Coal Miner’s Diner: A Country Music Breakfast at Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen

Whenever I stop by a restaurant with a popular musician’s name slapped above the title, there are a few famous touches that I’ve come to expect, like neon-embellished guitars and pun-strewn dishes, all meant to honor and reflect the artist and their collected works. See Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, if you need a local example.

It was refreshingly not so, however, with Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen, 15366 Highway 13 S., in the rural burg of Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. A somewhat shabby building—what you’d expect from a “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” I suppose—with each particle-board wall completely filled with pictures and posters from the country music queen’s life, seemingly decorated by obsessed fans.

Meanwhile, outside, locals climbed a rusty tractor.

Walking past the gift shop and the hometown buffet, I was told to sit wherever I wanted by a teenage waitress that was saying goodbye to her age-appropriate lover. Bringing me a cup of coffee—complete with Loretta’s picture emblazoned on the mug—and a basic menu, it being morning and my stomach begging for one last bit of Southern comfort before crossing state lines, I ordered Loretta’s Smoke House Special ($13.99).

My waitress, obviously born and raised in these here parts, giggled with a twang as she refilled my cup, admitting to me how she brings the whole pot to the table because she’s “scared” she’d spill a cup of hot coffee right in my lap. I laughed in respectful fear, and took a big gulp of my quite-good coffee just as this large country breakfast was sat down on the table.

Being a longtime fan of not only Ms. Lynn’s fist-raising and pill-taking tunes but her personal story of overcoming strife as well, I have to admit that it would’ve been quite the three-chord heartbreak if these rustic eats from her kitchen wasn’t all that good; when I looked at this plate, however, I knew I was looking at country.

The dutiful egg, traditional biscuit and dark home-fries were a tasty trio that I gladly square danced with, but the country gravy, while fine by any other standard, was supposed to be done up red-eye style here, with the ham run-off dangerously mixed with coffee grounds; the waitress mournfully told me they had just ran out.

The centerpiece was a thick slice of country ham that, while absolutely filling, left me with the feeling that I ain’t man enough to take on that ham. Boxing up my leftovers, the waitress offered me a piece of pie for my gravy-based troubles; I ordered a thin-cut slice of heaven, a chocolate delight that was made only a few hours prior.

As my fork gently cut into that morningside dessert, I glanced over at a black and white portrait of duet-partners Loretta and Conway Twitty—the country crooner that made Oklahoma City his home in the 60s—and wondered when we’re going to get a tribute eatery to his much-maligned local delicacy, the Twitty Burger, around these here parts.

I’d rather eat there than at Toby Keith’s…wouldn’t you?


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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20 Responses

  1. And this little girl would walk a country mile
    To find her a good old slow talkin’ country *breakfast*
    I said a country *breakfast*

    I just love Loretta. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Loretta is the best

    2. Look at class system in America in the summer time we had no shoes to wear daddy shoveled coal make a poor man’s dollar doris Duke had 2 mansions rough point and one in hawaii. Love Loretta elton john has 4 houses around world in field howin corn there no class system in america. Doris duke billionaire Loretta had no shoes as little kid

  2. Been there! Got the mug! And to answer your final question; yes, I’d rather eat there! Thanks for the story!

  3. Toby Keith’s is awful. Can’t stand the food.
    Last time I was forced to eat there, I had to laugh at all the boxes marked “made in china” in the “I’m an American” eatery.

  4. The chocolate pie looks just like the pie ol’ Doolittle Lynn bought at auction for a date with Loretty, in which she accidentally used salt instead of sugar.
    Love her music and the movie!

    Now let’s discuss Conway’s OKC life and this Twitty burger. OKC has had some great residents from the entertainment industry through the years, and I need to know more. Please?

  5. I thought Conway lived in Norman when he was here.
    Right beside Westwood Golf Course.

    1. He did.

      1. Right next to the 8th tee.

        1. that’s what I thought. but then I read the article that said OKC.

          I accidently broke one of his clay planters with an errant shot. I suck at golf –
          drove around to the neighborhood to the front of the house but nobody was home. I wanted to pay for the planter but really wanted to apologize in person and meet Conway!

  6. “Meanwhile, outside, locals climbed a rusty tractor.”

    What a great all-by-itself line.

  7. Having spent this last weekend in the hospital due to blood pressure/heart issues, seeing that breakfast picture makes me sad. Kind of like seeing a picture of a long gone pet or relative.

  8. Me and my wife are from Michigan and love Loretta Lynn and we seen many of her concerts. We want to take a few days and come down and book a room down close to Loretta lyn ranch to tour it and then also book to tour butcher holler . Also any of her Resturant’s . Can you help us on this info please and thank you

  9. I got curious and had to look up Twitty burger. Now I want one! Does anyplace in the metro serve them?

  10. Just so you know, Hurricane Mills is an awesome place to visit. Just know that the restaurant is not Lorettas. Mooney made a deal with a drinking buddy to use Lorettas name on the restaurant.
    The Cabin restaurant next door is far better.
    Loretta Fan Forever.

  11. Can’t wait for August when I can go there a dream come true Amen

  12. My ex husband was in Coal Miners daughter. needless to say each time it’s on his children had to watch it while they were growing up…I think I know the words.

  13. Conway lived in Norman but he also lived in S OKC. I think his old house was the first house for Pastor Dan Schaffer before they built him that mansion at 104th and Penn. Anywho…My dad was a cop and a big Conway fan and he told me how the alarm went off once and he had to clear the house but I’m not sure if Conway still owned it at that time.

  14. I really like Loretta, by the last time I ate at one of her restaurants will be the last time. I was not impressed.

  15. I too have eaten there in Hurricane Mills. When in Rome…

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