As I get older, I miss what we call Comfort Foods. My wife doesn’t make things the
way my mother and grandmother made them, so I’ve given up on eating certain dishes.
But my dear wife has also added new Comfort Food to my life.
The problem is there are too many comfort foods, too many main dishes and side dishes
and desserts to pick from. So, here is just one meal of comfort food I’d offer…
Homemade Rolls (tall ones, fluffy in the middle and golden brown on the top and bottom)
Firm and peppery mashed potatoes with corn on top
Well-cooked green beans
Fried Chicken or Norweigan Meatballs…prefer the chicken, but the wife makes great meatballs
(Dr. Pepper as my choice of comfort drink with a meal)
That’s my comfort food, but it also changes with the seasons, which would make my wordy contribution
even more wordy.
I counted 20 above-mentioned foods on my menu.
One more thing. Emotionally, I know this is really hard to do, but slim down your menu of pre-prepared homemade items to save on labor and to aid holding. You mentioned that you don t serve every specialty every day, but slim down even more. Some customers will complain if their item isn t on the menu all day every day, but you ve got to tell them that you d rather keep prices low by saving on labor costs than by cutting the quality of the food.
Along with your homemade chile and slimmed down selection of daily specials, you can offer a base menu of comfort items made to order, Not complicated stuff like PapaJoe8 thought I meant above, but a number of not a huge number of things like sandwich and burger plates using signature sides such as a homemade macaroni salad and garnishes that are unique to your restaurant.
And, at the risk of having some people run me off this forum with pitchforks and torches, I ll say that you are not a French restaurant with a French restaurant mark up. You are allowed to compromise at times where this doesn t impact the dining experience of your customers. I mean serve those real mashed potatoes. Most of us know and really appreciate the difference, but consider enhancing and enriching some restaurant supply soup mixes to save time and serving items like good quality pre-breaded popcorn shrimp that you heat instead of fry.
Bless you for serving real mashed potatoes, hopefully made with real butter, and real gravy. All sins of your misspent youth are forgiven. I’d love to visit your restaurant someday.
I m not surprised, if you are younger, that you never had sour cream raison pie. Since I first came to Iowa also to misspend part of my youth some 42 years ago, the dining scene has changed dramatically. You hardly used to see a chain. A few Pizza Huts, A&W s and the like, but that was about it. You could go anywhere in the state and find young people enjoying foods like homemade pies and outstanding pork tenders at mom and pop small cafes and drive ins.
Now, as you sadly know, young adults dine at chains, chains, and more chains. Oh, there may be an independent pizza hangout in a small city that the kids like and far more ethnic places than before, but with some exceptions like the Hamburg Inn in Iowa City, the small independent cafes that remain tend to serve an older crowd, as I guess you likely do. These are the places where you often find sour cream raison pie or whatever the people in an area choose to call it.
Sounds like the Sterns need to come visit you Blizz!
Voyageur, I lived my misspent youth in Iowa and never HEARD of sour cream raisin pie. When I returned to Iowa to open a restaursnt, my dsd insisted I put sour cream raisin pie on the menu. Thanks to the Sterns and the Norske Nook cookbook, we make an awesome pie.
blizzardstormus, the moment I read "sour cream raisin," I knew you were from Iowa!
I own a restaurant that specializes in comfort food. I counted 20 above-mentioned foods on my menu. I am continually looking for ways to put more comfort food on the menu. As pointed out, a lot of comfort food takes a long time to prepare, making it difficult to keep lsbor costs in line. Also, a lot of comfort food does not hold up well over the day.
My successes & failures:
Meatloaf: we make individual loaves, bake, cool, & microwave per order.
Chili: we make 5 gallons every day & hold in crockpots for service.
Fried chicken: pan-fried chicken special every Wednesday. An hour to prepare but it holds nicely in my holding oven.
Homemade soups: small batches made every day.
Swiss steak: Thursday special: holds well.
Hot beef: slow-roasted beef, real mashed potatoes & real gravy made from stock using my beef trimmings.
Homemade pies: Sour cream raisin is our most popular but we can only make onae a day because the meringue looks funky by day 2.
Pot roast: I can make a fantastic pot roast but if I hold it on the steamtable it breaks down into shreds. Fantastic taste, appearance sucks.
Macaroni & cheese: Great when first made, but again appearance sucks after a while.
Voyag, good point. Some folks might not like the idea of geting something frozen from a restaurant.
The problem is that many of these items are hard to cook when ordered. They take to long and are to hard to make for just for a few people. That is why there are so few comfort food places, maybe?
Many things do not freeze so well and need to be served fresh. Some things, lke chili and some soups, get even beter when frozen and reheated.
This makes me WAY too hungry too!
Unless in an area where people flow in around the clock, who needs to have everything available 24/7? Why not use a chalkboard that lists your "blue plates" until they run out? For example, regulars know the lunch specials come on line at 11:00 or 11:30, and learn to come early for best selection. For less busy times, the regular menu features comfort items made to order, soups, etc. If you can somehow get people to lap up frozen and then reheated meals, go for it, but this seems to be compromising the "home cooking" theme we have going here.
I can not read this thread very often, makes me WAY to hungry!
The only way to have a restaurant w/ all this stuff, all the time…. Vacume freezer bags, thaw and heat as ordered. Way to much waste otherwise. Some things might not freeze so well, but most will. Any coments?
Okay, I’m an amateur, but I want to eat at all of your restaurants.
Also interested in the regional take. A lot of this, like meatloaf and mac & cheese, I think are pretty universal. Here’s a few that I think would be pretty common comfort foods in my area.
Chowder, clam or fish (option, oyster stew)
Meatballs, on spaghetti or in a baked sub with provolone
Franks, baked beans and brown bread
Boiled dinner (corned beef, cabbage and all the trimmings)
OR Pot roast with thick brown gravy, mashed potato and boiled veggies.
Any kind of baked pasta (baked ziti, lasagna, manicotti, even American chop suey)
EVERYTHING sounds good!!!
1. Vegetable plates with Pinto Beans, Rice & Gravy, Collard Greens, Candied Yams with tomato and red onion slices on the side.
2. Meatloaf with either Brown Gravy or Tomato Gravy.
3. Club Sandwiches with potato chips in the middle of the plate.
4. Homemade Fried Chicken plate with Homemade Mashed Potatoes and Biscuits.
5. Turkey and Dressing
Okay now I am starving!!!
1: Pinto beans, collard greens and cornbread
2: Salmon patties, mashed potatoes, fried okra and white slaw
3: My (late) mama’s bread-burgers (on white bread) topped with mustard, Texas Pete, shredded cabbage and raw onions with baked bean on the side
4: Omelett with grits
5: Vegetable soup (with enough sugar added to take away the sharp acid taste)
Wow, it’s easy to see why America has such a wide variety of restaurants serving all different types of dishes. It’s all subjective and to each their own. I’ve got to tell you though that when I see people wanting just a cheese pizza, I’m amazed. I gots to have onions as a bare minimum on mine and then anything or everything. Seeing this list tells me I like way to many comfort foods which probably explains why someday if I’m not careful, I won’t see my toes anymore![:D]
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