Great Food with a Hometown Feel: The Wooden Spoon
As you walk through the rugged, half painted red door, the smell of eggs and potatoes assaults your nose. While this smell can be found at breakfast dives across America, only at the Wooden Spoon in the little town of Spring Arbor, Michigan, does it truly awaken the taste buds. The first sound you hear and will continue to is the constant melodious buzz of conversation, whether it be the old-timers at the big circle table in the middle of the room talking about times long past or the local high school students looking for a hearty breakfast, the sound of voices is a comforting one. With the walls of the restaurant covered in license plates from exotic places, various doodads and trinkets, and (of course) wooden spoons, the place has a very homey and comfortable feel to it, perhaps the green shag carpet contributes to the feel of home.
The waitresses and owners of the diner set the standard for service and friendliness, while at the same time the variety of breakfast food satisfies the palate and fills the stomach without breaking the bank (for the most part).
When attending an eating establishment, one of the most important aspects of the experience is the quality of the service provided by the staff. The service of the Wooden Spoon is of an outstanding quality as reviewed by a broke first-year college student. One of the first things I notice when I walk into the restaurant is that the waitresses are all uniformed in khaki pants and blue tie-dye shirts that read “Wooden Spoon” on the front. The effectiveness of this uniform continues to enhance the comfort and homey atmosphere of the restaurant. As you sit down, you are greeted by a waitress that, if you are a regular, will call you by name and bring you your own personal mug. I was greeted by Jena on my visit to the Wooden Spoon and she was courteous and friendly throughout my meal. She promptly took my drink order and returned to me, drink in hand, in a blink of an eye. After giving me a few minutes to look over the menu, I finally decided on a three-egg omelet with bacon, cheese, onions, potatoes, and one of the locally-famous homemade cinnamon rolls, that is sure to put them on the map one of these days. As I waited for my food to be prepared, I gazed around the main room of the restaurant and watched the other waitresses interact with the customers. I was impressed to see that all of them greet the customers with a smile and are just as polite as my waitress. I was even pleasantly surprised to see the owner of the Wooden Spoon out talking to the customers. She was just as friendly as the girls she employed. Jena returned a few minutes later with my steaming omelet and warm cinnamon roll and she quickly asked if I needed anything else. As I ate my meal, my waitress returned a couple more times to see how I was fairing, to which I had no complaints. After my meal was over, she promptly brought my check to me and took my empty plates away. The owner greeted me with a smile as I paid my bill and wished me a good day as I left. I was extremely pleased with the overall service of the restaurant.
The atmosphere of the Wooden Spoon is that of a typical hometown diner, with a more laid back and homey feel to it. The owners and waitresses aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation with you while you enjoy a fresh, homemade meal that fills your stomach. The overall calm and friendly air to the restaurant makes you feel like you could sit back, relax, and catch up on almost forgotten times with old friends without feeling like a bother, which is what many older folks happen to do! Whether it be the wall covered with spoons, the old-fashioned advertisements on another wall, or the colorful mugs that are neatly aligned on the top of an overlook, there is always something that nabs your attention. The family friendly feeling of the restaurant is something that I was also impressed with. As I looked around the restaurant, I spotted quite a few families, with children young and old, that had come out for breakfast. All of the waitresses made appropriate accommodations for the little ones, and were patient with the parents and children when the kids made a fuss. The cleanliness of the eating area is something that also should be stated. The restaurant is as clean as a diner can be. With evidence of regular vacuuming written all over the shag carpet floor, I was impressed with the overall clean look.
The one thing that every successful restaurant has in common is that they all serve good food. The Wooden Spoon is no different. Although certain items on the menu are a little overpriced, especially for a tight budget, the quality of the food is worth it.
The homemade cinnamon rolls, made fresh every Sunday morning, are so good that they have become one of the staples of the local’s diet. The homemade soups and omelets are also one of the main foods that the Wooden Spoon is known for. The specialty omelets come in your choice of either two eggs or three eggs, but both seem like much larger omelets than this. They are then packed full of your choice of meat, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables. My favorite of the omelets was a well-done Midwest omelet with wheat toast. This is a three-egg omelet filled with bacon, cheese, onions, potatoes and comes with your choice of toast. The eggs were cooked to perfection, no runny pieces at all, with the cheese gooey and the bacon and potatoes crispy on the inside.
While all the items I tasted were delectable, I wouldn’t immediately recommend them to someone on an overly tight budget. The omelet alone, depending on the amount of eggs, can cost up to $7.90. When factoring in drinks, you could be looking at a meal of around $10. This seems like a fortune to someone watching their money, such as myself. The menu is also confined to that of a traditional breakfast joint like Denny’s or your local breakfast diner.
I would, however, recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat to anyone that appreciates good breakfast food. One object of concern was voiced by my waitress herself. When asked if there was anything about The Spoon she did not like, she responded, “I worry that this restaurant will not be the same if the owners sell. They aren’t getting any younger so it’s bound to happen eventually” (Holton). This is the one flaw that I could find with this little place but it doesn’t take away from any of its charm. “It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food, in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back” (Dave Thomas) This quote by the founder of Wendy’s, Dave Thomas, is the perfect summary of the Wooden Spoon. It may be a basic breakfast joint, but they do the basics better than the competition. I will be paying a visit to the Wooden Spoon again soon and would recommend you to do the same.
The Wooden Spoon is a restaurant that I would happily recommend to families and people both young and old, if they can pay the price. The service of the restaurant, I found to be exemplary. The waitresses were all polite and respectful, while being quick and observant. Another pleasant surprise being that the owner herself stops by for a check in during your meal. The atmosphere and rustic decorating of the Wooden Spoon also is suitable for all ages and makes the consumer feel like they are almost at home enjoying a home cooked meal. Finally, the food itself is as outstanding as breakfast food can be; with perfectly made omelets being the centerpiece to the menu. The one flaw that is found with The Wooden Spoon is the age of the owners and I am left with a question. If The Wooden Spoon comes under new ownership, how will this affect the qualities discussed in this review? In conclusion, the Wooden Spoon is a breakfast restaurant that perfectly captures all that a breakfast restaurant should be: friendly to all ages of people, rustic and comfortable, with good food and great service being at the heart of the restaurant.
“Dave Thomas Quote.” BrainyQuote, 12 Feb. 2017, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dave_thomas.html.
Holton, Jena. Personal interview. 10 Feb 2017