Down home fare at affordable prices

Junction 808 serves piquant steak, hot, crispy corn fritters

Junction 808 serves piquant steak, hot, crispy corn fritters

February 24, 2003|by E.T. MOORE

The atmosphere at Junction 808 is family-friendly and informal. Cheerful red booths and tables with red padded chairs fill the spacious main dining area. Tempting desserts are displayed in a glass case in one corner of the paneled room. My adult daughter and I chose a round table in the smaller, more secluded dining area at the front of the restaurant. This unremarkably decorated white room, which seats 30, is separated from the small lobby by wooden spindles.

The rickety chair my daughter sat on, the missing ceiling tile above my head, and the warm containers of half-and-half on our table made us a bit nervous, but we decided to give this new-to-us restaurant a chance. Silverware was wrapped neatly in a paper napkin at each place. There was a pepper shaker but no salt shaker on our table.

As soon as we were seated, menus arrived at our table offering a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.


Entrees range from $5 to $10. Except for one baked item, all the seafood is fried and costs from $7 to $10.

Four Italian specialties are listed. Fourteen side dishes are offered at $2 to $4.

No appetizers were listed, but we enjoyed a plate of onion rings during the few minutes it took our food to arrive.

My rather spicy seafood chowder was served hot, but it spooned up mushy, as though it had been kept hot too long. Seafood was not easily discernible from potatoes and vegetables.

Junction 808 offers only one steak, but they do it right. I ordered the marinated Black Diamond Steak medium rare, and that's exactly how it arrived. Fork-tender and piquant, it was the highlight of the meal. I couldn't resist adding three butterflied shrimp to my entree for $2.29, and I was glad I had - they were large, lightly breaded and not too salty.

Just as delicious as the Black Diamond steak were the hot, crispy corn fritters sprinkled with powdered sugar. Their creamy insides were studded with whole kernel corn, and they were so delectable that we ordered a second side dish of them.

My daughters' "21 fried shrimp" actually numbered far more than 21, but were disappointingly small. Heavy breading overpowered the mild shrimp flavor. But the fresh, creamy homemade macaroni salad reminded her of her grandmother's - a high compliment indeed. The homemade coleslaw I selected was finely grated, creamy and refreshing.

All this was served correctly by a waitress who was polite and helpful, though hurried. The selection of homemade desserts included apple dumplings, cheesecake and several cream pies. The luscious peanut butter cream pie had a topping of peanut butter crumbs. The waitress offered to warm my apple dumpling, a whole apple wrapped in thin dough and sweetened just right - definitely a treat.

The two of us ate for about $30, which we considered quite reasonable. Junction 808 offers a wide take-out menu and several selections for senior citizens. The children's menu has nine dinners and five sandwiches.

Junction 808 review

  • Food: 3 forks (out of 4)

  • Service: 2 forks (out of 4)

  • Atmosphere: 2 forks (out of 4)

  • Value: 3 forks (out of 4)

Hours: Junction 808 is open from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday (breakfast all day.)

Prices: Entrees are $5 to $10.

Phone: 301-791-3639.

Location: 808 Noland Drive, Hagerstown

Restaurant reviews are contributed bi-weekly by Herald-Mail staff writers, editors and freelancers alternating under the pseudonym E.T. Moore. For questions or tips, call Lifestyle Editor Jake Womer at 301-733-5131, ext. 2340, or e-mail

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