September 19, 2001
In the small rural town of Montezuma, Georgia, you will find what most locals would call one of the true remaining institutions, Troy’s Snack Shack, located right smack in the middle of Montezuma’s historic downtown business district. Few visitors consider their trip complete without first finding their way to its counters. Even fewer locals make it through the week without their “ Troy’s Fix ”.
The sleepy downtown district awakens to the tantalizing aromas generated by its kitchens at 4:30 am, promptly, six days a week. The smell of crisping bacon and homemade cathead biscuits floats over the town like a thin fog, lingering only long enough to entice before drifting in an effort to infect the whole town. Upon entering the establishment, a mingling of these aromas, along with those of country ham and sausage smoldering on the breakfast grill, engulf you and take you back to a better time, one of cherished memories, like your grandma’s kitchen, same aromas, same warm feeling.
A mostly easy-going breakfast crowd makes for a relatively quiet morning. The only sounds are those of the kitchen and the occasional order called using only the regular customer’s name, something like, ” Fred’s breakfast ” or “ Mr. Walter’s breakfast ”. Laughter can sometimes be heard emanating from the coveted back table, a seat at which ranks you in the upper echelon of regular customers, or just kin to a member of the staff.
The hectic pace of the lunch crowd quickly erases the leisurely pace of the breakfast crowd. Hamburger patties by the dozens sizzle on the lunch grill. The designated fry cook for the day races frantically from kitchen to counter, refusing defiantly to let any customer wait. Orders are barked to the lunch grill cook; “ Two double chili cheese without ”, “ Sixteen double cheese all the way ”, “ Four without ”, and on and on and on, a constant barrage of orders, the remembering of which the most talented of cooks would be hard pressed to emulate. The feverish pace prevents necessary sanitation, though the bulging garbage cans and soiled booths do little to deter the true Troy’s customer. Brown paper bags already soaked through with grease and cardboard boxes brimming with lunch orders are continuously paraded out the front and rear. The ordering line can sometimes extend beyond both doors, creating a gauntlet upon entering and leaving, although the trip out seems not nearly as daunting a task. Most patrons part ways for those leaving, but guard fiercely their place in line. However, though less daunted, those leaving must be wary, for, if not, the may lose a few of their precious fries to the quick of hand.
One of my best friends, Tony Collier, operates this establishment, and I am constantly amazed by his grit and determination to keep alive this hometown institution. Many businesses have already deserted our downtown district in search of newer, more efficient buildings, yet Troy’s is still there, plodding along as its main draw.