Dinner with the Family

The one good thing about coffee shops is that you always know what to expect—adequate food and service. Hobey’s restaurant provides both and a little bit more. The service is above par, and so is the food.

Erin and I were seated promptly at a booth in the back of the busy restaurant by the friendly hostess. She reminded us of the prime rib and baked ham specials that were advertised on a sign at the front of Hobey’s. This was a nice touch for a coffee shop. It seems the management has trained its staff well.

The bus person asked us what we wanted to drink. We decided on sodas and coffee, and she returned immediately.

Hobey’s menu is filled with traditional items usually found on coffee-shop menus. Chilled salads and burgers ($4.25-$6.75), along with numerous hot and cold sandwiches ($4.25-$6.45), are offered for lunch or dinner.

Hobey’s house specialties include honey-dipped fried chicken ($5.65), St. Louis-style pork ribs ($8.95 half rack, $12.95 full rack), and center-cut pork chops ($7.95). All entrees are served with a choice of soup or salad.

We decided to skip appetizers. Erin decided on the Western burger ($5.65), and I chose the prime rib ($9.95).

As we waited for our dinners, I fell into a trance that Hobey’s atmosphere allowed. The restaurant is decorated in a simple style. The walls are adorned with prints of the old West; images of wagon wheels, abandoned mine shafts, sunsets and Nevada landscapes make the dining experience relaxed.

Most of the tables in the restaurant were filled with families. Mothers sternly whispered at children to either be quiet or “wait till we get home” while the rowdy children climbed on the back of the booth and raced back and forth under the table. Fathers growled at their children’s insistence on disobeying their mothers. But once the food arrived, the kids calmed down, and their primary focus was on the burger and fries in front of them.

Hobey’s salads are nothing special: an iceberg-lettuce mixture with a cherry tomato. No croutons were sprinkled on the salad; instead, a cracker that was smashed with its wrapper open at one end lay on the side of the plate. The bleu cheese dressing wasn’t very good; it was watery.

The bus person kept checking on us, asking if we needed any more soda, coffee or bread. The great service we were given was greatly appreciated.

I was pleasantly surprised when my dinner arrived. I was given a thick and juicy cut of prime rib with horseradish, french fries and a bowl of sauteed squash. It looked great.

The prime rib tasted as good as it looked. Prime rib served at coffee shops is often not good. This was an exception. The cook trimmed most of the fat off the meat and prepared the prime rib just as I had ordered—medium rare. I could tell the vegetables were frozen—not fresh—so I took one bite and left the rest. For the price, my dinner was good.

Erin said she rarely orders burgers in coffee shops because the quality is usually not great—but, again, Hobey’s was the exception. She said her burger was one of the best she’d ever had.

The walls of Hobey’s were a bit dirty (and they wouldn’t let our photographer take a picture inside), but the service was great and the food was better than at most coffee shops.