As we drove into Spring Hope, the first town on our journey to the coast, we noticed its sleepiness. Divided by an abandoned railroad track, the streets were lined with thrift stores, antique shops, and one restaurant, Michael’s Showside Grill, where we decided to stop for lunch. From the outside, the Showside Grill appeared to be like any other diner. The sign out front advertised live music on the weekends and small, colorful tables were set up to encourage residents to eat outside.
Upon entering, I was immediately struck by the interesting designs on the overhead painted ceiling tiles. Each tile had a different design, some amazingly artistic, others more childlike and abstract. We sat in a traditional diner booth and began looking at the menu that offered everything from sandwiches to burgers to pasta to barbecue. As the waitress took our drink order, we asked about the ceiling tiles. When the Showside Grill first opened, they invited community members to paint a tile to be displayed in the restaurant. This clearly showed how integral they were to the community and how close-knit this town was to its local businesses.
When it came time to order, I kept it simple with a chicken sandwich topped with an onion ring and a side of fries. Classic diner food. When it arrived, very quickly, I might add, the sandwich was stacked high and looked just as good as I imagined. I had never had an onion ring in a sandwich before, but the fried crunch added an extra layer of dimension to an otherwise typical meal. The fries tasted like pure comfort and it was obvious that everything was made with care.
Though there weren’t many other people eating at the time, it was easy to see how the Showside Grill could fill up on a Friday Night. There was a bar at the far end of the restaurant, and a small stage area where local bands could come in and perform. As we finished our meal, we continued to sit at our table to chat. The relaxed and quiet atmosphere encouraged us to slow down for a bit. To sink into our chairs and just enjoy the peace of being with friends on beautiful fall day.