Michael’s Showside Grill Review

By Lauren Franceschini


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.


Showside Grill

By Kyle Lynch – 2014

Spring Hope is a small town with a population just over 1,000 people. On a cool, fall evening the town seemed empty, with only a few cars slowly driving through the wide streets. We drove a few blocks off the main road and pulled up to a little corner restaurant – the Showside Grill.



Situated on a corner that seemed like the end of town, the Showside Grill immediately lightened up the eerily quiet town. Outside sat a few small tables and chairs, each with a candle and a small floral centerpiece. It made the view of the abandoned rail yard across the street a little bit less intimidating.

Inside, the restaurant was nothing like I had expected. The walls were littered with old metal signs, most of them revolving around beer and witty sayings to curb whining and complaints. The middle of the restaurant held a large oval-shaped bar, covered in fake cobwebs and other Halloween decorations.

To contrast the Halloween décor on one side of the restaurant, the far corner was painted a rainforest-themed mural, with large green trees and vines painted on the wall by someone with mediocre-yet-passable art skills. Under the mural was a small stage that could probably fit three or four musicians for live music, which happens every Friday and Saturday night.

Our waitress was Anne, who was strictly business. Your water was always topped off, you got exactly what you ordered, and a quick smile. She wasn’t in your face or overly polite, but she did her job and did it well.

I ordered the B.S.T. sandwich, a restaurant specialty that adds salmon to your classic B.L.T. The food came extremely quickly and was of a much larger portion than I had expected. The piece of salmon on the sandwich was big enough to be served as its own entrée in a five-star restaurant, and was cooked to perfection, dripping juice with every bite. The kicker was the Key Lime aioli sauce that coolly complimented the grilled salmon. A few patrons came in and picked up their orders to go, a surprise amenity I did not expect the Showside Grill to have.

As I ate my meal, I quietly took in the atmosphere of the restaurant. There were only a few other tables seated, and it was clear they were locals at the Showside Grill. The table loudly told stories and laughed, often jarring back and forth with the bartender, who seemed to know them very well. Although the conversation was sometimes crass and to some possibly obnoxious, I somehow found it endearing. Usually I would be upset with rude and loud neighbors at a restaurant, but I felt as if their friendly banter added to the “local spot” atmosphere.

When we left, I was full of food and took a few minutes to sit outside and take in the “view.” The rail yard really did look nice.