Life In West Plains – Facebook Style
It is now my final week signed up on that one site, and there are still a few posts that I am copying over here. These are a few that dealt directly or indirectly with living here in West Plains for the past 5 years.
December 30, 2013 – Stood in line to pay taxes today and my Social Obsessive Compulsive Disorder alarms were going off so loudly I could barely contain myself. People were lining up straight out the door, no curves to allow that the line was ending at a closed door ten feet from the door we were going into. Then the only place for the line to go, because of a bench, was down a dead-end ramp blocked off by railings at the entrance. Really!? I was trying my darndest to make people line up at an angle behind me, but it wasn’t working: they insisted on keeping it straight. I even almost turned around and said, “Okay people: move to the right and let’s line up against this wall here so as not to block entrances and exits. Keep all doors free from us standing in front of them.”
June 10, 2014 – I know West Plains thrift stores, you’ve been struggling. You’ll do anything to catch my eye, because you see the writing on the wall. Even the discount store is closing down. Your sales are practically nil and you’re not sure if you’ll make it next month. But hoping to sell that one item to get you over the top won’t help; let me tell you what will: Mark Down Your Prices. Yep. Just mark things down and people might actually buy more things, and maybe even more things. You might even make some money! Yes, I don’t know your struggle. “Who are you?” you think. But trust me on this: selling something is better then selling nothing, right?
June 11, 2014 – Now, West Plains Greenhouse and Nursery is a completely different story. If you didn’t know, every Wednesday they have .15 plants for sale, and every Wednesday my dear wife sends me there to buy her plants because it’s right by my work. They were crazy busy selling plants all over the place, and you know what, people were buying more then just what was on sale. That’s the way you do it, boy!
April 15, 2014 – State of the restaurant update in West Plains – So my lovely wife and I had an opportunity for a date lunch today. With the number of restaurants in town, as well as the number I won’t enter, it is difficult to find a new one to try, even when we don’t go out much. A couple of weeks ago we walked around the square and saw in a window, “Coming Soon, Ozark Pizza & Bread.” We decided to see if they were open yet and what it would be like. As we drove past we saw through the window people eating at tables. We went around the Square to find a more convenient parking space and was reminded that Red Apple Grill has new management, and thought if OP&B doesn’t work, we’ll go to the RAG. We walked into the OP&B and it smelled lovely but the decor, or lack of it, was off-putting. There was a couple of high tables by the window, but down the side were second-hand booths that looked like they had been transferred from one of the many out-of-business restaurants around town. Nothing was on the walls, and there was just a “blah” feeling about the place. We looked at the menu board and saw that two of the three sandwiches they were selling was sold-out. One of the ones sold-out was a “Cuban”. From what I’ve seen on Food Network, a Cuban is a sandwich I’d really like to try. However, I wouldn’t get to try one today, and I’m not confident I would have enjoyed it anyway. I didn’t look much more over the menu as we decided to go, but the prices were fairly good, dependent upon the size and if there was any side items.
We hiked on over to the RAG. We walked in, saw a menu on the greeting counter, and decided to peruse it. Prices weren’t bad, and an interesting list of specialty hamburgers were listed. We decided to take a seat. We had heard the RAG was under new management and it was insisted upon us to try it and see if our opinion had changed. As we walked back, a lone worker told us to take a seat. She was taking some dudes order and as we sat down we saw her go back to the kitchen, flip a few burgers and dunk a couple basket of fries. We sat there for a few minutes and noted that nothing had changed in the decor from when we visited some four years back. You’d think under new management, if they were trying to change their reputation, that they would try and put their own stamp on the decor; something that says, “We’re not the same place!” It had the same grimy feel, the same silly Coke and Disney decor, same color scheme. The longer we sat the more we noticed that the girl was the only employee in the place. With our disappointment in the look and feel, as well as not being sure if we were going to be served in a timely manner; we decided to leave this place too.
I am not going to leave you with two negative, if uncomplete, reviews today, for there is a positive one to note, but first I must say something about the lack of effort as well as the difficulty in running a restaurant business here in West Plains. First off, if you are really wanting to succeed in the restaurant biz at all, you want to have to look like you’re putting forth some effort. Sealing up a wall and coating it with a bland color of paint is not an effort at decor that says, “Sit down, relax and try some of our fresh food that we care about.” I am sorry to say, but we first taste a restaurants efforts through our eyes on the decor as well as the smell. OP&B smelled great, but we didn’t want to put the effort in to try something we didn’t necessarily want to, because the effort on their part was not there. It is a give and take: you give us nice things to fill our periphery vision, fill our senses with tantalizing aromas and we’ll give you our money to eat there. I’ve already said what needs to be said about RAG, but also note that if new management means one person working, than good luck on that one. I suppose RAG has been a staple in the community for long enough that they will have their standard customers, but if that is all you are striving for, then I hope you enjoy your mediocrity. It seems that only a chain restaurant can only succeed in a town that likes their flavors not too extravagant, although the shutting down of Papa Murphy’s was quite a shock to me. Maybe, as a friend told me, people don’t understand the concept of taking your food home and cooking it yourself. The other place of note that has closed down is the “A La Carte”, but I found out today that the reason they left is that they didn’t garner the success they were hoping for, and not for health reasons we had thought. They offered fresh and local food albeit at a much slower pace than we’re use to, and they did run out of their favorites before we got in there at 1pm, which is our usual lunch date time. I don’t even want to mention the other places that people recommend around here, other to say, “really expensive and will just run out anyway” to “chocolate gravy? Really?” The difficulty in running a restaurant here is that it is so expensive to rent space. I’ve been told it costs as much as it does in California! Before anyone can really make a habit out of coming to your place as well as pulling customers away from a number of Buffet’s, you run out of money and have to close up shop. It’s a sad, sad situation.
The final place I want to talk about is the Almost Famous Grille, formerly Potter’s Dawg House. This restaurant has also changed hands a number of times as well as grossly expanding its menu to gargantuan limits. However, they have since trimmed it down to a reasonable size and kept to just the standards, with a few notable exceptions. I’ve been there at least four times in the past three months and I must say with each time I’ve been impressed with the tasty fare. I’ve had their ribs and brisket, but the thing I’m most impressed with is their burgers. I’ve only had the one, twice, called a “Baby Sasquatch”. It’s rather spicy, but you must note that it is the meat that makes this burger. It is Angus beef and is grilled well, very juicy and tasty. I’ve brought my coworkers there, out-of-town business associates, and friends, and they have all been impressed with the taste. I don’t know if any of this qualifies for a visit from Guy Fieri, but it is good for those of us who need to have something not from a chain restaurant. This restaurant will earn a like from me on their facebook page, if they have one, a rare thing for me to do, after I publish this note.