Posted 4 years ago
Sometime back in the last century, a few of us opened a restaurant in Seattle. It was a small, funky place in what was then a favorite part of town for winos—the tavern two doors in one direction hosted its happy hour from 8-10am, while the tavern the same distance away but in the opposite direction started their boozapalooza at 10.
We were on that street for the same reason as the drunks and the resident artists who also called this place home; the rent was super cheap and we were close to broke. Instead of ordering dinnerware from the local restaurant supply company, we scoured thrift shops for everything, including plates. Naturally, most of ours were mismatched.
Not these. We had nine of these three-compartment beauties made by Shenango China of Newcastle, PA. I loved serving food on them. If someone ordered the Chicken Joe Monroe (it's like a Kiev, except with blue cheese and I think nutmeg in the middle), you could put the main dish in the big section, the starch and veggies in the smaller ones. The plates looked really pretty as they headed to the table.
Unfortunately, the plates were a hassle to stack on anything except themselves, and the wait staff was not crazy about them because each one weighed about a ton. But those problems were not the reason we stopped using these plates. One day, a favorite customer took me aside to complain. His meal had been great, he said, and the service had been first rate, but he had been wanting to tell me for a while that he just hated these plates because they brought back really bad memories of really bad army grub served on divided, stainless steel versions of our beloved Shenangos. They were gone the next day, and have been in a cupboard ever since.