I’ve been up and down Route 12 between Sherburne and Binghamton dozens and dozens of times, sometimes stopping in Norwich to shop at McLaughlin’s Department Store or eat dinner at Nina’s or Gus’ Steakhouse.
Sometimes, though, you have to get off the old main drag, as the Pogues would call it, and see what lies beyond. And that’s what we did last Saturday in Norwich, turning off Route 12 onto Main Street and finding our way to a little gem of a diner called The Caboose.
This bright red boxcar of a building has been around for some 100 years, and gets its name from the nearby railroad tracks. It defines cozy, and the food defines good. The owner/waitress/cook Kris used to work at the Colgate Inn in Hamilton, and that’s where she had told us about her place down the road.
There are six stools and four tables at The Caboose. There are railroad lanterns and other train-related bric-a-brac. The ceiling is arched and covered in wood panelling, and the small windows are the kind that slide across. The grill can’t be missed because it pretty much runs the length of the counter, and that’s where Kris was stationed after taking our order.
The Caboose does local like a locally owned eatery should. The eggs are from a farm in Norwich and the sausage is from Skip’s Market in Sherburne. The scones, muffins, and cookies are homemade. And from the conversation around the counter, you better get there pretty early to make sure you snare some of the scrumptious treats. At least one special is offered each day for lunch, too, which runs until 2 p.m.
I do love my pancakes, and I really loved the pancakes here. They have that hint of sweetness that I’m not sure is from a touch of malt or a bit of sugar. Wife L had eggs in a hole that came with a railroad moniker, and we both had the sausage.
We sat for a while and enjoyed our tea and enjoyed the fact that we had found this place that is only a couple hundred yards from Route 12 but felt like it was light years away.
We did have a second reason for going down to Norwich.
I had been checking the Chenango SPCA website every weekend since last November. Don’t ask me why. We already have two cats, one of them from the SPCA, and a dog. It can be a fairly active household. But once you get that bug you get that bug. And there was this face on the website and there was this 15-pound terrier-poodle mutt at the shelter, and there was the adoption form, and there was the signature, and there was a return trip for Finn the dog to meet this mutt with the mats, and there was the operation to have him neutered four days later, and there he is now, laying in the livingroom looking like he’s been here forever.
Call me crazy. But you gotta call him cute as hell, no?