Do you long for those simpler days when a father-son stroll down to the fishin’ hole, to the soundtrack of an earworm whistling tune, was the highlight of the week?
If that sentence resonates with you, and you haven’t yet been to the Mayberry Café in Danville, Indiana, well, you need to nip that right in the bud and plan a visit. And if you don’t get Andy and Barney flashbacks reading that, well, nevertheless, head to this small-town eatery to enjoy down-home cooking with a heaping side of nostalgia.
The first thing you may see after grabbing a parking spot near the old brick building across from Danville’s town square is an authentic 1960s-era Mayberry Police Department car. It’s parked on the side of the building, just where you might imagine Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy, Barney Fife, left it. After pausing to remember the days when life was kinder and homespun advice solved the wackiest predicaments, head on in under the black awning decorated with a Sheriff’s badge and enter an alternate universe Mayberry.
Husband and wife Brad and Christine Born fashioned the Mayberry Café (formerly the Main Street Café, Bakery and Deli) after Brad’s favorite TV show, The Andy Griffith Show, which ruled the airwaves from 1960-68. Though the iconic comedy took place in a fictional burg in North Carolina, Danville’s friendly, neighborly vibe made it the perfect location for the Borns to pay homage to the country classics Aunt Bee herself may have served her family.
Those classics include fried chicken, fried catfish and country fried steak, along with fried biscuits and apple butter. Aunt Bee’s tasty fried pickles served with ranch or spicy ranch dressing are guaranteed to be made “without kerosene.” (Andy Griffith fans will know what that means!)
Opie’s Prize Catch Blue Gill is a favorite of many diners as is the breaded tenderloin (featured on the Indiana Tenderloin Lovers’ Trail) and the various burgers, named for some of Mayberry’s most illustrious characters like Barney, Otis and Ernest T. Save room for the cobbler served with vanilla ice cream and Aunt Bee’s Chocolate Mug Cake made with her secret ingredient, Dr. Pepper.
The food isn’t the only draw at the café, whose visitors have included Gomer Pyle himself, Jim Nabors; Dixie Griffith, Andy’s daughter; and Karen Knotts, whose father Don Knotts played Barney. Episodes from The Andy Griffith Show play on a constant loop on the various flat screen TV sets placed around the restaurant and cast photos and memorabilia line the walls. With the homey décor and retro vibe, you’d swear Aunt Bee herself was back in the kitchen making sure you were well-fed and taken care of. And when you’re at the Mayberry Café, that’s exactly what you are: well-fed and taken care of.
If you go …
The Mayberry Café
78 W. Main St., Danville
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