We walked into Joeseppi’s north end restaurant for dinner. We weren’t greeted by Joe Stortini, which felt a little strange. Maybe he finally retired, but we missed his welcome. We headed straight to the bar instead of waiting to be seated. Adam gave us a warm welcome from the kitchen area. Adam is the grandson of one of Peg’s Soroptimists group members. We smiled, chatted briefly, and continued on into the bar.
We sat down and immediately our favorite waitress, Mary, was taking our orders. Even though it had been about nine months since we had been there, Mary remembered which card I like to pay with. After ordering, Peg and I went back to the kitchen area for a photograph with Adam. As we returned we met another patron. She had run after us with Peg’s jacket when she thought we were leaving and had left the jacket behind. When she saw us she ran back to the table to put it back on the chair. We thanked her for being so kind, but I had to ask, “Where’s the wallet?” We all laughed. This must be how it feels to live in Small Town USA. Even strangers feel like your next door neighbors.
Soon another waitress delivered our soups and bread sticks. I didn’t get her name, but enjoyed watching her. We first thought that she was a young student and part of a take-over fundraiser. Joe is very supportive of the community. Peg and I had forgotten to ask for whole wheat pasta and she said, “No problem, I’ll let the kitchen know.” Off she ran. The reason we assumed she was a student was her size. She was quite petite, maybe five feet tall and very lean. When she went back to tell the kitchen the message she stood on her tip-toes to look over the counter shelves and make eye contact with the chefs. She kept up a fast pace all the time we were there. She had a tattoo on her arm, which told me she wasn’t a student . . . or at least not a student from some of the private schools nearby. When we return, we’ll find out more.
Thursday evening is Prime Rib Night. Peg and I ordered the 12 oz. prime ribs for $20.95 with spaghetti, “au jus” and creamy horseradish. When it was delivered there was also a small bowl of shreaded Parmesan cheese, which we enjoy. Peg ordered the chicken tortellini for her soup and I ordered the Sicilian sausage. Both are favorites. They were excellent. Once the empty soup bowls were removed from the table, the prime rib was delivered. The prime rib was even better than we remembered. It came rare with a perfect crust almost all the way around the wonderful portion. We couldn’t eat it all . . . we never planned to. We had Peg’s fantastic beef stroganoff in mind for our Sunday dinner. I must compliment Joeseppi’s on the excellent meat sauce with the spaghetti. It tasted as if it had simmered for hours getting richer and deeper in taste.
We ordered cheesecake with raspberry sauce for dessert. Right after we ordered I saw our friend Jim Merritt pop his head into the bar and then continue on into the restaurant. I followed Jim to the banquet room and found him and his wife Claudia. Jim and Claudia Merritt were celebrating their son Jacob’s wedding. The rest of their guests were coming later but we talked a bit, laughed, and hugged. I wished them well and headed back to Peg.
Mary had returned to prepare our take-away prime rib packages. She does such a nice job of making people feel welcome. This was a perfect evening. Friends and friendly people . . . great food and great service.
Although Joeseppi’s always takes pride in their “tiramisu,” Peg prefers their chocolate cake, but it is always more than we can eat. We have purchased numerous pieces of the tiramisu for dessert auction donations over the years. This night the cheese cake had been our choice. We will return for more dinners and lunches. My Uncle James from Juneau always asks about Joeseppi’s when he comes to visit. It’s a great family restaurant . . . and just a nice friendly place to relax and eat good food.