For weeks, Columbia resident Diane Taylor yearned for the taste of fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, seasoned collard greens and peach cobbler.
But she couldn't find the ideal place offering the food that would nourish her soul. Then came a recommendation from a friend.
A small soul food restaurant on U.S. 1 in Jessup near Route 175, the Log Cabin, prepares the cuisine just the way Taylor likes it.
"I was in heaven," she said, recalling her first visit. "For so long I had to go into Washington or Baltimore to get some soul food, just because I didn't know that this place existed in Howard County."
Inside the quaint-looking building, African art adorns the walls and the music of Whitney Houston and the Temptations comes from the jukebox.
The menu is diverse, elaborate and reasonable. There's Salisbury steak, catfish and pigs' feet for starters. Fried chicken, chitterlings, maws, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, sweet potatoes, corn bread and sweetened iced tea.
The aroma of the food being prepared in the kitchen finds its way outdoors, whetting the appetites of passers-by. The average price for a meal is $8, cheap considering the sizable portions.
It is unclear how long the restaurant, which originally was a log cabin, has stood at its current location. Many calls to the owners were not returned.
The restaurant has a diverse clientele, including truckers and people who work along the U.S. 1 corridor. The food is filling and tasty, but the wait, particularly during the lunch hour, can leave diners impatient.
On many days, a little more than a dozen people assemble in the restaurant at lunchtime, finding themselves watching the clock and wondering when they might be fed. The restaurant has one waitress, and there were no visible "help wanted" signs. Business during the mornings generally isn't as brisk.
"This place reminds me of the meals that my grandma use to make when I was growing up in the South," Taylor said. "You leave feeling really good and well-fed."
The Log Cabin
Where: 8126 Washington Blvd., Jessup; 410-799-0465
Hours: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Credit cards: Not accepted. Cash only.