"Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you got
Taking a break from all your worries
It sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
The troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name
You want to go where people know
The people are all the same
You want to go where everybody knows your name"
Those are the lyrics to the Theme song from Cheers. And well, Flapjacks isn't Cheers. It's not a bar, though they do have a liquor license. And Sam doesn't own the place, but Jeff does and he is a terrific guy. Diane and Karla aren't taking care of you but Rusty and Jess do and they do it very well. And we aren't Norm or Cliff or Fraser showing up every day, but we are Tim and Sam and we generally show up once a week. Usually on Sunday morning.
When we first moved here, we checked out a lot of breakfast places. We enjoy having breakfast out one day of the weekend. Almost every place we tried, we liked. The people were nice, the food was fine, the prices were reasonable. But we found ourselves, every weekend, trying a new place. I don't think there was any deep dark plan involved, it was just, "let's try this place' and so we did.
Some of them, like Perkins and Bob Evans, are, in fact, very good. But too big, too many people, and a little impersonal. They are large chain restaurants and as such, they have this whole restauranting thing down cold. They know what they are doing and they do it well. But, probably because they are chains, it's get in, feed them, get out. We were looking for a place that felt more homey. Which is kind of silly. If we want something that feels homey, maybe we should eat at home?
Then we tried a lot of much smaller places, some of them right here on the island and all of them were good. Every single one of them was very good. Good service, good food, good prices, no complaints. But the fact that every weekend we wandered off to try another place subconsiously told us that we had not yet found "our place. We didn't even know that we were looking for an "our place" at the time.
Then one weekend morning, we stumbled across Flapjacks. We liked the ambience instantly. A small cozy comfy place with calm and happy colours and a fresh flower in a tiny vase on every table. Awwww. They have a varied menu and specials every week. The food was excellent, the service was great and the staff had the perfect personalities. We found ourselves going there again the next week. We ordered different food which was also excellent. Same great everything else. Hmm. Maybe this something that we didn't realize we were looking for.....maybe this was "our place".
I believe it was the third time that we went, without asking what we wanted to drink, the correct drinks order (coffee for Tim, hot water for me) showed up on our table with our menus. Yup, Sold! This is our place. We have such a great relationship with this place that Tim has even given it a nickname, "Flappy's". Anytime we have guests staying with us, we manage to find our way there at least once. Our guests always love it too.
The owner and the servers always chat with us for a bit every time we come in. It's like visiting friends every week for an hour or so. We love that. Tim almost always orders the same thing. Jess brings Tim his coffee, looks at him with a smile and asks, "The usual"? He almost always nods yes. "Links or patties"? she asks. "Surprise me" he says. She laughs. The surprise might be a fruit cup. He likes that just fine too. I tend to change my order from week to week. There are far too many awesome choices on that menu!!
We have eaten lunch there a time or two as well and their lunches are at least as awesome as their breakfasts. But it's harder for us to get away for lunch. For us, Flapjacks is mostly a breakfast place. Our breakfast place. And in fact, if it's really busy and there are no tables open, it's one of the few places where we are willing to wait for a table. Yup, it's that good.
And it's not far from home. It's off island, but not far off. Just a few blocks off the Venice avenue bridge. I could probably walk there, though I never have. I should make that a mission. In cooler weather it might be fun to make Flapjacks a walking destination. For lunch maybe.
In our life together, Tim and I have eaten out probably far too many times. And there were a lot of places we enjoyed and kept returning to, Texas de Brazil in Colorado comes to mind. Some of the waitstaff there came to know us after awhile and we felt quite at home. But that was a dressier, fancier (and therefore more expensive) place. Not a weekly visit kind of thing. We had never had "our place" before and while we had no idea really that we wanted one, I love that we now do.
Tim's late father and stepmother had a place that they ate at often. Usually several times a week. It was just down the hill from their home and had a gorgeous view of the ocean. I don't recall the name but there were murals of giant parrots so maybe the word Parrot is in the restaurant name? At any rate, the staff there made my in-laws and therefore anyone they brought with them, feel as if they were cherished guests, family almost. It was a new experience for me the first time we went with them, but I liked it right away. The relationship between guest and host. A novelty. I guess I didn't know that was even a possibility until then. I mean, after all, Cheers was just a TV show right? Not like real life, right?. Except maybe it was, just a little bit.
I think in the back of our minds, maybe Tim and I always wanted that sort of feeling too. It was just a matter of finding it. And we have.
If you ever visit us, expect to visit Flapjacks. And if you are a local and haven't yet been? It's time. Maybe Flapjacks could be "your place" too.
P.S. I've been meaning to write this blogpost about Flapjacks for months. Every week I intend to take photos of the food but it's so darned good that I fall on my meal like a starving hyena instead waiting the ten seconds it would require to take a photo. Every single Sunday after I've stuffed my face I say, "Ratz, I forgot to take the photos again! Next week I will remember to take the pictures first and then I can blog about this place." And every week I don't. So here it is, without photos of the amazing food. You just have to show up in person and try it yourself. I promise you will not regret it.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.