The Happiest Meal

Our first stop after vacationing at Bryce and Zion was at St. George’s Even Steven for breakfast. We had decided to forgo the typical chains with predictable menus for a local experience, and my brother-in-law Bob “yelped” a few good reviews for Even Steven. One customer had said, “come hungry, leave happy.”  We’d have something to rib Bob about if the eatery didn’t live up to our expectations. We drove into the empty parking lot and walked into the clean restaurant. An inviting play area for children or perhaps anyone stood before a wall of windows. On another wall, cartoon-like characters in a car raised two fingers up in a peace sign. Clarissa and another young woman standing behind a podium greeted us with the news that we were their first customers. They were to open up at 9 AM and it was 8:45, but it was okay. We could come in. Behind Clarissa was a large chalkboard with 5 breakfast items. We placed our orders of one sandwich and 3 breakfast “undergrad” burritos with potatoes, egg, cheese and sausage. We asked about the Yelp reviews to find out how anyone had a chance to try their food if we were the first customers. But a few had tried the food for free, and provided the good reviews.

They informed us they were a non-profit donating earnings for every sandwich sold to the food bank and 2 other organizations.  (Later I thought about how we didn’t help them with their donations the day we stopped for breakfast.) They were anxious to share information with their food. Other Even Stevens existed, some in Salt Lake City. This one was about to have media giving them some publicity.  I hoped we wouldn’t appear on TV with our mouths full of burrito, but then we were traveling, and what better way to see us than eating?

Before we could take our first bites, people with cameras began walking in. Soon people stopped by our table and asked if we were enjoying our food. Should we look happy? Hungry? Eager? No one took a picture or filmed my plate–not a surprise since I had torn the 2nd half of my burrito open so it flapped open showing the bits of potato and sausage mashed together with cheese and destroying the looks of the neat folds of the burrito.

A festive atmosphere permeated the eatery as about 50 people gathered around a man who spoke into a microphone about the new non-profit. After we finished our meal people milled around a manager who asked us if we had enjoyed our meal. We took a picture with Clarissa all of us making the peace sign. She said we didn’t need to pay! Now that’s peace. We came in hungry, and liked our good food like the person who had yelped his pleasure. And, isn’t the happiest meal the free one?

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Happiness, Peace, Food–Yes!

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