Long Live Mom & Pop Shops
I just got back from a wonderful lunch at my now favorite, locally-owned Greek place, which I recently discovered. While enjoying my gyro, a lady came in and ordered a "jy-ro". I laughed. When her sandwich was served, she asked for ketchup. I cried. Neither of these things even phased the restaurant worker, bless her heart, who was Greek. Must be numb to the relentless attacks philistines wage on the cuisine of her heritage.
After I finished my meal, the owner came around offering samples of a dessert I was not familiar with. It was amazing, just like everything else I've had there. When he had a moment, I asked him what the name of the treat was so that I could order it next time. Bougatsa. He took me over to the front counter where a well-worn Greek cookbook lay and thumbed through the pages with me showing me not only the recipe for bougatsa, but several other of his favorites.
We chatted for a while about our mutual interest in cooking and he told me about a time when he won third place out of 300 culinary school-taught professional chefs in a regional Iron Chef type competition. He's self taught with no formal education, but he dominated 297 others in his first stab at this sort of competition with nothing but passion and homegrown know-how. That's what I call a culinary bad-ass.
I'm writing this because I want to stress the importance of supporting businesses such as this because we all have a place just like it in our own hometowns. We need to help them when we find a gem that deserves our respect. Give them your business. Not only that, they need us recommending their restaurant to our friends and choosing them over the chains that the apathetic masses shamble to.
and... I feel like I should end this with some sort of Goonies-esque "This is our time, our time down here!" So there you have it.