Cooky Cat Dinnerware
Cooky Cat Dinnerware
(This Cat Integrates and Synergizes!)

Who doesn't have a fantasy of owning a restaurant. Owning, as opposed to running the thing on a day to day basis. The former is the dream. The latter, as in the reality, is a grind by any measure and is best left to those steeped in working in food service since day one or those who simply MUST do their own thang. We'll leave the whole matter in the realm of fantasy.

Our friend David Wronski imagines a "Dave's Chuck Wagon" some day. We are thinking our place would be "Cooky Cat's." It's sort of like, "Joe's" or "Tom's Lunch." Simple and direct. No marketing spin. The name says it all. OK, maybe not now, but Lawrence Welk didn't start out as a big name either. Give it time. You can say you knew Cooky Cat, when.

Naming a fantasy restaurant is our favorite sport. But, we are totally turned off by any restaurant name with the word "Cuisine" in it. "All You Can Eat" probably tops the won't-ever-go-in-there list. Or, "Ristorante." OK, we get it, it's upscale Itralian. Or, is it? It just as easily could be merely a set of letters outside on the awning, and the guys in the kitchen are wage slaves grinding it out from some written recipe instructions. Or, any restaurant with some cutsey-poo or concocted name that is supposed to conjure dramatic nostalgic associations. Like, "Mother's Kitchen." We wouldn't name the place that unless there was a real mother cooking the kitchen; and, we don't mean some gravel gurdy who happens to be a mother so it passes on "legal" grounds. As in, "Hey, you call this mother's cooking?" "Well, sir, it was cooked by a mother." There are mothers and there are mothers.

Buffalo China, (Working People Series, 1976-1987) by Milton Rogovin (1909-)

That was a small diversionary rant. This is really about plates, folks. You know those china plates you can still see at some die-hard diners? Heavy (as in HEAVY DUTY) thick tableware designed for years of service and tough enough to take rough handling. The kind of plates that when you warm them they stay warm. You know, bone white with a thin color stripe in blue, green, or red; or beige (you say "beige", we say "ecru") with a chocolate brown stripe. Also, sometimes customized with the restaurant's name or with a proprietary logo. Made in the U.S.A. by such names as Shenango and Buffalo. One look at that stuff and you get a sense of what "Made in America" really means: sturdy, direct, funtional, lasting. At least, that's what it used to mean.

Cooky Cat has his own thoughts about what his tableware for his dream restaurant would look like. Now don't let's all get worked up and start sending requests the way you did for that other thing. It's just for the restaurant, so you would have to steal some to get your own. But, it's just a fantasy, remember, so wake up and smell the coffee.

Maybe a nice piece of sour cherry pie with a lattice crust served on any one (it'll be a surprise after you've finished the pie) of Cooky Cat's exclusive designs.

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