Monday, August 07, 2006

Millcreek Plaza

Millcreek Plaza
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
We went on a long drive. 3300 miles! That's a lot of eating out. One place stands out among the others. The Over the counter Cafe in Salt Lake City.

Over the Counter Cafe

I may be what some would refer to as a greasy spoon. Look at it, from the outside that just might be what one would think. However, this place is so well run it amazes me everytime I eat there.

The owner has been running it for years. Every time I am in Salt Lake, whether it be passing through or staying for an extended time period, I eat there. Why? Because they serve the best food, with the best service anywhere in the state.

The food is standard American fare. Bacon and eggs, french toast, "the best omlette in town". They are not over representing when they put that slogan on the wall. We arrived early in the morning, grabbed a table and waited with the locals for our turn to order.

The waitress, well, she could teach how to do it right. Our tab came to a bit under $15, and we left a $6 tip. She was young, but age didn't limit her abilities. She knew her job, and did it better than any other restaurant we ate in for the whole trip. We paid 14 times that bill at another place and the service was not even close to how well hers was. Keep in mind, the other place had two servers waiting on our party of six, and the service didn't compare to what this young woman, not more than 25, handled alone in a restaurant filled with patrons.

That's what good service is all about. It's not about the clothes you're wearing. It's not about the culinary school training or the 'protocol'. Of course that can help, but it doesn't make you good at what you do. Some people just have the grit it tazkes to get the job done. Maybe it's not grit, maybe it's passion. Maybe it's knowing you have to pay the bills and these customers are part of your team, and you're going to help them help you. Whatever it was that made the young woman do her job, she could teach all the starched white aprons a few things.

Then of course, what is a restaurant without good food. Each time we have had the opportunity to eat at Over the Counter Cafe, the food has been excellent. The eggs, whether cooked over easy, scrambled, or omletted, are cooked perfectly. Not a bit of brown to them. It's unnatural for an egg to be browned. Then they use the best bacon available, cooked to perfection. The French toast has a bit, and just a bit, of nutmeg to give it depth. It was very nice. Omelttes are superb. Not a trace of fake cheese, or american. The hashbrowns are fresh, not frozen. Excellent.

I noticed that while we were there, there was a group of young boys at a table. They couldn't have been more than13 - 14 years old. We had noticed when we walked up, there was a pile of skateboards at the entry door. Hmmm. So to give a good indication, these young men, got up early and went down to the diner for a good breakfast to start the day. Neighbors know this guys food is good and it's where the locals want to grab a good meal. They were very well behaved too.

Please, if you are ever in Salt Lake City, do yourself a favor and go for breakfast at the Over the Counter Cafe. It's at the corner of 23rd East and 33rd South. In the Millcreek Plaza. You'll thank me for certain.