Mrs. Wayne Dale is on one of her bare-it-all vacations again. She said she was going to pack up her string bikini and her 'thong' and head for the sunny South to put a finishing touch on her tan for the winter. She was going to duct tape the tanned places on her tubby hubby Wayne's body to let the white places get brown. She didn't want him to look blotched like he did when he came home from vacation last time. Wayne said he wasn't into nude sun bathing but he didn't hold anything against any of the good looking girls that did. In fact he said he has a T-shirt that says, "I'll rub suntan lotion on your body for food." We hope he never wears it around a muscle beach.
We asked Bertha what restaurant she wanted us to visit for this issue and she said that she had wanted to go to Rich's Café but could never get inside because of the crowd. She said they even had a hard time finding a place to park. I asked her why she didn't just walk there and leave the car at home. She said if she couldn't arrive in style then why go? Go figure!
Anyway, the staff (Bob, Rob, Cindy, and I) drew forks and I got the short one. So like Mrs. Wayne Dale might put it, "Ooooooohhhhh I just have to tell you . . . " She was right; it was difficult finding a place to park. My wife Joanne and I had to drive in and out of the parking lot three times before we found a car that was pulling out and grabbed their space. We had just come from our neighbor Bill Bloch's Funeral at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church and were all dressed up. So, we decided to go ahead and give Rich's Café a try since I lost the draw to write this column and I did promise Joanne that we would get all dressed up and go out to eat sometime.
We could hardly believe that there would be that many people wanting to eat in a 'new' restaurant. Usually a restaurant has a long start-up period to get established in the area. Apparently Rich's Café is well known around Fort Wayne. We found that he has three other restaurants also called Rich's Café. We parked and went inside to wait our turn to be seated. It took about 10 minutes for the girl to seat us at a table.
It was around noon so we ordered lunch. I ordered the Hungarian Goulash and Joanne ordered the Taco Salad. We both ordered a large water and black coffee. We were amazed at the size of the proportions of food. And the food was delicious. My goulash was exactly like my mother used to make and I have never found anyone around Fort Wayne that makes it like she did until now. I think the cook must be from West Virginia where everyone prepares it that way. It was just plain delicious. The salad that I ordered was nice and crisp and the dressing was very good.
Joanne's Taco Salad was served in the largest edible Taco Shell Bowl I have ever seen. Joanne made the statement that it was big enough to wear as a hat. I agreed. She liked the Taco Salad and said that it was loaded with meat and was very good but she couldn't quite eat it all; there was so much. We left a nice tip. The waitress kept coming around and asking if everything was alright and she kept our coffee cups filled.
Saturday morning we got ourselves around and went back to Rich's for breakfast. Although we got there at 10am we could not find a parking space on their lot. We drove around to the back and parked a good distance behind the restaurant. The walk only whetted our appetite that much more. On the way in I counted 54 parked cars with several others driving in and out of the lot looking for someone to leave.
Again we waited in line to be seated. A cute waitress named Jama pointed out a table for two, back in a corner across from the counter and asked if that would be alright. We sat down and looked at the menu. I ordered two eggs over easy, American fries, Jimmy Dean sausage, rye toast, and black coffee. Joanne ordered the vegetable omelet with American fries, wheat toast, and black coffee. Our meals were very good. Jama kept our cups filled and the coffee was delicious.
NOW FOR THE CONCLUSION:
To the public: If you want good food, large portions, quick, friendly service, reasonable prices, and lots of great coffee, then go to Rich's Café. But remember, you are limited to the hours Rich's Café is open; they are only open from 5am to 2pm. Oh and they have a smoking room with doors.
To Rich: I think you could use a bigger parking lot, and a larger restaurant. Why don't you use the second story of the building as an overflow dining room and send the orders up by dumb waiter? I believe your restaurant took too long in coming to Waynedale, Indiana but, WELCOME! As far as I'm concerned you get a whole 100 forks of approval and I'll throw in a couple of spoons to stir all that delicious coffee with.
Note: Our Associate Editor was picked to visit Rich's Café not because he lost (won) the 'rigged' short fork draw, but because he had never eaten in any of the Rich's Cafes in the area (the rest of the staff is familiar with the good service and great food that Rich's Café puts out). Ray also spent his own (actually his wife's) money for their meals and he gives an honest opinion. Ray is a self proclaimed Dutch oven chef and teaches cooking to Boy Scouts so he knows good food when he tastes it.