MASSENA Bathroom tile from the 1950s on the floor? Green carpet on the walls?
If a friend hadnt told me how good the food was at Guys Restaurant, I probably would have turn around and walked out.
The tile has obviously been there for years. And Im told they actually change the floor-to-ceiling carpet every decade or so. Most of the waitresses have been at Guys longer than the most recent carpet change.
But its all good. The locals probably dont even see the tile or the carpet anymore. They go there for the great food. And the friendly service.
Guys has operated by the Lashomb family continuously for 82 years. Mark Lashomb is the current owner. His father, Leo ran the restaurant before him and his grandfather, Guy, was the founder.
I stopped by for lunch with a friend who frequents Guys often, and he didnt steer me wrong. We grabbed a booth by a window, but there were plenty of open tables for larger parties.
The ownership is multigenerational; the recipes reflect tried-and-true American cuisinesimple, well-prepared food like you remember eating at Grandmas house.
The menu is chock full of fresh, homemade, unadulterated food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch, there were three or four soups to choose from, literally dozens of hot and cold sandwiches as well as appetizers, salads and desserts.
Soups tell a lot about a restaurant. We started with two, both homemade: tomato hamburger macaroni soup and cabbage soup. From the first spoonful, I knew we were in for an outstanding food experience.
The hamburger soup had a hearty, beefy stock and perfect seasonings. And it didnt just taste like ground beef it tasted like hamburger! They actually made a hamburger, grilled it, and broke it into bite-sized chunks.
The cabbage soup was packed with flavor, a delicious chicken stock loaded with celery, carrots, green beans, a bit of tomato and lots of perfectly cooked cabbage.
It was a beautiful springlike day, the kind of day that conjures up thoughts of backyard picnics. Homemade coleslaw and macaroni salad seemed appropriate, and as we ordered those our waitress said theyd just made a fresh batch of potato salad that morning.
Bring em on!
The coleslaw was delightful, the perfect combination of ingredients: crisp cabbage, shredded carrot, celery seed, mayo, a slight hint of sugar. And was that a touch of horseradish in there?
The potato salad had great old-fashioned taste. The potatoes were chopped very small but still had character. Finely diced celery and carrot gave it a bit of a crunch. A good amount of egg simply helped make the rich mayonnaise base even richer, and the subtle taste of mustard give it an added zing.
But the macaroni salad stole the show. Everything was absolutely right: the creamy consistency of the mayo cradled the al dente macaroni noodles. Bits of carrot added color and texture, and a healthy dose of black pepper gave it a distinct personality. This is a side dish that could stand alone as a main event.
We were able to sample only two sandwiches, and they were excellent.
The Reuben was made with top quality rye breadthe flavor of caraway seeds unmistakable complementing the lean shaved corned beef, zesty sauerkraut and melted Swiss. Thousand Island dressing, usually incorporated with the other ingredients, was served in a packet on the side (Kens brandgood choice).
It was skillfully grilled and could stand alone without the dressing if youre counting calories, but heywhats a Reuben without the T.I. dressing?
Im fussy about chicken salad. Its got to be made with breast meat, its got to have good quality mayo and it should have diced celery. No pickle relish!
Guys chicken salad sandwich was right on the money I couldnt have made the chicken salad better myselfdressed up with a leaf of iceberg lettuce and a thin slice of tomato between slices of homemade wheat bread. I was in heaven.
By this time, our table was littered with half-finished cups of soup, half eaten salads and unfinished sandwiches. Not our waitresss fault. We just wanted to try as many things as possible.
Did we need dessert? No, but duty called.
Their apple crisp was mouth-wateringly delicious. Perfectly cooked apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg and vanilla, a flaky crust and fluffy, sugary oatmeal topping made this dessert a standout. Without a doubt, the best apple crisp I have had to date, reported my eating associate.
Lemon piejust one of a long list of pies made right at Guyswas simple and effective. A flaky, homemade crust was filled with lemon custard. I sort of expected meringue topping, but nojust bright yellow goodness in a crust (even thought our waitress offered to make it a la mode or finish it with some whipped topping).
Lunch for two cost $34.80 before tip. We ended up taking a little of everything home, since we ordered way more than two normal people should consume for a midday meal.
Now I know why Guys Restaurant has been around for over three-quarters of a century. The place isnt glitzy by any means, but the food is outstanding. The waitresses have been there for many years and seem to know everyone who came through the door, addressing most customers by their first names.
We noticed some interesting eats on the dinner menu: cabbage rolls, chicken and biscuits, roast fresh pork, roast turkey, center cut pork chops, baked Sicilian meatloaf, liver and onions well be back.
Guys is open seven days a week: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Its just off Route 37 on Highland Road, less than a mile from the St. Lawrence Centre mall. In the time it would take you to walk from one end of the mall to the food court, you could hop in your car and enjoy the great home cooking at Guys Restaurant.
Note: As we go to press, we learn that after 82 years of operation, Guys Restaurant is for sale.Signs were posted in front of the building early last week.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 Highland Road
Under continuous family ownership for 82 years. The recipes reflect tried-and-true American cuisinesimple, well-prepared food like you remember eating at Grandmas house.
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday
6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday