Salt Fork Kitchen will struggle with the fact that it occupies space where restaurants have continuously failed since our family moved to the area 20 years ago. When one walks in the door, the experience is dejá vu, and all the work done by the new proprietors competes with memories of meals and experiences past. The bar is in the same place, the tables appear the same as the last go-around, and while the framed images on the wall are different, the look is as it has been. Strike one.
There is often a thick looking man leaning on the railing outside the main entrance smoking a cigarette. He was there Monday, day two of the restaurant, and one presumes he is affiliated with the business. There is a reason Iowa went smoke-free, and his presence and the aroma of burning tobacco in the air is not inviting. Strike two.
On the positive side, the wait staff was friendly and helpful, and my breakfast of huevos borrachos, or drunken eggs, was different and tasty. The coffee was good.
The bill was reasonable. I was the cashier’s first customer, and she handled the transaction cheerfully. Percentage-wise, I left a big tip, with hopes that next time first impressions can be set aside to take stock of what has the potential to be a great local eatery.
Salt Fork Kitchen didn’t win me over the first time, but this is a small community, and a person has to eat breakfast or lunch in town from time to time. I’ll be back, with a more balanced view of Salt Fork Kitchen.
UPDATE: 10/22/13 The Solon Economist wrote an article about the opening of Salt Fork Kitchen. Find it here.