Friday, November 5, 2010

Folsom Grill: It only looks like a prison.

Look for the sign on Monroe Street.
It's on the opposite side of the building from the Folsom Grill.

Deep in The Gump, in a state office building opened in 1958, on the back side of Goat Hill, state employees and the occasional outsider all cherish The Grill in the Folsom Administrative Building. Why do they cherish it? It's convenient, the staff is pleasant, and you can get something to eat.

It is a place to find sustenance. It has rules ("Crackers are free with salad. $.10 per pack otherwise"). It has specials ("Tuesday Breakfast Special. 1 sausage. 1 biscuit. $1.10). It has two salad bars side by side (No explanation). It has styrofoam boxes and plastic cutlery. It was redone in 1990, after existing for 32 years in its original condition (formica tables, plastic booths). It was flooded in the last few years. It endures. At age 52, it ranks up there with Chris's Hot Dogs and the Farmers' Market Cafe for longevity in The Gump.

Monday through Friday, one can enter The Grill on the first floor of the Folsom Building and get breakfast or lunch. A "breakfast special" will bless one with eggs, sausage or bacon, grits, a biscuit, all in a pristine styrofoam box, with coffee, for less than $4. The box will be heavy in your hand, laden with carbohydrates, some protein, and some grease. Or, one can order a la carte, and get eggs with crispy sausage patties you can eat like a cookie, cheap.

Breakfast from the Folsom Grill.
(Did that sausage just wink at me??)
 For lunch, one can make a salad or visit one of the three serving stations for meats (something fried is always available), overcooked vegetables, and bread of some type. During breaks (which seem to last all day for some), one can find coffee, tea, and conversation in the seating area.

This is just basic Gump home cookin', folks. You will find something you like, or at least something you can tolerate, satisfy a rumbling stomach, and suffer little damage to your wallet. I ate there about 3 times a week for 17.5 years, and I survived.

I drank much coffee, listened to many stories, suffered much cigarette smoke, and watched the people go by, every weekday afternoon from 1972 to 1989. I went back last week to get some breakfast (see above).

The Folsom Grill is a non-profit cooperative, operated by an anonymous group of state employees. It keeps on going.


  1. Is this where Johnny Cash sang his famous song about prison blues?

  2. Well, no, Pots - but he could have!

  3. I ate here far too frequently in the 90s - gained 15 pounds that I've never lost.

  4. Many state employees gained many pounds in the Folsom Grill. Those pounds still abound on the bodies of long-term stateys who clutter the landscape on Goat Hill. Me, too.