“Would you like some pie with that?” beams the wide-eyed waitress, expressing joy simply in asking the question.
They know their audience.
I noted earlier that when I saw a Village Inn located next door to my hotel I knew that was J.C. letting me know that that is where I can go to occupy myself and write my blogs instead of the hotel bar/restaurant.
I also had mentioned that I heard it was a “training center.”
In fact, it’s the corporate by God office.
Certainly, not the prettiest corporate office in the world, pictured here, nor is it in a swanky area of Denver, but it does have a restaurant attached to it. I’m sure it’s a microscope. I remember many years ago when I lived in Phoenix that the very impressive Circle K headquarters had a store in it, sort of jutting out the side of a cool but non-descript building. I remember thinking, wow, the pressure to work in the “microscope store” of a massive company.
Village Inn was founded in 1958 right here in Denver in a store located a few miles away. It’s still up and running. Today, there are more than 200 restaurants nationwide.
I got to chatting with the restaurant manager, Paula, and as small worlds would have it, she was born in Moline. She moved to Colorado many years ago as a child.
I told her that Village Inn in Moline, 1st Street, holds a very special place in my heart as every person who works there has treated me like family for many, many years. They went through the entire journey of my dad’s dementia death with me.
I explained to Paula that the Village Inn was located next to the bus stop, and how I would take the bus to dad’s memory care facility. I told her how they used to send my dad a free piece of pie now and then.
I told her how my dad’s final meal was two bites of a Village Inn coconut cream pie.
I told her how all the waitresses chipped in and bought my lunch the day my cat died.
Paula said that in fact, Village Inn 1st Street Moline is the top performing store in the nation. I am not surprised. Tim Masterson and his staff are all amazing. Absolutely every person who works there has gone out of their way to be kind to me and has seen me in all sorts of situations.
And of course, dad’s former neighbor who he adored, his dear Lisa, worked there for years. What a blessing that dad got to see Lisa literally just four or five days before he passed away. She said she was walking past St. Anthony’s and had heard he was in there and thought she would stop in. Dad already had gone mute by then but the nurses said he indeed got a kick out of her.
Of course, my Village Inn love affair goes back even further than that. We would go to Village Inn with my Aunts Enid and Mary and my mom, cousins Amber, Lisa, Cindy and Monica, sometimes more aunts, uncles and cousins, every Saturday back in the olden days of the 1970s, fun with cousins while our moms talked up a storm.
I asked Paula if the president and CEO comes into the restaurant.
“All the time,” she said.
Well, I would like to tip my hat to him or her and thank him for keeping Village Inn one of country’s best diners, hands down. It’s a pleasure to be your next door neighbor this week. I’ll be in for free pie Wednesday!