A lot of restaurants try to provide a welcoming, small-town, homestyle feel, with varying degrees of success. It's not a facade at the Country Club Family Restaurant in downtown Medina, which has been serving delicious food since 1981.
The place is large, taking up what we counted as four deep storefronts in a row of tall brick buildings on the main street in Medina. On the Saturday just past noon when John, Pat, John and I stopped in, the place was buzzing with post-church diners enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner. We saw friendly waves from one table to the next, and one group filing out stopped to chat with a few tables of other diners along the way.
That's not to say that we felt out of place. Except for some brief confusion about whether we should just seat ourselves (we should), we found the welcome and service to be very good.
There are many seating options - rectangular and circular booths, tables in a row between the booths, and a counter in the back of one room. The booths along the window were taken, so we settled nearby where we still got a view of people passing by on the historic main street. The walls were decorated with quaint hand-painted murals of vintage scenes.
The menu is enormous. Everything you can think of is offered and then maybe a few more things just for fun. In addition to the plastic-coated pages, there is a handwritten list of specials, all of which looked tempting.
The folks at Country Club don't care what the clock says, and will fix you anything you want at any time of day. Until relatively recently, the restaurant was open 24 hours a day, and now closes only from midnight to 6 a.m., which is still a real accomplishment.
Our soft drinks were served in smallish glasses that worried me a bit, because I tend to empty my iced tea ($1.65) quickly. I didn't need to worry, though, because service was attentive and my glass was refilled when needed.
We made our selections from various parts of the menu, and all the food was very good.
Our first pick was a classic breakfast, a full stack of pancakes served with bacon ($5.25). The challenge here is the timing - pancakes have to be taken off the grill at exactly the right moment and cannot endure more than a few seconds of wait time before being delivered to the table. These three medium-sized, fluffy cakes were both cooked to a uniform golden brown and handled correctly. The accompanying bacon was crisp and delicious, and the price was right.
The hot meatball sandwich ($5.95) was also very good. The large, beefy-tasting meatballs were wedged into a soft roll and topped with thick, long-simmered tomato sauce. It was clearly impossible to pick up and bite without major spillage, but that was fine. Rather than just fries, it was served with a choice of potato, which included home fries. They were a taste of breakfast with lunch, and we appreciated the option.
I'd guess that the Cousin's Omelette ($6.45), made with sausage, mushrooms and cheese, was invented by or for a cousin and then put on the menu by popular demand. But whatever the background, it's a delicious combination. The chunks of sausage and fresh fried mushrooms add depth and heartiness to this large three-egg concoction. It was kind of amusing to see two slices of processed American melted on the top, a refreshing reminder that the Country Club lacks pretension.
The roast turkey dinner ($7.95), one of the day's specials, was a triumph. A scoop of lovely, moist, sage-accented dressing was topped with slice after slice of freshly cut turkey breast. The turkey-dressing mound and the adjacent pile of creamy mashed potatoes was then ladled with light-colored turkey gravy, with more provided in a dish on the side, as requested. A small cup of cranberry sauce completed the generous Thanksgiving-style plate.
We like to investigate the pie situation in restaurants and were told that there were none. But a dish of rice pudding ($2.85), which was sweet, creamy rather than grainy, and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, was delicious.