I have a neighborhood haunt I frequent at least three times a week called Ally’s Comfort Cafe. It is a small, diner looking establishment that serves, as the name says, comfort food. The hostess of the place is Judy (Ally’s mom) and the Cook (she will tell you over and over again that she is not a Chef) is Ally. On weekends we see Ally’s husband, Julio, running around the place making sure the customers are happy. There are also a number of food servers who have become quick acquaintances as well. I guess that once you know someone eats their pancakes with sugar-free syrup or all sandwiches are minus mayo, you build a solid relationship.
If you love breakfast, you are going to love Ally’s fare for the morning crowd. Her food is hot, comforting and delicious and if I had ever had a jewish grandmother, I’m sure her food would have tasted just as good. The same goes for lunch and the occasional dinner that Ally hosts (her fried chicken and glazed carrots are insane!). Yes, I recommend Ally’s to anyone who happens to be in my neighborhood or wants to take a drive for a quick bite of heaven. If you look at my post about The Hot Dog, you will get all the info about this place. But this is not the reason for my post.
Ally has now received four anonymous letters telling her how bad her food is and how her prices on ‘Specials’ are less than special. They have accused her of not knowing what a ‘Special’ menu item is and that her food is salty and greasy. They have gone on to further say that they will patronize other food establishments in the area before they visit Ally’s one more time. These letters have been mailed through the U.S. postal service, are typed and do not have any return address. In short, they resemble ransom notes from a kidnapper and have the same tone. Can you imagine the energy it takes to do this? (Comparable to the energy it is taking to write this post, but my intentions are more noble.)
I encouraged Ally to post them on her window so her ‘regulars’ could see but Ally is less confrontational than me so she just let it go. But if you know anything about Ally you know that she takes great pride in the product she is putting forth – she is always looking for feedback on new dishes, changes to the old, etc. Ally believes in customer service which is a long forgotten art. Couple her work ethic with her innate talent to create spectacular food and you have someone who is not deserving of another’s malicious words. (Enough so that I feel the need to counteract the action by dedicating an entire post to my friends at Ally’s Comfort Cafe.)
I cook, my wife cooks, we entertain and people tend to enjoy our food. Leftovers are not a staple at my house (unless I’ve cooked for fifty) for doggie bags are ever-present. I know when someone cooks well and uses fresh ingredients in their food so I guess that Ally is right in ignoring these detractors of her place. She doesn’t need to defend herself against these nasty letters. In fact, as we speak, a booth or table just became open at Ally’s because some fool decided they’d rather type an anonymous letter than eat a Potato Pancake. Me, on the other hand, I’m writing this as I gulp down a plate of French Toast. And, to the anonymous letter writer: I’m sitting in what could have been your spot. Eat your heart out (I’m sure it’s on the Special’s board somewhere!).