Home cookin’ and real hospitality
It has been a long day, so we pull off the road at Sherry’s Stage Stop and Saloon in Yerington. A stylish, elegant Christmas tree, covered in blue mini-lights, greets us as we walk through the door. Soft Christmas music is playing, and miniature poinsettia arrangements are on each of the six to eight tables. Stands of white mini-lights strung around the room complete the picture. Pretty and petite, Sherry gives us her winsome smile. “Pick a spot, ‘um how about over there?”, she says.
During the two-hour drive from Reno to Yerington, I have been fantasizing about a hamburger at Sherry’s. We had Chinese food for lunch, and a burger will be just right for dinner. At Sherry’s you can order a $6.99 hamburger or a lobster dinner, and both Sherry and Coy (her chef-husband), will treat you the same. They want to serve you exactly what you want, whether it’s a burger or a lobster with prime rib on the side.
“What’ll you have?” Sherry asks. And that’s when every detail of the meal goes under her magnifying glass. Sherry doesn’t claim to be a mind reader, so it’s up to us to spell out, in detail, what we would like to eat. (Orllyene is both lactose and gluten intolerant, and gratefully, Sherry already has this information in her memory bank.)
Our orders arrive a few minutes later. Coy’s work is done, but he still checks with us to see if we are happy. The Black Angus beef paddy is substantial in size (and grilled, not fried), along with all of the trimmings: a slice of tomato, red onion, and crisp romaine lettuce. A heaping pile of hot, crisp French fries fills the plate. Grabbing a small container of mayonnaise and squirt bottles of mustard and catsup, I assemble my treasured burger. The moment arrives and my satisfaction is complete. Genuine hospitality and home cooking have triumphed over road fatigue once again.
I ponder Sherry and Coy’s ability to present top quality food and a warm and friendly environment so easily. It’s my guess that their lives (as a duo), in show business, have something to do with it.
Nearby is a workman from the newly opened mine. He has a gigantic hamburger jammed into his baseball glove-sized hand. It has several meat patties, cheese, onion rings, and other mystery ingredients, and is at least six inches high! He has been working outside in the cold all day and is obviously famished. “I take hold of this big fella and don’t let go until I’m finished,” he tells us in our brief conversation.
When Sherry drops by to see how our dinner is going, I ask, “Well, how many dinners did you serve on Thanksgiving?” She replies, “One hundred twenty-five. We were supposed to serve 145, but a party of 20 couldn’t get over the pass.” What did you do with all of the extra turkey?” I ask. “We made soup,” she says, giving me a sly, friendly smile.
Orllyene and I leave the restaurant and drive the few remaining miles home to Smith Valley. With full tummies and renewed spirits, life is good – just the way it should be.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all from Orllyene and me!
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org