Editor’s note: Natalie Barrett experiences what it’s like to dine out with her 3-year-old daughter, Elle.
PROVO — Chicken and waffles may be the best thing since J Dawgs' special sauce hit the Utah Valley scene.
Station 22, located directly across from the LDS Church's rising temple on Center Street, has great potential. It's been said to be "for foodies, from foodies."
Elle and I decided to drop by for a weekday dinner and found it hit just the right spot for both of us.
What makes this place special is the chicken and waffles.
“It is just flying out the door,” said Brittany Ammon, one of the chefs who helped conceptualize Station 22’s version of the dish. “It sounds kind of weird, but (customers) get it and they love it. The special sauce on that is a maple walnut butter. It’s literally butter, maple syrup, honey and ground walnuts. Just really simple. That’s kind of our secret. Keeping things so simple and using really poignant flavors like a walnut. And so when they are tasting it they are thinking why is it so rich and so much deeper than just syrup and the candied bacon always helps. Everyone loves bacon.”
Upon entering, we found mismatched silverware, newspaper packaging and understated end tables, a collection of cozy, surprised sophistication and cohesiveness. The food is just as complex but cozy as the scenery. Elle dug the mini-corn dogs and fries. What kid doesn't love some crunchy, thinly sliced french fries, no matter where they come from?
"I absolutely love to eat," wrote owner Richard Gregory. "But most importantly I love to eat foods that I connect with — foods that hearken back to warm times with family and friends. Times beyond us that extend all the way back through our grandparents and beyond, from our now tiny branches down into our deepest roots."
The restaurant opened in 2010, but revamped the building two months ago and reopened.
“Service has tripled,” said Ammon. “It makes me take a deep breath because you know it's just food, but food is really bringing community to Provo and it is bringing life to downtown Provo.”
The corn dog from scratch, meatloaf sandwich and, of course, chicken and waffles plead to the foodie's soul for more. The juxtaposition of fried chicken and maple syrup sounds crazy to the unadventurous, but to the fun lover of food, it's a party in the palate.
“We have a cucumber soda. It’s surprising delicious,” said server Adam Klopp. “I wasn’t expecting that. I was apprehensive at first, but it’s probably one of the best sodas I’ve ever tasted. Also we have a butterscotch cream soda.”
The perfect spot in the restaurant is right by the outside window, secluded from the main flow and looking directly onto Provo center and the construction of the Provo LDS temple. Directly above is a road sign, not purchased at an interior design store, but picked directly up off the road, shining with all its glory (bullet wounds and all).
The food is flavorful and inventive, but some customers have complained that the small restaurant has run out of space and often out of food.
“That’s how it is running a small business,” Ammon responded. “When you think about how much food you go through in a day, it’s incredible. We actually do run out of things because we do send someone out everyday to go buy locally for our food. It feels terrible to run out and have to tell customers that we’re running low, but I think that Provo is getting used to that because it’s different. They’re a small business, they are trying to make it just like everyone else. It’s really nice to have that acceptance.”
The restaurant aims for local, fresh and from-your-home recipes. Foodies and food lovers can unite with this restaurant.