I grew up in a suburb north of Chicago where one could find every kind of restaurant, from the noisy hustle and bustle of Andy’s Hamburgers to the elegant and music-filled atmosphere of San Pedro’s at Theatro de Lago.
My family of origin numbered seven in all, and when we were treated to a dinner out, the biggest problem was, “Where shall we go?” We’d begin to discuss it several hours ahead because no one wanted to make the decision. It might not be “The Right One.” It became a family joke for years. And to this day when even two or three of us are together, we laughingly ask one another hours ahead, “Where shall we eat?” I’m still loathe to make the ultimate decision.
When I was raising my own children, three of whom I gave birth to within six years, the major consideration when we were going out to eat was, “Which restaurant could best accommodate the children?”
I specifically remember one incident when, by myself, I took all three youngsters ages 3, 5 and 7 out for a very special holiday lunch. Each of us was dressed in our finest outfit. We went to the May Company’s beautifully decorated dining room.
As you might guess, it was a disaster. All three decided to act up at once. What one didn’t think of, the others did. I was mortified and really didn’t want anyone around us to know that it was I who was responsible for these naughty ruffians.
It took all the creative juices I could muster to come up with a solution. In my loudest speaking voice so everyone near by could hear, I said to all three, “If you children don’t behave yourselves, I’m going to tell your mother!”
They were so stunned that they didn’t know how to respond. There was total silence as they tried to figure out what I would do next. It worked and believe it or not, we finished the meal in good humor.
Now that I’m retired, when I dine out I think only of my taste buds and what I might be in the mood for — fresh fish at The Hardware Store? Stuffed portobello mushroom hors d’oeuvres at Gusto Girls? Chicken curry at the new All India Café? Hamburgers at Zoomies? Authentic gumbo at Back Bay Inn? Or Vietnamese pad thai at Green Ginger?
There are so many wonderful choices on Vashon. Now that the weather is getting warm and we can begin to dine outside, the choices are more numerous, but wherever Islanders find themselves dining out on Vashon, June 5 through 22, they can “Dine Out for the Food Bank.”
Every restaurant on Vashon will be participating in Vashon Maury Community Food Bank’s second annual “Dine Out.” On every table will be a labeled tin can with return envelopes and pencils.
To contribute to the food bank, Islanders can place cash or check inside an envelope, complete the outside and give it to the waitstaff or mail it to the food bank.
Wherever we decide to eat out and no matter how many children we have with us or what our taste buds have a hankering for, by doubling the bill’s gratuity or giving the cost of another dessert, Islanders will be helping others who don’t have the luxury of dining out.
— Sarah Church is the vice president of the Vashon Maury Community Food Bank board of directors.