch time it usually fills almost to capacity. We were a bit after the lunch rush so it was far from full, but it stayed pretty consistently busy for at least a couple of hours.
I did pay attention to what the people around me were eating, and the fried chicken seemed to be a very popular choice, and I am curious to try it next time. The onion rings looked rather tasty as well. I have never heard anyone sing the praises of the barbeque but it also might be worth a shot. This is far from "fine dining" or complex flavors and I would venture that, like most other southern cooking places, even the vegetables are not terribly vegetarian-friendly. However, if you want some simple soul food that isn't terribly expensive, give Lloyd's a try! And if you try it, let me know what you think!