I am doing the A-Z challenge, focusing on places or entities that can be found within Mendocino County. I do not intend to imply that the subjects of my writing are the most significant, only that they have personal relevance to me. Today’s letter is S for Star’s Restaurant.
Star’s is not a fancy kind of place; rather, it is a coffee shop that provides good food. Annie and I used to occasionally take the boys there, back in the day, because it is reasonably priced, and the service is friendly and efficient. The first time we ever were there, the wait staff impressed us by first, bring out coloring books and crayons for the boys to use, and second, by bringing their food quickly. Now Annie and I treat ourselves, whenever we are in Ukiah, and do not feel in the mood for Mexican food, which is usually our first choice.
Star’s is on Orchard Avenue, just off Perkins, which means it is centrally located for almost all of the errands we routinely have to do. For instance, I visit the Veterans Out-patient Clinic pretty regularly. From the VA clinic I can walk to Star’s, even though I have to walk right past Taco Loco, a Mexican food restaurant, that Annie and I both feel serves authentic cuisine.
Most recently, I have felt a lot of appreciation for Star’s because they go out of their way to be friendly. The wait staff recognizes us and treats us as if we are special customers. Annie cannot eat wheat, so they already know that if she wants a cheeseburger, she is going to want it wrapped in lettuce, instead of on a bun. When we asked the Denny’s up in Eureka for a similar arrangement, you would have thought we asked for some sort of exotic dish, unavailable in the Western Hemisphere. What we actually got was lettuce, all right, only it was shredded. Seriously?
We went very early for breakfast one morning, just after they opened at six o’clock. We were on our way to San Francisco, so we figured we’d give ourselves a treat. Whereas, I was not expecting bucket seats and four on the floor, what I actually got was the best spinach, swiss cheese, and avocado omelet I have ever tasted, piping hot and just to die for. Even the sourdough toast was done the way I like, which is completely toasted, with blackberry jam on the side. Most breakfast places seem to serve warmed up bread, and if there is jam, it is either grape jelly or strawberry. Not Star’s.
Another reason I like Star’s is kind of dumb, but it has to do with the plate glass windows, at which we are seated nearly every time we go in there. I can see outside, and therefore keep an eye on my truck. Much of the time I have stuff in the bed of the truck, and therefore feel a little uncomfortable if I have to go inside a restaurant, and cannot keep an eye on it.
Star’s reminds me of Coffee Dan’s a restaurant down in SoCal, which happens to be the first restaurant I ever ate at, when I was twelve years old. I was invited to Coffee Dan’s by a classmate, who was celebrating his birthday. In our family eating out at restaurants was unheard of. I do remember eating together once as a family, when I was already an adult, but I have lost track of the reason, or even where it was at.
In any case, because of the VA, because of Dr. Mark, my shrink, because of all of the errands we have to take care of in Ukiah, we are frequent fliers at Star’s. When I want to revisit my childhood, without leaving the county, I hit Star’s up for a cheeseburger and fries. What can I say? I feel like a star at Star’s.