Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dear Julia

Dear Julia,

I'm intrigued by your request, and I know how you asked me to respond. However, I've never been really great at following instructions, so instead I've chosen to answer you in this post. Your request for my naming 5-10 best restaurants worldwide got me to thinking what really does make the best restaurant in my opinion. You see, unbeknownst to you and many people who know me, I don't have a great sense of smell or taste. And, you've requested to promote my Healing Grace website, and as an author I wrote about tastes and smells. Very tricky way to live and work. I have now outed myself. A few years ago I worked in a kitchen at a local restaurant and was asked over and over to taste soups and sandwich mixtures to see what needed to be added. I got really, really good at faking it.

Here are a few restaurants that happen to be on the historic square of McKinney, Texas. They all have more than their location in common; they also have the nicest owners. I go back to these restaurants not only for the beautiful food, but because of how I'm treated. Each and every restaurant have personnel who treat customers as family. The chefs easily and kindly accommodate variations on the menus. I walk into each place and feel as if I'm home.

You also asked for pictures on Instagram, but since I don't use it I decided to do things my way -- stitch my pictures. First off, there's Rick Wells' restaurants, Rick's Chophouse and Harvest. Harvest is a farm to table restaurant where the chef made special vegan meals for three of us. Kudos to the chef!
I've lived in many states in the last few years, and no place spells love and nourishment like downtown McKinney restaurants. Karen Klassen owns Spoons Cafe and Spoons Garage celebrating the best of all comfort food like fried okra, meatloaf, and shepherd's pie. Again the owner and her staff are extremely friendly, helpful, and willing to accommodate. I used to have a studio above Spoons Garage, and what a joyful time to be able to sew, drink some downtown coffee, and take breaks in the Garage eating with friends.

There's also a sweet place that has had my heart since it opened over four years ago. I met the owners the night before they opened, and no matter how much they had to do still, they welcomed my friends and me and showed us around. Square Burger not only has a fabulous chef/owner, Craig, but also has around 30 beers on tap. Brandon, another owner, has gotten more compassionate and kinder through the years, and I didn't even know that was possible. The burgers here are gourmet and plated beautifully. I love the texture in each bite, and their sweet potato fries are truly beyond compare. I step inside and feel the love. That to me is the test of a great restaurant, and they pass with flying colors in my book. I know they've gotten all kinds of accolades for their food, but when you get fabulous food surrounded by loving people... well, it just doesn't get better than that.
I could go on and on about the restaurants on the square and their owners. Sandra and her crew have built an environment where I just want to go and sit, gathering in the warmth of everyone in the coolest place on the planet -- Snug on the Square. Thank you, Sandra.

And then there's Patina Green and their fabulous owners. What a treasure they are. You can pick up a few groceries, grab a snack, or indulge in a great meal. And you can shop in their beautiful surroundings.

Take a look at their websites to get a real idea at how spectacular they are and what they've added to the community.

Oh yeah, and before I go, you asked me to tell you how I got my website started. You actually wrote to me about my book, Healing Grace. Long story short -- I write and I stitch and sometimes I combine the two. I've been doing both since I was a kid. I studied creative writing at Harvard and at University of Colorado in Boulder. Lately, I've been doing most of my writing in my head while sewing all day long. I have a business making things for other people from chair cushions to curtains to tunics, tops, dresses, purses, pillows... and on and on. As soon as I figure out to do all that I really want to do, I'll add more writing into my schedule. My websites are Jill Luigs and The Selvage Edge. You can find my online shop here.

I hope this answers the questions you posed to me. If not, you know how to reach me.


P.S. And one more thing:

I couldn't stop stitching...


  1. You forgot to mention Ron Bistro North in New York.
    Beautiful work Jill.

  2. How could I have forgotten that?????