Dine With Greta And Cary -- And Still Get Change From $5 Try Tr's For The Hefty Sandwiches And Comfort Food


November 04, 1990|By Joan Whitson Wallace

The wind whipped against my skirt as I hurried to the restaurant. This week had been grueling.

I craved the peacefulness of a solitary lunch. I could relate to Greta Garbo's famous line, "I want to be alone." Perhaps that's why I ordered the Greta Garbo sandwich ($3.75) from the menu.

Or perhaps I ordered it because it sounded so enticing: chicken salad, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. I specified pumpernickel bread.

The day was so brisk I had to have something warm, like soup. I debated whether to have creamy potato soup with bacon, turkey vegetable or chili. I decided on a small bowl of chili ($1.35).

Alone, I waited for my lunch to be prepared. James Dean slouched in the corner. A few feet away from James, Marilyn Monroe vamped in an alluring red gown. In the corner by the window John Wayne stood guard.

It was a quiet, solitary lunch with Greta and James and Marilyn and John and a cast of thousands -- not to mention Cary Grant casting an astonished glance from a movie poster mounted over my table.

No, I did not fantasize my lunch. I ate at TR's Corner Cafe on Dorsey Road, across from the airport. This fanciful restaurant is decorated in "Early Movie."

Hundreds of movie posters and pictures of movie stars line the walls. A television mounted above the life-size cutout of John Wayne shows an Elvis movie classic, "Blue Hawaii."

TR's is open six days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Because it is located next to the Anne Arundel Community College branch, much of the business is the lunch crowd.

TR's aims to please. My small bowl of chili was served in a large plastic foam cup. The chili was delicately spicy. While the heat from the spice didn't deaden my taste buds, at the same time the chili wasn't bland.

The bowl of chili was generous enough to satisfy my lunch-time appetite.

But there was Greta Garbo, begging for my attention.

Greta turned out to be a triple-decker with large chunks of chicken salad and crunchy celery. The crisp bacon provided a wonderful flavor contrast with the Swiss cheese and the chicken salad. Greta was not alone.

She was escorted by a crisp stick of kosher dill pickle and a heap of potato chips. I couldn't resist this trio. I managed to down a quarter of the sandwich; the rest I took home for later enjoyment.

Greta Garbo is just one of many specialty sandwiches served at TR's that are named after famous movie stars. As I read the menu I noted that Clint Eastwood was the only sandwich star still numbered among the living. Clint is a roast beef, turkey, ham, Swiss, mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles ($3.95). Sounds like a manly sandwich to me.

All the sandwiches can be ordered on a sub roll or white, rye, pumpernickel or wheat bread. The sandwiches can be served hot or cold and come with chips and pickle.

TR's Corner Cafe opened Aug. 3. It is owned and operated by Todd Robinson and his wife, Sharon Agee. Todd does all the cooking. He has over 22 years of experience in the food business: "Everything from fast food to being a French service waiter in the D.C. embassies and the White House," he says.

The restaurant caters to the busy, come-and-go clientele on the way to work or catching a quick lunch between classes. All the food is served on disposable tableware.

You place your order at the counter and wait for your number to be called. The refrigerated display case is filled with side salads, chef salads, homemade desserts and fresh fruit.

TR's is open at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. Saturday to serve hot breakfasts. Toast or biscuits with sausage are $1.19. Pancakes, eggs, hash browns and omelets are also available. Breakfasts are reasonably priced, with the cheese and ham omelet topping the price list at $2.95.

A variety of salads are available for lunch along with traditional sandwiches, such as hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese. And what's a hamburger without french fries or french fries without gravy?

The best news is that TR's is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday to catch the dinner crowd. The regular menu is a little top-heavy with sandwiches, so Todd has instituted two daily Blue Plate Specials.

Blue Plate Specials are also on the lunch menu. The one evening I stopped in, liver and onions were the special, not exactly my No. 1 favorite meal. I decided to have a large chef's salad ($3.25).

More to my liking are specials such as country-style steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti, meat loaf with mashed potatoes, and lasagna.

TR's menu is still in the formative stage. In an attempt to expand the dinner traffic, Todd is contemplating a dinner menu with about six Blue Plate Special entrees. Sounds good to me.

TR's is a good place for lunch or dinner when you are hungry for a fresh and tasty sandwich or one of the "comfort" meals from the 1950s. It's a place to go for nostalgia and a hamburger and fries with gravy -- and dessert.

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