Two weeks ago, I though I’d take a chance and order breakfast from The Silver Spartan. I say "take a chance" because the overall quality of the place took a nosedive after Chuck left (*SNIFF*) and I haven’t set foot in the place for a couple of months. But I was a bit desperate – plenty of cash on me but no milk or eggs at my place. When I phoned in an order for the “Twilight Zone,” I was told that was no longer available as the place was under new management! The gentleman on the other end was kind enough to rattle of the specials they did have and I ordered the one most-like TZ, noticing it was a dollar cheaper then the original.
I go to pick up my breakfast order on the way to work and the first thing I noticed about the diner was how much brighter it seemed (I’d find out why later that day - see below). I also noticed the jukebox was missing, probably a good thing as it was broken the last time I was in there. I chatted with the guys behind the counter while I waited for my order and found out the place had been under new management for three weeks (five as of this writing). I asked if they had any new menus printed up I could take to the law school library and they said they were still settling on things, but planned to have one before the freshmen came in. So I paid for my non-rancid coffee (20 oz for $1.00) and my TZ-like meal ($4.50, IIRC) and headed off for work. When my husband called me an hour later, I told him about the experience and now he wants to check it out.
George orders lunch and dines-in, so he talks with the staff more in-depth than I did. It seems they’re putting in some serious effort to turn the Spartan around. To begin with, they spent THREE DAYS scrubbing every surface in the restaurant, which would explain why it looked so much brighter than how I remembered it. And they told George that they lowered prices (hurray!!) to something more reasonable for college students. For some reason, the previous management tried to compete with "That Place," the up-scale restaurant right next door to them. Both George and the employee he was speaking with (sorry, didn’t get a name) thought this was rock stupid as these two restaurants cater to very different clientele with very different levels of "disposable income." And if they were going to "compete" with the swankier restaurant next door, it would’ve been swell if little things, such as the service and the quality of the coffee, were up to snuff.
Last week, I ordered lunch to go. I thought I’d try a fish sandwich with a side order of fries. While waiting for my order, I chatted a bit with an employee and ask about the menu and their fall hours. They still hadn’t settled on one, but they did show me a rough draft while I waited for my food. They seemed to have a decent variety of appetizers (I certainly must try the sampler basket) and I noticed the side salad was a full dollar cheaper then it was under the previous regime. I asked how late they’d be open and was told they’d try out 2:00am and see how many people actually showed up. Then my food came. WOW. You know how the fish sandwiches at Wackadoo’s are insanely large? Imagine one of those on a toasted bun. I ended up cutting off a piece that would fit on the bun, put the rest in the staff refrigerator at work and had the leftovers for dinner when I got home. And the French fries…mmm. Imagine McDonald’s French fries but nowhere near as greasy or salty. All this came to (I think) $6.50ish.
So, I’m going to keep giving the new and improved Silver Spartan my patronage. The acid test will come when fall semester begins and they have tons more people to serve, by which point they said they’ll have plenty of paper menus customers can take with them.