We are willing to drive hours, if not days, for great food. When we see a nice photo of food, we drool, salivate, and something in us wants to try it. What is that something?
But we are fickle when it comes to food. What was “Hot!” “Amazing!” “The best!” one day is gone the next day. I remember when Sugar House was home to Der Ratskeller Pizza, Sizzler, Skippers Seafood and Chowder, Millie’s Burgers and Soup Kitchen.
Back in the 80s, there was nothing like trying a new place like Wienerschnitzel. I made my grandpa take me there after I had seen their commercial with the wiener cartoon character being chased around by a very nice looking lady. Once I finally ordered the “World’s most wanted wiener”, I did feel privileged, like I had finally arrived, telling kids at recess, “Yea, I tried Wienerschnitzel. It was the most incredible hotdog I ever tasted.” “Wow!” the kids would say. But for some reason, people got tired of them. Hotdogs served from a giant fiberglass hotdog with clever marketing was indeed a fad.
But examine who remains from my list of famous Sugar House eats from the 80s: Millie’s Burgers and Soup Kitchen (I think part of the Der Ratskeller sign still stands). My point is that it’s the locals that offer great food and lasting value. Certainly, I admit I was excited when I finally had an In-N-Out Burger. It was great. But they will never top the experience I get from Millie’s — seeing Dan, Vicki and the crew with their old-fashioned bacon cheese burgers and shakes. Or seeking Mike and Janet at Feldman’s dishing their incredible pastrami. Or Ricci at Villaggio Pizzeria with his crew producing his grandma’s recipes– it’s great.
The owners and operators offer not only the best food, but they create our social fabric. They produce a sense of place and offer a sense of purpose that pure consumerism and mass production cannot beat.
In this issue, we offer places that offer a true “sense of place.” And the best chefs create something special. It is in these places where we meet, get acquainted, enjoy the company of friends, celebrate, grow old, and remember.