Thanks for meeting me here tonight.
I’m really looking forward to giving you a tour of Rosi’s Restaurant. The restaurant’s location in this small Midwestern town does not help its notoriety, but what it lacks in location, Rosi the owner makes up for in character. Come along with me, let’s go in and see what’s going on tonight.
Did you hear that bell? I love the sound of the bell on the door. It reminds me of an old-fashioned café where the owner really cared about everyone who walked through the door. Of course, that’s what happens here whether you know it or not. Did you catch the delicious smells? The fragrance of rich hearty smoked pork chops, fragrant curry and warm German potato salad instantly alert my sense of smell. Ok, now I’m really hungry. Let’s grab that table in the corner.
I can tell you’re noticing the over 100 silk plants hanging from the ceiling and along the wall trellis over there. The purple pansies and yellow daises add such life and vibrant color to the place and the tiny white lights on the trellis make it look as if we are in a beer garden in Germany. Rosi’s from Germany you know. In fact, she has retained her thick German accent even after thirty years in the US. I’m amazed at how such a petite dainty woman can have such strength and stamina! I’ve seen her cook over pots that were bigger than she is. Well, are we ready to order? Here she comes!
While we are waiting for our order, let’s look around and see whose here tonight. Oh, that’s too bad. I see Emily is still here. She’s the pale young girl with the dark long hair in the corner over there. We don’t know much about her except she has nowhere else to go. One night several weeks ago Rosi found her in the gutter outside the restaurant. The girl was drunk, hungry and cold. Rosi drug her inside, gave her some food and a small cot in the back. If I know Rosi, she will let this girl stay as long as she wants to, no questions asked. (Humph.) I wonder if Emily even knows yet lucky, she is that Rosi found her?
Ah, I see Bob is back. There he is sitting at his usual table by the door. By now, Bob has spent most of his adult life in the bottle. It wasn’t always this way though. I heard he was married once with a couple kids. One night about twenty years ago, driving drunk behind the wheel while his family was in the car, Bob made a wrong turn. There was a terrible car crash. His family was lost in that car crash. Now he’s in his fifties with no job, no driver’s license and no hope. Bob drifts in every so often for a hot meal and a kind word from Rosi. In return, he mops the floors. Then he drifts away again. When he goes, Rosi packs a small basket of food for him to take on the road. She never knows when he will be back again but she always lets him know she was glad he came by. Just looking at him, you can see Bob wears the weight of the world on his shoulders. I guess no words can take that kind of pain away. Maybe that’s why Rosi doesn’t say much, she just serves up his favorite dish before he moves on again.
I see Suzi just walked in. See the tall woman by the door with blond hair. Yes, her eyes do look incredibly sad, don’t they? Maybe that’s because she just lost her husband last week. It seems he was reckless with the snowmobile and drove it through a barbwire fence. When he died, he left behind pain, an empty bank account, a stack bills and three young children. We don’t know what will happen to Suzi. You see she doesn’t have any family. Well, except Rosi. Like she does for everyone else in this place, Rosi looks after Suzi. Look, Rosi has beckoned her into the kitchen. She let’s Suzi sit in a small chair in the corner back there. Sometimes Suzi talks, sometimes she cries but she is always grateful for the delicious meal and the time with Rosi.
The food at Rosi’s is great, no doubt about it. But I guess you know by now that most of these folks come here not to get food for their belly’s but food for their soul. Five years ago, I needed that kind of food. I was a runaway and thought I’d be better off dead. I felt so cold, alone and useless. I was sure there wasn’t a soul on this earth that cared if I lived or died. That kind of feeling makes you hollow inside. So one night I decided to walk until I couldn’t walk anymore. Rosi saw me walking in the pouring rain that night and demanded I come into the restaurant. Her demeanor, almost like a bull dog intimidated me so I did as she told me. It was late and the restaurant was dark except for those tiny white lights. I immediately felt safe and warm. Then, Rosi fed my body, next she fed my soul. For months she nursed me back to health by sharing good cooking, life’s wisdom and the kind of unconditional love only Rosi can share.
Ah? I see our food is on it’s way! I’m starving. Yeah, the food here is good but the love its served with that keeps me coming back. In fact, it will always keep me coming back.
I’m really glad you came with me tonight.