Culinary Adventure: Visit Your Local Mom & Pop

Culinary Adventure: Visit Your Local Mom & Pop

If you’re searching for some amazing food, skip your local Olive Garden or TGI Friday’s or whatever cookie cutter restaurant you’ve got around the corner. Instead, try going on a real culinary adventure by seeking out your nearest Mom & Pop place. You know, one of those hole in the walls that you never think twice about; you might not even notice it very much at all, driving past on your way to work or school. You might have wondered about it—“Hmm, I wonder if Jeffco Diner is any good?” but then promptly left it forgotten when it came time to pick somewhere to go Friday night.

The thing is, if you try it, you may find that it’s the best food you’ve ever had. The best places I’ve ever eaten, for example, were places that I don’t even remember the names of—a small yogurt stand I found on a debate trip, a college diner during another; a delicious sub shop in San Francisco, a bunch of awesome tapas joints in Spain. I have yet to visit one no-name type place (or place without a memorable name, rather) that I didn’t like, though there are plenty of chain places that I wouldn’t visit again.

All of these “nameless” places had a few things in common, such as unique dishes, homemade fare, and a completely different atmosphere from the chain restaurants we’re all used to. Other than that, they all differed; some had upstairs dining, others were outside. Some were open only certain days of the week, while others could be visited every day. Some even had live music, though most just had the jukebox or a radio playing. Most had very reasonable prices, too. I experienced my first wrap, my first bean sprout sandwich, my first frothy bread and onion soup (and I normally don’t even like onions!), and so many other unique dishes at these places.

Never did I miss “great service,” as most of these restaurants had it in spades; nor did I miss the same menus with the same overpriced stuff on them, either. The charm of the “daily special” chalkboard, the tablecloths, the peanuts on the floor, or the wine glasses topped with a kebab or slice of something delicious were so much more memorable than any burger or pasta plate I’ve ever had.

In honor of the Mom & Pop place, I’ve added “Try 10 local restaurants” to my  Living to Do list and suggest you do the same!