Monday, July 24, 2006

BaCar's Nomads

Once upon a time, there was a restaurant in Juneau called BaCar's (pronounced bakers, and named for the cook, Barry [who baked all the bread in the place], and his wife, Carlene). It was enchanted. The food was wonderful. I mean wonderful. The service was superb. The price was, for Alaska, reasonable. The Saturday Morning Breakfast Club ate there for over a decade. So did many, many other people. Saturday breakfast at BaCar's was a tradition, and not just for people who lived downtown.

And then, oh then, they closed. Barry and Carlene had other things to do with their lives, and they left town and did them.

And the BaCar's Nomads have been stumbling around Juneau ever since, trying to find a regular place to have breakfast. Not as easy as one would imagine. There is one good place, but it only seats eight! (And Saturday breakfast at BaCar's seated 100 and more waiting.) There was the place we tried where they barely deigned to wait on us. (I'm sorry, if you don't want to make coffee or cook food at 8 a.m., perhaps you need to not open and act like you do?) There was the place with the undercooked waffles. The place with the overcooked eggs. Then, some of the BaCar's staff went to a new restaurant and we flocked there, only to discover that the prices were too high, the cook wasn't allowed to use as good or as many ingredients as he had before, the oatmeal was undercooked, and someone thought that the way to serve biscuits and gravy was with overcooked biscuits (think hockey puck here) that hadn't been opened, so that the gravy didn't penetrate.

Finally, last Saturday we tried a brand new place that was the worst of all. We were seated in a Dead Zone, one of two tables that were apparently not in anyone's section. People who came in 20 minutes after us were eating and we still didn't have water (or coffee or the attention of any of the staff)! The people at the other Dead Zone table could only wait 45 minutes and had to leave before their food was served. People came out with the coffee pot and filled one cup, didn't look around to see if anyone else needed coffee, and fled back into the kitchen. The food was good. We're hoping they were just overwhelmed (the place was packed. The SMBC isn't the only group of BaCar's Nomads still searching for a home), giving them a couple of weeks, and going back. But, I'm not feeling overly hopeful here.

I want BaCar's back! Not that I suppose it matters what I want. But, I want it. I want a place that will allow substitutions of any sort as well as half and quarter orders. I want a place where the staff know my name and keep my coffee cup filled and know just how I like my eggs and that with oatmeal I want maple syrup and walnuts.


J said...

And sell you a toy that they had for kids to play with, so you can give to your granddaugther when she comes to visit...That was a nice restaurant.

I went to Elite Cafe in SF with Neva awhile ago, and it had changed. Everyone acted like I should be thrilled by the changes, be in AWE of the new chef. Sorry, I wanted my etouffe, and there was none. I wasn't thrilled. Sometimes we want what we want. And actually, in my case the restaurant was still fine, just not what I wanted. You're just looking for somewhere good to have breakfast. There are many benefits to living in such a small community. A large choice of restaurants isn't one of them.

lorettambeaver said...

It would be nice if those who had the BaCar would read this and be ready to return to Juneau. Nice dream anyway Huh!! I do know what you mean, when you find perfection especially in a cafe, it is painful to have to say good-by.

Joy Des Jardins said...

There's something about losing one of your favorite restaurants that kind of breaks your heart. I feel the same way. I think it's the ambiance and the litle extras that count...besides the good food and the connections you might make with the people there. You can't always find that everywhere...but in a small town you're more apt to find one like that and have it stay around for a long time. But also if it leaves, you're stuck with a lot fewer choices.

Gina said...

It is nice to go to a place where the staff knows you. We had a couple restaurants where we got to know some certain waitstaff and always sat in their section.