Home cooking is alive and well at this longtime neighborhood hang (36 years and counting). But next to the old standbys—chicken-fried chicken, fall-apart tender pot roast, chicken and dumplings—are more sensible plates, such as grilled salmon spiked with rosemary. We ordered the latter with steamed asparagus and a small tomato mozzarella salad dolloped with fresh pesto, but, of course, we couldn’t resist a buttery mound of red-skinned mashed potatoes. So much for trying to be good. Then again, by the time our entrées arrived, we’d already noshed on complimentary fresh-baked baby muffins and divine cornbread studded with whole kernel corn and green chilies, so who was really watching her waistline?

Other things we love about Celebration: a long, and seasonal, list of inspired sides that includes more than just mashed potatoes and green beans. Think tomato-cucumber salad and a fruit cup with enormously plump fresh blackberries as opposed to the run-of-the-mill strawberry-cantaloupe-honeydew combo. You get a choice of three with your meal, which means you could get your recommended daily allowance of veggies in one sitting, provided you don’t get distracted by those dreamy mashed potatoes. If you’re doing dessert—and you should—the fruit cobblers are available in a small size suitable for one. But you’d be hard-pressed to narrow it down to one tiny cobbler when the lineup also includes moist strawberry shortcake and a house-made brownie topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Here’s to another 36 years of Celebration. And elastic-waist pants.

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