As I take my first step inside Cedar Chandelier’s Cafe, and I am literally teleported back into another dimension. An old Time Gospel Band up on the main stage just strumming, plucking and praising his name. Imagine the Movie “O Brother Where Art Though” and that will paint the best picture.
Now if you grasp the name “Cedar Chandelier’s Cafe” then it tells the whole story right there, but trust me, you won’t be ready for what is about to come. The most beautiful dining room lined in all Cedar and the most gorgeous chandeliers!!!!! Now you may ask, where does the cafe part come in??? That is the best part………as you gaze upon the chandeliers you will start to notice something very unique. They are made out of plastic utensils and only cost $11 each!!!! Seriously, you will never see a better looking chandelier for $11, if you do, send me a pic.
Now let’s get to the food part before you stop reading and miss the opportunity of a lifetime!!! (I would feel so bad) Let’s just say on my social media I had to make a new album entitled “Best Restaurants In America”. Yes it is that good!!!! Now quick background on me……..I’m from Texas, and we Texans know good down south home style food, and this folks, is down south home style food that will get up off the plate and slap you in the face & leave sauce on your chin and you will like it!!! Sorry, I am very very wrong……..you will love it!!!!!
The master mind behind this freaking amazing eatery is Delena Olsen mother of 7, yes I said 7. (And no she is not Amish) Billie Jo 12 , Reuben 10, Truman 9, Lillie 7, Tillie 6, Merica 2 and Henry 1. Then there is her Aunt Cindy Smith who is 64. So let’s just say that this restaurant will be fully staffed no matter what shortage of employees happens in Merica. I have 3 daughters and I feel like a mad man sometimes, Delena please give me parenting lessons!!!! (PS I never for the rest of my life want to hear that you can’t start a restaurant because you have children, I bet you don’t have 7!!!!)
When I asked Delena how this all began this is what she replied, “It’s called Cedar Chandelier’s Cafe. It use to be my little car lot and I turned it into a restaurant for more of a steady income after my husband became disabled. It’s a really fun atmosphere and entertaining. Locals come and jam on Thursday and I have bands on Friday night. I have 7 kids so they all help working or babysitting each other lol . It’s all just country cooking but I work hard to make it good.”
She starts you off with huge pipping hot Homemade Yeast Rolls fresh out of the oven and Cinnamon Butter, and then leads you into a fun roller coaster of deep rooted flavors. (She is only open 2 days a week so plan accordingly)
I was literally drinking the brown gravy, and I ask her what the secret is? She replies………I hate to waist the grease leftover from the burgers, so I use that and the brisket juice. What a clever idea saving the hamburger grease!!!! The flavors of that brown gravy bring me back to a childhood place, and very very happy place. Please don’t expect anything fancy, but do expect some of the best flavors you have ever tasted!
If I was to pick a favorite, I would have to say the smothered pork steak. This was executed to perfection and I would drive across the whole country to get me some of this!!!! Seriously, I was just on the West Coast eating likes it’s going out of style and all I can think of is this Smothered Pork Steak!!!! The meat literally melted in my mouth like meat cotton candy and the brown gravy will change your life!!!!
I had an Aunt Mary Jane who was about 300 pounds on a skinny day and I was absolutely spoiled to her Chicken & Dumplings so it is thoroughly hard to impress me with this dish. Let me tell you straight……Delena serves Homemade Chicken Numpling and it is freaking amazing!!!! It is a mix between and dumpling and a noodle and I am loving it!
Now I am one of those food freaks that you capture when you say the magic word “Smothered” and so I had to order every dish with that word in it, this happens to be the Smothered Chicken & Potatoes. I am telling you, this food is crazy good!!! The chicken melts in your mouth like butter and the potatoes still have the perfect texture. This can be difficult for chefs to pull off. You have the cook time of the actual food, then the rest time of how long it takes you to order and most restaurants serve mushy potatoes, but not Delena Olsen.
Now on google the definition literally states: Southern Cooking = Chicken Fried Steak. I would be more than proud to take Chef Delena Olsen with me to battle you toe to toe with this dish! There is zero over complication in her execution and it is simply perfect! The flavor bomb of this gravy upper cuts your taste buds and if you have saved any yeast rolls then you know what is next! Yep, time to sop up every last bit!!! (Please don’t come here if you don’t eat carbs and your constantly on a diet, this is for us real eaters that like carbs with our carbs)
Typically I don’t go over so many dishes but literally everything was good here!!!!! Do you want to spend the best $2.99 of your life? Then order the “Hobo Beans” and expect to be delighted! No this could be one of those dishes they could possibly change each week. Chef Delena Does not let anything go to waste, so depending on what proteins she use that week, determines what ends up in the hobo beans. They are so so good, brisket was one of the meats that week.
If you have read any of my previous blogs you know I am addicted to desserts. Yes I openly admit it and I am ok with that. I have many times started with dessert at a meal then to end on a dessert at the same setting and not feel guilty in the least. I could literally be so full I cannot eat one more bite of savory food, and then you bring out a good dessert menu and I will literally order two desserts. Well, these desserts here are ever changing and oh so good! I felt for the occasion we should have one of everything and it was a great choice if I do say so myself. I have to say, the “German Chocolate Cake” was my absolute fave, and for $2.99……come on!!!!
We all know every establishment is judged by it’s restrooms, and this one passes with flying colors according to my gorgeous wife Ashley Allen who took a selfie for us to prove it. Thanks babe!
Sometimes in life you just feel like you have known someone forever, that is how I felt when I met Delena. She is just a good person through and through. We sat and chatted and I was lost in her story. I have a lot to learn from her not only as a chef but also as a parent. She was very good with her children and they all were so polite, hard working and intuitive. Her son Rueben especially was intuitive and you could see his passion for life in everything he would do. (I am also pretty sure he was named after the sandwich, as a chef I love it)
Beyond anything, Delena was real and genuine, there was nothing fake about her. (That is hard to come by these days) Another interesting fact about her is that she used to be 334 pounds, and now look at her, absolutely beautiful & stunning!!! (I am allowed to say that, because my wife said the same thing) From the bottom of my heart thank you Delena Olsen for cooking your little heart out and sharing your passion with the rest of us. PS She runs a used car dealership 5 days a week, info below. PSS I hear she can sing too, Delena what can’t you do?
Yes, Ava Missouri is quite a drive out there, but I promise you that if Delena still owns this restaurant, the food will live up to my review! 11 out of 10 stars!!!!
Cedar Chandelier’s Cafe – 1003 N Jefferson St, Ava Missouri 65608
Hours of operation: Thursday & Friday 4-8pm
Phone Number: 417-543-1878
To get the best deal on a used car, you can also call Delena’s Auto: 417-543-9396