2010.04.21 Search for new favorite restaurant off and running

Written by David Green.


I suppose it’s a sign of the economy that I found out Saturday morning that one of my favorite restaurants had changed hands, then discovered later that evening that another one had closed for good.

It’s not like I’m going to starve as I have hangouts both in Fayette and Bryan to get my tater tot fix, plus another local eatery if the urge for a taco salad hits between Wednesday and Saturday. But my choices for a restaurant with waitresses took a nosedive.

 The first restaurant was a family-run affair which just won’t be the same with the family gone. The closing of the second, located in Defiance, was a real surprise as I had just eaten there about a month ago. When my dining companion and I arrived there Saturday night, the sign at the road said “Dinner buffet w/beverage, $7.99,” the same special we enjoyed the last time we visited. We noticed the parking lot in front was empty, then that there were no vehicles behind the building, either.

Sure enough, there was a professionally made sign in the door announcing the restaurant would be closed on Easter, then another, hand scrawled one saying simply, “Sorry, Out of Business.” Apparently, our last visit came just before they shut the doors. My friend turned to me and asked, “Do you think we ate too much last time?” Possibly, but we weren’t the only ones. I’m really going to miss their meatloaf.

Now, where to go? There’s another similar family-type chain restaurant in Defiance I vowed I’d never go to again. When we went there the first time, they waited until they served my friend’s meal to mention they were out of the special I had ordered. I watched my friend eat while they made my replacement choice, then she got to watch me eat. And the food wasn’t that great, either.

Instead, we returned to another restaurant I’ve written about before, one I thought was populated by zombies the way they kept coming back and asking a series of questions about the food as if they had memorized a script (which they probably had).

This time, we had a waitress I’ll call Audrey. She seemed to be pretty nice and when she brought our orders, she apologized for putting both our dinner rolls on the same plate. My friend said that was all right because it would save someone from washing a dish. Audrey laughed and replied that she didn’t care if the dishwasher had to work extra. This was obviously the same thinking of the party dining next to us and served by a different waitress.

The group of nine or ten people were just finishing their dinner when they asked their waitress for plates to serve a birthday cake they had brought with them. They had been rather demanding during the time we were there and now they wanted plates to serve their own dessert? I thought that took a lot of nerve, but at least they might leave the waitress an extra tip. Yeah, right.

When they got up to leave, the person closest to us left two one dollar bills on the table and the rest left nothing. The waitress came by a couple of minutes later, picked up the two bucks and took a long look around the rest of the table. She left with an expression on her face of both sadness and barely concealed rage. I don’t blame her. There is another restaurant just down the street for customers who don’t like to tip to patronize. It’s called Burger King. Maybe next time, they’ll go there.

No such trouble at our table, however. ”Audrey” was right on top of things all night and was suitably rewarded for her efforts. After I returned to the table from a visit to the rest room, she came back and asked if I wanted another drink refill before I left. “No,” I told her, “it’s probably time we got out of your way.”

“Oh, no,” she replied. “Sometimes I feel like telling people that they should be thinking about heading home, but I like you guys.” I told her that we had a bit of a drive yet and she asked where we were from. After we told her, she said she understood if we wanted to get going and to be careful on the road.

As I was paying the bill, the cashier asked if everything was all right and I told her we had had a great waitress. “Only the best one!” Audrey laughed as she popped up behind me, walking toward the kitchen. And you know what? I think she may be right.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016