It’s amazing the difference that superior service makes.
I’ve eaten at places with fantastic food and wonderful atmosphere, but had the experience completely ruined by a sour waiter, or a cashier who stares through me as if they’d prefer hand-fishing for piranha to answering a few questions.
On the other side of that coin, a smile and warm greeting can guarantee a return visit even if the food leaves something to be desired.
But when you serve great food and provide even better service? That’s how you create regulars, and Apron is the kind of shop that should have no shortage of those.
For the uninitiated: Apron is a cute little take-out place on Kings Highway in Haddonfield that, according to its website, provides “a healthy alternative to fast food by using fresh, seasonal ingredients.”
They serve soups, salads and sandwiches as well as a plethora of home-cooked staples with names like "Chicky Pot Pie" and "the Good Shepherd’s Pie."
I tried a number of things, including their award-winning chicken salad sandwich, which some surveys list as tops in South Jersey. The chicken salad is damn tasty, especially on a fresh French baguette. Craisins and apples give it a unique pop of freshness.
Freshness is a recurring theme at Apron. The chunky vegetable gazpacho is light on vinegar and plays like a refreshing summer salsa, with prevalent notes of cucumber and carrot.
Another must-try is Magone's mac and cheese, swimming in a creamy blend of four cheeses and sprinkled with just enough spice to give it a little kick.
I enjoyed the food I had at Apron, but the real seller was the service. I was given recommendations on ordering, advice for when I return (if you want their Wednesday-only Best of South Jersey Chicky Pot Pie, you’d better call ahead), and even a side of kale and quinoa on the house, just because. It was a slick move on their part, as the salad was so unexpectedly tasty, it’s something I’ll definitely be ordering again.
Apron offers a “simple” menu, but due to the nature of its slow-cook kitchen, selections vary daily depending on what ingredients are available. It's recommended that you call ahead.
Kudos to the fine folks at Apron for providing delicious, healthy, home-cooked food and amazing service to match. I’m excited to see what other little surprises Apron will unveil down the road.
- Dueling restaurant weeks! Both Collingswood and SJ Hot Chefs are having Farm to Fork Restaurant Weeks, July 22-28. SJ Hot Chefs restaurants are priced at either $25 or $35 for a four-course prix fixe; prices vary in Collingswood. SJ Hot Chefs participants include Anthony’s Creative Italian Cuisine, Blackbird, Elements Café, Keg & Kitchen, Tre Famiglia, The Little Tuna and That’s Amore. Make reservations early!
- Cuthbert Blvd. recently became home to Amy’s Omelette House, which features a whopping 220 variations of omelets, among other tasty looking menu items. Be sure to check them out!
- Pour-a-Palooza is happening at The Pour House Saturday, July 14. With 30-plus breweries, outdoor tents and live music, it sounds like a jolly good time. Tickets are $40 at the door.
- Custo Cookie just opened up in Haddonfield, and their cookies are delicious. Be sure to stop in and try them yourselves.
- Be sure to follow me on Twitter @davevaliante!