When Americans think of home cooking, they often think of little dinners that offer a taste of American-style cooking: chicken-fried steak, ham & eggs, shakes. What makes this bit of Americana at Charlie’s Main Street Cafe interesting is the owner is from Seoul and has her family working in the kitchen.
Meat and potatoes – That is a tradition of the Middle West. I want them to carry on. I don’t want to come here and disturb their tradition. I don’t want to modify it. I want to enhance it . . . I want my customers to feel this restaurant is theirs.
and the patrons of her restaurant seem to agree.
The owner, Geewon Anderson, feels very much as if her role is as cultural “bridge”, which makes sense to me at least. As she says:
I cannot totally live with Koreans; it would drive me crazy, . . . I cannot totally live with American people; it drives me crazy. I love being in between and being a bridge.
The excellent article by John Eligon is here.