Every town has an iconic restaurant, bar, music venue or some other memorable hangout. The city I grew up in had more than one. One of my favorites was the original Ruth’s; up Emigraton Canyon. Ruth held forth in an old train car and like many women today – Ruth showed her guns every day. No matter how cold or blustery the weather, Ruth would stand behind the counter in a flowery sundress. Ruth would grill you a hamburger in an electric frying pan and serve it up on round Wonder Bread. Ruth was never shy in expressing her opinion regarding your opinion, dress or manners.
If you needed a 24 hour joint then Bill and Nada’s was just the ticket. Specials on the menu included “Brains and Eggs” and the always popular “Pan Fried Rabbit”. By the time I started to go to Bill and Nada’s, Nada was already gone and Bill was a frisky widower. There was one waitress who had worked there for a very long time. We used to joke that she and Bill had something going on. The story goes that one night the waitress’s husband came into Bill and Nada’s and shot Bill seven times. Of course, Bill lived to tell the tale. Bill always served Del Monte Catsup made with pineapple vinegar and you could get anything in a paper bag to-go.
Bill and Nada’s is long gone now, Ruth’s has been gentrified and enlarged, Snappy Service no longer sits on Social Hall Avenue but many of the hidden gems do exist. Try to search one out for yourself and experience the joy of a varied and surprising menu and the unique personalities behind the marquee.