Robbie and I recently tried a new restaurant called The Hay Market. It is located in Willow Glen, which is a small suburb about ten minutes from our house. My friend Sarah recommended we try it. She explained to me that the menu changes daily, depending on what the founder/owner receives from his local grower.
There is a large window front with barn-like decorations drawing in those passing by. You enter in through a barn door and are welcomed by a friendly staff. If it's not too busy, you can choose your place at one of the long wooden "family style" tables they have set up. The hostess brought us our menus and directed us to the large chalk boards found above the tables for the hand-written version of what was available.
Robbie ordered a unique game entree and I had the vegan spring box. It was loaded with seasonal vegetables, each complimenting the other's flavor. As we were eating, the founder/owner, Joe Cirone walked around checking on each patron. His presence was not intrusive, rather it was attentive and thoughtful.
After observing my order, he asked if I was actually a vegan (which I'm not). He then assured me that the next time I visit, I should ask to speak to him personally so that we can construct a meal based on what was available in relation to my preferences. He told me that he keeps a vegan option on the menu so that vegans or vegetarians don't write off the menu from the start, but he would prefer to create a made to order meal based on his customer's preference. I was blown away. What restaurant owner and chef wants to make made to order meals for multiple patrons each night?! It was a suggestion I would never have dared ask for myself, yet it made me feel a sense of ownership and connection that usually takes multiple visits.
The atmosphere was intimate and the food was great. I have a feeling that the Hay Market is going to turn into a go-to option for Robbie and I on our nights out. If you are in the area and haven't tried it yet, I would definitely recommend going!
What are your go-to restaurants for eating out? Is there anything that makes it or breaks it for you?
(Photos: Taken for Short Story Long; Fifth photo from Hay Market)