Today’s Catch is coming to you from my favorite local Johnny’s Cafe. This one happens to be called RJ’s Cafe. It’s a 15-minute drive from my house, but it’s worth it — the deciding factor being the pancakes. I am always in search of the best pancakes in town and RJ’s is the closest thing to it in my area. I’m sure it’s a personal thing, but I like pancakes thin and moist. A thick, dry and “cakey” pancake is just not my cup of tea, but that seems to be more often than not what I find.
This is the kind of place where signed, framed promo pictures of stars line the hallway to the restrooms. Dorothy Hamill, Liza Minnelli, the Smothers Brothers, Crystal Gayle, John Denver, Billy Crystal, and Dolly Parton indicate this is a Boomer-fed restaurant, and piped-in 70s classic rock keeps us all happy. “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles was playing as I walked in. Crystal Gayle? I haven’t heard of her in decades, but she’ll probably be in the music mix here any minute singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue?”
My server’s name is Laura. She’s worked here for five years, and says there’s hardly ever a letup. Which says something because this place is tucked into a corner of an office complex that is definitely not going to pick up any drive by traffic. You’ve got to know about this place and a lot of people do, making it a place for regulars.
Which is the only thing I don’t liked about RJ’s; it’s too popular. I got here at 7:30 this morning and my favorite booth was open. But by about 8:15 every table will be full and when people start lining up outside I feel guilty about taking up a table, and by 8:30, Laura will add to that guilt and politely urge me on. That’s when I retreat to the local Starbucks to finish up.
Why do I like places like this so much? Aside from the pancakes, I think that’s it — it’s the regulars. People are doing business, getting together with family members, studying the Bible, meeting friends … people are being who they are. And if you have the chance to meet and chat with anybody here, it will be real. They will tell you exactly what they are thinking. There’s nothing phony about RJ’s. Just like Johnny’s. That’s why Jesus would be here, too. Of course Jesus would be at Starbucks, too. He’ll be wherever people are, even at church. It’s just that I know for a fact He really likes being at RJ’s.