You know me, I’m always late to the party (remember my post about my discovery of Greek yogurt, oh -about a year after everyone else was eating it?) Yeah, I’m kinda behind on trendiness.
I was MIA this week because of Craig’s vacation. I decided that he shouldn’t have all the fun, so I quickly shirked my painting and writing responsibilities for the week and joined him in lounging around in the mornings, long dog walks in the afternoons and an occasional meal out.
I am the absolute worst when it comes to picking a place to eat. This is how our conversations usually go:
Craig: So, where do you want to go?
Me: Anywhere, really.
Craig: Do you have a taste for anything in particular?
Me: No, not really.
Craig: How about that Thai place across town?
Me: No, not there.
Me: Meh. That doesn’t sound very good either, for some reason.
Craig: Well, where would you like to go, then?
Me: Anywhere you want to go.
Yes, I can be THAT person. I easily want to wring my own neck for that behavior. Thank goodness I have a very patient husband. I have found something out about myself, though. If I can’t decide on a place to eat it’s usually because I’m tired of having to choose from the same places over and over again. Yes, we just had a Golden Corral and a Cheddar’s open nearby but combine those with other chain restaurants like Chili’s, TGI Fridays and The Olive Garden, it all starts feeling mind numbingly similar after a while.
Locally owned restaurants can be hard to come by if you’re not living in a major metropolitan area, and truthfully, easily forgotten about when the major chains have their billboards and commercials always there to remind you of where they think you should be eating. I don’t know about you but it seems like the only flavors I’m ever exposed to whenever I go out are either an over abundance of salt or sugar. There are so many spices and herbs I’ve never even tried, and for those of you who love to cook, you already know that cooking well is not just a skill – it’s an art; a true labor of love. Local restaurants seem to get that concept, which is why Craig and I decided that if we ate out at all this week, it was going to be locally owned.
I started searching websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and for new and interesting local flare. Ultimately, we ended up at this small café/bistro called Thyme of Grace in South Bend. Michele, the owner has been open for over ten years (4 years at her new location) but Craig nor I had heard of this place.
Now, I generally don’t write reviews on restaurants on my blog but this post practically wrote itself. There was no stopping it. I mean, just look at this salad:
Spinach, apple slices, fresh grated cheese – and on top: bacon-wrapped dates. And did you see the beautiful mum and herbs resting on that lovely kale leaf? This looked too pretty to eat; somehow I managed, though. Yep. I powered through So delicious.
And here is my turkey sandwich (so, so yummy) with a carrot slaw that was out of this world, which says a lot since I’m not generally not a big carrot fan:
The entire restaurant was warm and inviting and had quite the eclectic, artistic vibe throughout. What I found charming was that our table was completely unique and unlike any others thanks to the charming mismatched décor, right down to the silverware, plates and chairs. Michele, the chef, was absolutely delightful and, as expected, she incorporated flavors that I couldn’t identify but blissfully brought out the goodness in each and every bite. This place literally blew me away.
I’ve always supported local businesses but now understand more than ever how important it is since opening my own art business. It’s the customers who keep small business owners afloat. Without you, wonderful establishments like Thyme of Grace wouldn’t exist. My own livelihood – my joy of painting wouldn’t exist.
So, even though I’m a bit late in writing my post for supporting Small Business Day this year, I want to encourage you to venture out in your own town to the local businesses that rely on your support all year long. Who knows what you’ll uncover!
What’s your favorite local hangout, and what makes it so special?