By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
HOLLY POND —
Where do you go if you want to catch up on all the community news, eat a great breakfast and drink the best cup of coffee in Holly Pond? You go to the Holly Pond Café, of course.
Built in the 1960s, the café has been a hub of the community for as long as most folks remember.
Owners Jim and Marty Hersh bought the café from Ricky Gibbs two-and-a-half years ago. “We always wanted a restaurant, so when the opportunity to buy this one came about, we took it,” said Marty. “It’s been a blessing.”
Marty says the best part of owning the business is that she enjoys providing the community with a service. “We offer great food at good prices and we have a wonderful staff.”
"We are not a fast-food restaurant," she stressed, even including that on the menu.
Manager and chief cook, Carol Richards, has been at the Holly Pond Café for almost two years. She loves to feed people, making food attractive. Getting it out of the kitchen and on the table in a timely manner is her top priority.
The Holly Pond Café employs four cooks, as well as Carol, and four wait staff. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday, closed on Saturday.
The most popular items on the menu are the burgers. “Most people come here for the burgers,” said long-time regular, Allen Sparks of Holly Pond.
Sparks usually comes in and out several times a day, but can be found almost any morning sitting with the other regulars, “We sit around and drink coffee and lie to each other,” he laughed.
According to Sparks, the café started out as a dairy bar, but changed over to plate lunches and dinner. “It’s the hot spot in this community,” he said.
On any given morning you will usually find at least a few dozen customers there for breakfast. The omelets, they say, are awesome.
Sparks also arrives on Thursday nights when Holly Pond Café offers live entertainment. It’s a casual event where community bluegrass pickers gather for some great music and good times. It’s come as you are, and bring your guitar, starting at 5 p.m. and running until somewhere around 10 p.m.
“Everyone is welcome, and anyone can come and play,” said Richards.
Richards and her staff have a motto about their food, “Everything is good,” they will proudly tell you if asked.
When the Hershes took over, the café served mostly burgers and sandwiches, but they revamped the menu to include plate lunches. “We now serve a ‘meat and three’ type meal,” Marty explained. “We’ve added a myriad of fresh vegetables, salads and desserts.”
“Probably, one of our most popular items is the country fried steak,” added Carol. “It’s marinated, which gives it a lot of flavor and tenderness.”
The Holly Pond Café serves only fresh, quality cuts of meat. “This gives our food a much better flavor,” Richards explained.
Other popular items include the mouthwatering Philly Steak Sandwich. The Holly Pond Café also serves up something you hardly see anymore, cut fresh from the potato french fries, as well as hand-battered onion rings, fresh pork chops, homemade-from-scratch chili, and fried chicken livers.
Holly Pond High School is only a stone’s throw from the restaurant and is probably responsible for some of the biggest crowds at the café. “We get lots of business following basketball and football games,” said Richards.
So, if you’re hungry for some good home cooking, and don’t have the time to do it yourself, visit Holly Pond Café.