Archive for March, 2015

On Finding Happiness – Russell Williams (The Restaurant)

March 3rd, 2015 No comments

Russell Williams. Since 1932. It’s a local and popular breakfast establishment that’s been serving food from morning until night for close to a century. It’s located in the community of Aldershot in the province of Ontario in the country of Canada.

I think people go there for the eggs. The eggs are excellent, especially if you’re ordering them over-easy. Mostly though, I think people go there for the atmosphere; bustling and quaint with lots of activity and chatter happening. There’s always a freshly brewed pot of coffee and it’s not unusual to order a chocolate milkshake with breakfast. The chocolate milkshakes are thick and creamy, rich to the heart’s delight.

But what has made this establishment so successful for so many years? Is it the greasy smell they’re wafting into the air for miles? People just naturally flock to the smell of grease and indulge their appetites to their heart’s delight? Or is it the waitresses and the waiting services? Always polite and fast never mixing up any of your orders? What magical formula have they formulated to inspire such loyal and happy customers?

I really think it’s the food. Without a doubt, it’s greasy. It’s not that the bacon arrives on your plate dripping with grease but it isn’t exactly patted dry with paper towels either. The eggs aren’t slimy which is great yet they do arrive on your plate with a touch of butter; that is the eggs have enjoyed a light bath in butter before they arrive on your plate. Plus, the toast isn’t skimpy on the butter either. The toast isn’t drenched in butter but the bread isn’t dry. If you order breakfast sausage they are arriving on your plate in a somewhat greasy fashion. It cannot be questioned, people go to Russell Williams for the food.

Also, the service is second to none. Waitresses are always carrying coffee pot in hand ready to freshen your cup of coffee at a moment’s notice ensuring that your cup of coffee never becomes cold. Their pen’s for writing is always stuck in the back of their hair. Typically an excellent sign that the service is fantastic. I don’t know why but the “pen is the back of the hair” always tends to be an indicator of high quality service and high quality food. The waitresses walk with an heir about them. A swagger if you ask me. And they swagger around rightfully so. As stated above, orders are rarely mixed up and taken with a smile in the absence of any traces of indignation. Each waitress proudly marches to the back and drops off the respective order to the line cooks and before you know it breakfast is at your table piping hot and ready to enjoy!

There’s also the issue of location. Russell Williams is situated right on the city border of Hamilton, Ontario and Burlington, Ontario. The main intersection is Plains Rd. East and Waterdown Rd., right across the street from a Royal Bank of Canada where you can go get your money to pay for this wonderful dining experience. The location is excellent. It welcomes crowds from both the city of Hamilton and the city of Burlington plus neighboring communities that have heard it’s a top notch “greasy spoon”. Really, people come from all over to delight in the wonderful breakfast dining experience that leaves bellies full with accompanying glowing smiles. There are those few that just go there to eat and leave with a sneer on their face but these types of people are few and far between and most often do not dine there.

It seems to get busier and busier there as the morning hours press on. The later the morning hour, the more people tend to be there. Perhaps many of the diners are arriving there hung-over and looking for tasty food to soak up all the alcohol that was consumed the night (early morning) previous.

I’m sure there are innumerable reasons that people are arriving there later and later and it may have to do with busyness. Maybe the early morning hours attract the most traffic and biggest crowds and so the younger crowds tend to show up later to avoid them. Or perhaps the more senior crowds enjoy dining in the earlier hours of the morning and so naturally show up at the corresponding times. Certainly there have to be some demographics involved and certain percentages of people show up at certain percentages of the time. I’m not going to bore you with the statistical breakdown of it all because I haven’t invested the necessary time to give it to you. Let’s just say that the more senior crowds show up there during the earlier hours of the morning and the younger crowds tend to show up later.

Nevertheless, the location is excellent being on the border of the 2 cities and people show up for the breakfast from all over. It is a renowned and embraced greasy spoon that has gained remarkable popularity throughout the years.

What other factors may contribute to Russell Williams being a winning and popular breakfast eatery? It’s hard to tell. It could just be excellent word of mouth and perfect and quaint location, conveniently adjacent from the popular strip club – Solid Gold. But mostly I think it’s the food. People just keep on coming back for it to feed and fill their ravenous bellies. Let us not discount the service either, the pens are stuck in the back of the waitress’s hair and they take your orders promptly without a smidge of scorn.

Hands down, it’s a historical breakfast establishment to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly. People have been going there for years and years and will continue to go there for years and years to come. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne

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