Small Town Anywhere USA. The zip code is familiar, most likely it’s the one you used growing up. Remember when….there was no Outback Steak House? No Ruby Tuesdays or Chili’s? Where did you go to dinner? Where were special occasion held by your parents? Don’t you remember being greeted at the door by that host or hostess (most likely the owner) that knew your family name and respected your business? The place where every one’s experience was the most important item on the menu?
My version of anywhere USA is a great example of what needs to be said. For the sake of location lets just call it Watertown, NY (and the surrounding area). When I was growing up the restaurant’s in the area supplied all that was needed. From quality steaks to lobster to soups and nuts, we found it at places like The Riverside(Black River, NY) or The Herrings Inn(Yep, Herrings, NY). With a huge Italian population, the Italian eateries have been run there by immigrant families since they opened their doors, and Pasta alla Primavera was not served in Marinara Sauce. And by the way if it was, it was corrected, not argued about.
Over the last ten years Watertown has been experiencing large growth. In fact, Watertown has been predicted for massive expansion for the next ten years. This growth has brought in many new businesses. Many of them Corporate Chain Concept Restaurants. And if you live there expect more soon. These behemoths advertising giants will get there message out to you. You will see the signs, you will know the the happy hour times and the buy one get one features. They will flaunt it at every commercial break during your favorite crime scene investigation show, and the radio stations will turn up the volume on their ads on the lunch time news program. Not to be patronizing, but this is called ‘Geurrilla Advertising’, And during a time when we are all so deeply concerned about class warfare, realizing it was waged on us first years ago, we should recognize this as ‘Geurrilla Class Warfare’. We should take time to reflect on the restaurants that were always there for before this war began, and and are there for us now still today.
No, the respected Italian eatery ‘Art’s Jug’, founded in 1933 and still family run, does not have the advertising money or power to be in your face everyday. But everyday they are still employing many local residents, buying food from local distributors, and keeping the lights on in an obscure, non main street area. At Art’s Jug you can get what many consider to be the best pizza in town, and they make their own sausage. And daily specials. Has anyone been to Pete’s Restaurant lately? How about this deal….&7.95 all you can eat Spag & Balls on Mondays. For fresh spicy home cooked Caribbean meals, go to Andy’s Caribbean in the Globe Mini Mall and try a real Goat Roti…psst he has chicken too. And Andy will love to tell you about Gernada. Do not forget about Schulers, or for some great big city style restaurant check out Chef Brenda’s Italian fare at Cavallario’s Cucina. Not that I give this critic much credit, but he may have this one pegged.
Regardless of where you live, if you are taking time to read this you are member of the 99%. And now is the time to act. Look for the One Percent restaurants in your own area. If you are going to spend your money, do not give it to the global restaurant giants that put your money in the pockets of other states, and countries. With all this power of the internet it is very easy to find competing deals at locally owned restaurants.