|Photo by Joe McGarity|
In these dark economic times, it’s still possible to take the entire family out for a meal at a nice restaurant no matter how broke the family may be. The Fantom Penguin interviewed Ann Webber, Co-owner of The Savory Spoon at her restaurant in the Hartnell Castle in Redding.
“Well, we have opened the restaurant with the goal of serving the community on one day a week, so we have a regular menu on the other days and then on Mondays we have a menu that exists just on a pay-as-you-can basis. So, we have Wednesday – Saturday lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch and then Monday is Community Day. And so that was our original plan was to try and find a way to offer food to the community that was not charged for.”
The Savory Spoon opened on Veterans Day, 2011.
“We started off feeding veterans free. That was our first day. And now we’re just getting where we’re opening on Wednesdays. We didn’t open on Wednesdays until just this week.”
“We didn’t really do a Grand Opening. We’ve opened gradually and just used Facebook primarily for advertising. A couple weeks ago, we were reviewed by the Record Searchlight and got a really good review and we got really, really busy. And then we’ve since put an ad in the Date section and we’re doing a little bit more advertising here and there. But we’re just kind of letting it evolve on its own and find its place and give us a chance to really get up to speed too.”
The Fantom Penguin took the opportunity to draw on the tablecloth with the crayons that were provided for this purpose while perusing the Community Day menu, which did not provide any pricing.
“The menu is derived from my home-cooking recipes that have been adapted and measured. I never measured anything before, so we’re measuring things now so that we have consistent recipes. So, it’s mostly comfort-style food and a lot of vegetarian foods. And our menu is not as extensive on Community Day, but it’s all of the same type of items. All of our hamburgers are available. We usually have at least one pasta, sometimes three. And we have homemade soups and if we have any other goodies left over, they’re on the menu for that day as well. We had shrimp a couple of weeks ago that I had a lot left, so everybody got shrimp. If it’s desert, everybody gets desert, whatever it might be.”
Most of the food and produce is sourced locally and organic. The chicken is free-range. Local suppliers are preferred wherever possible.
“Through providing local ingredients, I’m working towards getting people to appreciate and understand healthier foods, so that when they eat something and it’s using brown rice or wild rice or vegetables that they may not eat on a regular basis like a parsnip. If we put a parsnip into something and they find out that they like it, they may buy it next time they go to the Farmer’s Market and learn to use more healthy ingredients in their own lives.”
But aren’t they losing money by giving food away?
“Here’s what we’re finding: Throughout the rest of the week people are coming to us because they want to have some contribution to Community Day. People say to me, ‘Oh, that’s such a great thing you’re doing,’ and I tell them as they’re eating their food, ‘You’re helping us do it by coming in any day of the week and giving us the business that helps us to be able to afford to do that on Community Days.’”
The Savory Spoon is open for business:
Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 – 8:00
Sunday for brunch from 10:00 – 2:00
Community Day Monday 12:00 – 6:00