So my friend, Jen, and I went yesterday to a newish eatery on Main Street. It's become fashionable to eat local food and choose locally-owned restaurants to patronize. With the economic crisis deeply affecting our Midwestern county, I am spurred to support local farmers and restauranteurs for reasons other than trendiness.
Our restaurant of choice, Mattern's, took over a storefront inhabited for generations by a ladies' clothing store called Newell's. When Mattern's moved in last year, the 1970's facade came off the front of the building and actual STAINED GLASS with the Newell's name was revealed! I ask you, what heathen made the decision to cover it up in the first place?
Mattern's advertises itself first as a butcher shop. It doubles as an old-fashioned deli. It has become popular with downtown shoppers and merchants looking for a quick lunch. There is a long, vintage cold case running the length of the building, filled with lunchmeats, cheeses and custom cuts of beef, pork, chicken and fish. They sell a few basic kitchen ustensils, spices and condiments, including a line of mustards that came in EIGHT (!) different flavors, by my count, including raspberry wasabi, horseradish and chipotle, to name a few.
The owner was working behind the counter and he seemed to know me from the three times I've visited since November. (I just love small towns!) I had in mind that I'd like a liverwurst sandwich with swiss and onion. They didn't list that meat on their sandwich menu, but they had some Braunschweiger in the cold case and were happy to use some for my sandwich. It was tasty and generously proportioned. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was toasted. I wonder if they could have toasted it for me? I didn't think to ask.
I ordered a cup of butternut squash soup as a side and it was the winner of meal. The squash was pureed silkily and included some chunky ingredients like sausage, corn and wild rice. Nom, nom, nom. I finished with a slice of homemade coconut pie, which was delicious.
I suppose I paid more here than I might have at another location, but at businesses such as these I always remind myself that we are not comparing apples to apples. Would the manager at McDonalds have known me from past visits? Would there be sweet vintage furnishings? Would Ronald aim to please me with an off-menu item? Ah, no. I considered it money well spent. Go check it out!
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