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Local Restaurants: A Rant

Today is a “Rant and Rave” day according to my November schedule. I am pressed for time today, and not particularly inspired, so it will have to be a rant-let.

I guess something that’s been on my mind lately is the fact that, although there is another college town barely 60 miles away that has fantastic restaurants, this town can’t sustain more than three fine dining establishments, all of which are fairly casual. There are good dives of many varieties, many chain restaurants, and a few locally-owned family restauarant workhorses that serve reliably good food, but not much that approaches “fine dining.”

Although we have both an “Olive Garden” and a “Bravo” there is not a single “white tablecloth” Italian restaurant in the area. Great pizza, decent pasta, but nothing that goes too deep or gets too far from the comfortable and familiar. No osso bucco, no polenta, no roasted chicken with Rosemary; for that, one has to drive to the other college town to the south. There is a single (good) bistro serving French food, and a decent Japanese restaurant. No Spanish food (aside from the odd Tapas in otherwise non-Spanish restaurants), no upscale Mexican, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai or any fusion of the above.

It is possible to get good food in restaurants here, but it is difficult to get exciting food. It is a big day in my life if I am offered soup with an imaginative use of seasonings, and I know of only one restaurant in the area that even makes a gesture towards cooking seasonally or sourcing locally.

Maybe all my magazine, blog and foodie book reading has made me a snob. I guess I just really don’t consider a Midwestern college town with students from all over the country to be a “wasteland,” and I wish that we could support some brave, imaginative restauranteurs in this town. There are plenty of places already to get chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, cheap Chinese and the ubiquitous chicken caesar salad….


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

5 responses »

  1. i totally feel your pain. we’re doing better than that here in nashville – but it’s a far cry from nyc…

  2. Yes, Claudia, but I understand you have some awesome giant fried fish sandwiches in Nashville 🙂

  3. Hi Ann,
    I agree wholeheartedly! I complain about this same issue sometimes to people and they look at me like I am from another planet! Do they not know that there is more out there in the world than what EL offers. El Az does NOT make authentic Mexican food. There is nothing even remotely close to authentic here in the area. We either have to open our own restaurant or make due with ocassional trips to other cities.
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Hi, Dee! If I had the cash, I would open my own, authentic Italian restaurant. In the meantime, I’ll eat in Ann Arbor or Chicago whenever I can. Even Chelsea has a real restaurant! There is no justice….

  5. Are you in here Annie?
    I am leaving all these messages in hopes finding where you are.

    Peace and Cheers


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