Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Have To Get Over To Ollie's

Something about a chain restaurant disturbs me. Maybe it’s the fake cheerfulness of the buildings and decor, or the idea that they are alike everywhere: building, menu, uniforms. The gimmicks, especially in the tv ads, that try to make you think that their kind of protein is better than someone else’s kind of protein.

We have a little place here, “Ollie’s American Restaurant.” Used to be just “Ollie’s,” or maybe “Ollie’s Family Restaurant.” I don’t know where the “American” came in, or why, but the joint looks the same (plain) and the menu is the same (lots of good stuff and it arrives looking good on the plate). There are no gimmicks.

There are lots of “Ollie’s” restaurants around the country, all very separate and independently owned. Seems as how the original chain went out of business and, I suppose, who wants to buy a new sign when what’s up there is perfectly good? I think the original place was a spin-off of Perkins.

It is my practice to buy local whenever possible. Chain restaurants return 14% to the local economy; mom & pops return 47%. Chains don’t ever impress me with any kind of personal service; they’re working at the place until something better comes along. At the local Mom & Pop, you tend to see everyone around for years with dedication.

A local, long-retired, celebrity of sorts passed away recently. His favorite waitress at Ollie’s went to the nursing home nearly every day to see how he was.


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