Pasta is one of my favorite foods of all time. It doesn’t matter the season: it's good on super hot days and the most frigid winter days and all weather in between.
The first time I walked into Spaghetti Jim's I was intrigued because it was so small yet there were people standing and waiting for a table. I didn’t stay because, well, it wasn’t the usual atmosphere for a restaurant. The cramped tables and large number of people waiting made me nervous that I wouldn’t make my next appointment. But I did go back another day when I was out of the office for lunch and had more time to sit down and enjoy a meal.
The rest is history; Spaghetti Jim's is one of my top favorite places to eat out in Traverse City. The homemade noodles were by far the best I had ever tasted along with their homemade local ingredient menu, which quickly won me over.
Now it has become one of my favorite date night spots with my husband because the atmosphere is fun and relaxed. Jim, who is owner and chef, always comes out to check on us and see how we liked the meals. His wife Ann waits on us and we've had the opportunity to hear their story and how they started the business. You can see how much pride he took in developing each and every dish and how he likes to make people happy with his food. Back before they expanded their seating and menu, Jim would make our favorite dish even if wasn’t on the specials menu that night. But, we know he would make it if we asked.
Jim is always looking to please and make people smile. The following quote from the Spaghetti Jims website really describes the heart beat of this little place:”We believe that food doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be good. Our mission is to serve delicious, simply prepared meals, made with the freshest local ingredients available; we even produce our homemade pasta onsite. For this reason, our specials change frequently as the local growing season progresses.”
So last Friday night my 6-year-old son and my husband took me on a date to Spaghetti Jims. We were the fourth group in line waiting for a table. No one complained about waiting. As a matter of fact, customers would tell people who came in behind us it was worth the wait. I knew this and so I waited patiently, (well, as best I could with a very active kid who was rummaging through their coloring books and crayons).
We were seated fairly quickly and then the hard part began: which entree to choose? My son knew right away he wanted the 5-meat lasagna. This kid eats meat like a carnivorous dinosaur so this was the best choice for him. The lasagna is really good, and there is no skimping on the ingredients. My husband had one of the specials, which came with Papardelle pasta and shrimp, and I chose the Eggplant Parmesan. The pictures say it all. As always, the food was awesome. I couldn’t believe the size of the shrimp that came on my husband’s plate!
The deserts are also wonderful and homemade. My two favorites are the tiramisu and the Key Lime pie. I had the Key Lime pie this time and I swear it is the best I have found in all Traverse City.
Jim came out and chatted with us and the other customers, as he usually does, in his charming way. Jim’s wife Ann informed us as she waited on our table that Jim needing to retire due to a health scare and they were looking to sell the restaurant. Jim said he wanted to find the right person who would keep the recipes and the happy environment. We could tell it was hard for him to discuss and he really struggled with the idea of selling. We sure wish Jim the best and hope the right person comes along because it would be a shame to lose this great treasure in Traverse City.
If you haven’t tried Spaghetti Jims yet, check it out soon. You can buy Jim's noodles from the little market in the restaurant if you prefer to cook yourself, or you can call and place an order for takeout. If you’re adventuresome and like to eat out, you may just get the opportunity to meet Jim himself and see why it’s such a great place. They are located next to Big Apple Bagel on South Airport road...away from downtown traffic as Cherry Festival kicks off this weekend!