You know how there are places that you drive by all the time and you think to yourself, “Someday I’m going there.” The Parlor Restaurant in downtown Wooster is just such a place for me. Granted, since my 13-plus years of living in Wooster I have gone to The Parlor, but just not very often. Thanks to a co-worker, Angie Speigle, a group of us met early on a Friday morning for breakfast at The Parlor. (This is our second “quarterly” girl’s breakfast, although we somehow missed a quarter somewhere during the year.)
We agreed to meet at 7:30 a.m., but I was a few minutes early. I went in to get a table. It always amazes me how busy a place can be on an early weekday morning. But then again, working people have to eat! While I waited, I got a hot chocolate. (Alas, I didn’t take a picture!) The waitress asked if I wanted whip cream on it — which of course I did. And, boy was I glad. She brings out this cup of hot chocolate with a mound of whip cream on top. In fact I had to use a spoon to even get to the chocolate! This is a good thing. Plus, the hot chocolate itself is very, very good. Or it is if you like chocolate — which of course I do.
I perused the menu and decided that when the rest of the group got there, I would either get the special with bacon (which was two eggs, hashbrowns, toast and coffee or tea — my hot chocolate would have been the substitute) or the Working Person’s Special (which is a hot cake, egg, hashbrown and bacon). I ended up with the Working Person’s Special because I wanted to try a little bit of everything.
Once Angie, Connie (Benchoff) and Heather (Walton) arrived, we got down to business, the business of enjoying a meal in a new place with friends. Connie followed my lead (or actually she ordered first, so maybe I followed hers) and got the Working Persons Special. Heather selected the sausage gravy and biscuits with hashbrowns.
Angie opted for the ham and cheese omelet with rye toast. We all enjoyed our meals. Angie said that her omelet had quite a bit of ham in it. Heather gave her meal a “thumbs up” (she was holding her fork in her other hand or probably it would have been two thumbs). Connie and I both enjoyed the variety of what was part of our breakfast. The only thing I might have preferred is if the hotcake was on a separate plate. But then again, I’m not sure where we would have put the plates, so I guess it worked out.
Connie, the historian of the group, was able to give a little bit of background on the restaurant itself. She shared that the place is a family business. It was started by a man (Pat) whose son now runs it. Mike (the son), confirmed this when he came over to our table to see how we were doing. Mike said that his dad, who is now in his 80s, started the restaurant 63 years ago. Mike used to come into the place when he was a boy. Now ,his son comes in, along with his dad, who comes to work every day for a few hours. He’ll do that until he heads to Florida after the holidays.
Mike is obviously a hard worker, keeping everything moving along in the restaurant. He seems to have his own brand of hometown hospitality. It might seem a little abrasive, but as long as you don’t take him too seriously, you can even join in the banter.
The Parlor is the sort of place where you can count on getting a decent meal that doesn’t break the bank. I will warn you that if you want to visit The Parlor, they close at 2 p.m. every day. You can get breakfast and lunch from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. each day (except Sunday), but not any later than that.
Interestingly, I ended up back at The Parlor for breakfast the following day. My husband, Bobby, and I had just finished the Rich Delassandro 5K in Dalton (you can read about that here) and were hungry. When we were leaving Dalton, we saw our good friends, Ron and Jan Maxwell, ahead of us at the stop sign before getting onto State Route 30. Bobby called and asked if they wanted to go out with us for some sustenance. They agreed and after a little debate, we decided to meet at The Parlor.
I got another hot chocolate and this time I took a picture! It was just as good as Friday’s, although this waitress didn’t pile as much whip cream on as the one I had the day before.
Ron, Jan and I enjoyed the breakfast special with two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast. I learned that if you want strawberry jam with your toast, you have to ask for that special. I guess Smucker’s Strawberry Jam is a hot commodity in the breakfast business. Previously, if they kept the little packets on the table, they would disappear. I’m a grape jelly kind of girl, but I guess I can see the appeal. Bobby went with the Working Person’s Special. He doesn’t like eggs, but that’s a good thing, because he always gives them to me!
The restaurant reminds me of the Hard Hat which was the last place we went for our quarterly breakfast. (You can read about that here.) It is a good place for working people to get breakfast and lunch. It’s a “hometown” kind of place. It’s a place where retired guys come to hang out or construction crews meet up before heading out for work. And a place where girlfriends can meet and enjoy a little socializing before starting their day. Or newbie runners can meet up after a 5K for a little refueling.