By Samantha Meijer
13 October 2015
Thruway: 10432 Hwy 7, Carleton Place, On. K7C 3P4
Price Range: main courses range from $5 to $30
The night's off to a great start when you walk into a restaurant and are seated right away. The customer’s first impression of front staff will make or break your business. For the Thruway, a family-style restaurant that's been around for 39 years, this is their immediate selling feature. I was already pleased with the quick response to service from the minute I walked into the restaurant. It was a busy evening, but they weren't short on staff.
The atmosphere also incorporates that idea of family. In the literal sense, the Thruway is filled with families, friends, or even the usual trucker stopping en route to some unknown destination. It's like Thanksgiving with the family, plus fifty other people unknown to you. The lighting sets the scene, creating a cozy feel that's coupled with the wood-and-brick backdrop. The minimal decor – currently representing fall – provides a little colour to the scene, while also maintaining its cleanliness.
Seated in a booth, with a backrest covered in a fabric with a 20th century prairie village motif, I ordered my meal. I chose the clubhouse sandwich on whole wheat, with fries on the side. As I waited for my meal to come, I continued to take in the ambience. I watched as hosts and hostesses moved at a quick pace back and forth between the kitchen and the tables they were tending. I watched as they cautiously carried the plates, sometimes three at a time, to the awaiting customers, while others used a tray to cover every dish at their table of ten. I listened to the soft hum of chatter, and the music wafting between the chatter, all of which seemed to silence when a dish was dropped and a swarm of workers hurriedly cleaned up the mess. An accident, one that turned heads for a moment, and then turned them back to the chattering hum.
In under 20 minutes I had my meal in front of me. Be careful, the plate's still warm. The clubhouse sandwich is stacked two layers high, cut into four separate triangles, and held together with a slim toothpick. Each section has: bread, lettuce, fresh turkey, bread, lettuce, bacon, tomato, and then bread again. Mayonnaise is given to you in a small container in order to cover all who like it on their sandwich, and then for those who prefer to use it instead for their fries. The fries, which are lightly seasoned, are scattered around the remaining portion of the plate. A circular pocket's left open for the container of coleslaw, which is delectable, and this happens to be coming from someone who's never tasted anything but her mother's coleslaw. The plate's then decorated with speckles of parsley, giving it a touch of artistic appeal.
I was pleased with the overall efficiency of the service, and the quick response to problems with general meal orders. I took my father with me, who happened to have the filet of sole with potatoes, carrots, celery, and corn on the cob. He had asked for his potatoes to be roasted, and they accidentally came back with baked. He didn't have an issue with this, but they were more than willing to fix this mistake, and not even a minute later were back with his order of roasted potatoes.
This is a restaurant to try, for the experience of both the home-style meals and family atmosphere. If you happen to go on a weekend, ask for Paul to be your host. It will most likely return your faith in good service, along with the idea that genuinely good people still exist.
Photo Credit: Sam Meijer
Samantha is an avid reader and writer, who finds relaxation in the imaginary worlds she creates. Her non-fiction work has been published for the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and she has won awards for her short fiction in the annual Remembrance Day Legion contest. When she's not writing, Samantha is sketching famous or familial people.