True stories with a twist!


Some people enjoy going to the same place over and over: the joys of being greeted by familiar staff, the comfort of knowing that the food is good and won’t make you sick, and the feeling of being at home in a familiar spot.

Others enjoy trying new places; new adventures, new discoveries and new preparations of familiar dishes.Unknown-1.jpeg

The problem comes when those two opposite types are married to each other!

“Oh no: not that place again again; we were just there!. Let’s try the new one that just opened in Mendham last week.”

My victory. Of sorts. Yes, I won the argument about where to go for dinner, but lost the one about discovering a new favorite restaurant.

We found parking right across the street from the New Place ( names protected to save embarrassment!). It looked clean. It looked well lit . It looked practically empty. 

The almost empty factor was because this new restaurant had the only three tables! No wonder when people called for reservations they were told that there were none available.

If MacDonald’s never had a table available, word might get around that MacDonald’s was a desirable, hard-to get into restaurant, so popular that it rarely had a free table. “That must be quite a special place,” people would think, and keep trying to get reservations.

When we called it was early and we were able to reserve a table, but when we were seated we heard the phone ring several times and the caller being told, “Sorry, but we have no openings tonight!” Word had gotten around that there was a new restaurant in Mendham. Exciting news in peaceful, bucolic Mendham!

This was a family affair. The waitress told us that “My Dad owns the restaurant, my mom cooks the food, and my sister and I wait tables.” 

How charming; home-cooked dinners with loving family members involved in the success of this restaurant. 

But then an uncomfortable memory appeared in my mind from many years ago, and the question “Does “home made” always mean “wonderful?” re-emerged.

One of the funniest memories I have was the one of my husband’s and my reunion with his brother-at their parents’ house in Passaic, New Jersey. We were both visiting from different places where we had settled. Brother In Law from Massachusetts and we from Baltimore. Mother-In-Law said,”I’ll make dinner for you tonight,” and spontaneously, without planning it, the three of us screeched out in a high pitched, panicky choir, as if our lives were on the line,“NO!” 

So here we were, years later, seated at one of the three tables, waited on by one of the two sister wait staff. 

I could never be a restaurant reviewer, because I would hesitate to make negative comments about  someone’s hard working, family venture. But when friends ask what we thought of the new restaurant, I will recall the advice of Thumper the rabbit in Walt Disney’s “Bambi” film. Thumper said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

And so I remain silent.

Comments on: "A NEW ITALIAN RESTAURANT" (20)

  1. When you are Italian and were fed from the kitchens of grandparents no Italian restaurants ever really measure up. I remember we took my mother’s mother out and asking her how she liked the meal. She replied not so good but ate it so the restaurant people would not feel bad. Sweet lady, eh ?

  2. Shame, but least said soonest mended is another well known phrase, so Silence is Golden.. 🙂
    Love Italian Food and dining .. 🙂

    Have a wonderful New Year Ronnie, may it be filled with more fine dinning places lol and lots of love and happiness, peace and joy..

    Have a wonderful 2020… ❤
    love and blessings

  3. The only “new” Italian restaurants are the ones that you haven’t been to yet 🍜🍝🍽🎶

  4. My husband and I probably belong to both types; we like the comfort of a well-known place, but we also like discovering new ones.
    Happy New Year to you and yours, dear Ronnie!

  5. I’ve had similar experiences, and it’s always awkward for me. As you describe for yourself, I really want people to succeed. I don’t even really want to be honest when asked, but that’s not right either. LOL! I love the story about your mother-in-law’s cooking and the family reaction. I hope she wasn’t too unnerved by the response. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Debra. I understand how you feel, but if a friend asks for my opinion about a restaurant I will be truthful. I won’t go out of my way to denigrate a restaurant but will be honest if I am asked. My mother-in-law was a wonderful baker, but terrible cook. I think she knew that and knew where her strengths were. BTW, her mother lived with the family and did all the cooking while my M.I.L worked as an elementary school teacher.

  6. For about thirty five years, on average once a week, I attended my favourite “Akash” restaurant in London’s Edgware Road. For the last fifteen I never needed to place an order

  7. You were very kind to resort to Thumper’s advice. I’ll go just about anywhere but tend to not try anything too unusual on the menu.

  8. One of my familiar places closed last week unexpectedly. It was a sad moment for my family.

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