Restaurant Theory: Moose’s Saloon vs. Glacier National Park’s Swiss Lounge

12 Jul
2012
Posted in: Food, Montana
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Moose’s is a sawdust-on-the-floor type place and it’s got me thinking about value. I mean, some restaurants just feel like they’re robbing you, like they only exist to take your money. Moose’s Saloon isn’t one of those. Yeah, the pizza crust is frozen, cookie-cutter cardboard, but the toppings are fresh and good and the thing is cooked perfectly. Something else is going on.

"Seasonal" vegetables.

“Seasonal” vegetables.

Let me take a step back. In Glacier, we celebrated our 9-month on the road anniversary. We were in the Many Glacier area and we decided to splurge a bit at the Swiss  Lounge and grab some food and a couple beers. The place just felt like it was only there to take our money. Nobody seemed to care about us having fun or enjoying ourselves. The food was a joke — cheesy soup pretending to be fondue served with “seasonal vegetables” (that’s what the menu called them), baby carrots, broccoli florets, and celery sticks. Seasonal? No — season-less vegetables. The place was a train wreck — the ordering system supposedly crashed so orders were being doubled and screwed-up and the beer tap system was broken so only cans were available. It wasn’t worth it. They didn’t really want us there. The place just wanted our money. I wish we hadn’t given it to them.

But I didn’t think much of it until Moose’s. Moose’s isn’t some pinnacle of culinary achievement, but they seem to want patrons to have a pleasurable experience. The beers are cheap but small. The pizza is fine, but it’s fun. There’s something else in play. I don’t know how to describe it but I know it when I see it. They wanted us to enjoy ourselves, wanted to make our lives a bit better.

And all this, because of NPR, is making me think about politics. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew which politicians were seeking election in hopes of making our lives better instead of just trying to win a job, make money. Man, if I can just figure this out, how to tell. I don’t care the party, just want to do a good job (within reason, Nurse Ratched), want to improve things for people, and I’ll vote for you.

And serendipity provides (via Facebook). I just saw this:

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
― Woodrow Wilson

Now THAT is what makes a good restaurant.

Frozen crust; warm atmosphere.

Frozen crust; warm atmosphere.