Dinner with Dan: Max and Erma’s

Daniel Davis

“Max and Erma’s Oaks”

1808 Mill Road

Oaks, PA 19456

TGIF’s meets Houlihan’s? I know; that combination does not titillate me either. At least the name is catchy, right? Enticing in the least? Again, strike two. So where does that leave us? With a budding chain restaurant.

Expanding sometime in the near future, Max and Erma (don’t ask me how they met because I don’t know and don’t care to) will be spreading its name throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania quite rapidly. However, the desolate parking lot in Oaks, Pa which is the solitaire location of Max and Erma’s, did not daunt my determination to sample its menu.

Alas, after long seconds of investigation, the decision was made: to enter. Welcome to the Scranton of the area: plaid, hillbillies, farmers and antics galore. Our little establishment was out of sorts with people running around as if baffled by their own job.

Shortly after being greeted (somewhat) we were given some sort of a “holding device,” a cheaper version of what you would get at a TGIF, (How can they make those less expensive?) to alert us when our table was ready.

Time passed and our mini-vibrating, electronic-looking, hand-held device sounded, indicating we should be getting seated. Oh no, my friend, on the contrary. All that buzzing is just for you to come to the front where you will be gawked at in amazement.

After explaining I was on their very credible customer list, they looked around for seating and realized they had given it to someone who came in after us. Perfect. I would expect nothing less. I decided to stay close to home this time, so no mix-up could occur. Luckily, I made it into their close-knit seating arrangement in the next 10 minutes.

After being seated, I could not help but “overhear” the incredibly audible audience I would be dining with this evening. Their boisterous mannerisms and vivacious well-being was striking, but moderately refreshing. Not too long before I was comfortable in my seat, I wondered if I had somehow stepped into a Scranton Ruby Tuesday’s, but I pinched myself out of that day-mare.

“A menu like any other” would be a captive and stunning title for this restaurant. Becoming a chain is inevitable for Max and Erma’s, especially with their menu design and setup: satisfying certain groups while trying to “differentiate” their products through mild attempts at creativity in an office building somewhere. Chicken with Jack Daniels? Maybe pasta mixed in somehow.

I cannot say anything really caught my attention here. It is pretty ordinary and nothing grasped my attention. The prices are very regular.

But allow me to get to the catch: the dessert. You knew there was something special, right? I wasn’t so sure until the end of the night when they persuaded me to try Max and Erma’s signature home-baked fresh cookies. It couldn’t hurt, could it, especially considering they are their signature cookies?

Eight minutes later, voila! Six aesthetically pleasing cookies with milk (but you have to pay for the milk). They were pretty tasty, too; I have to admit I was surprised. Granted I was peer pressured into ordering them by our waitress named Bev or Mary Jo or something of the sort, but they paid off in the end. Was it mainly to cover up the rest of the meal? Possibly, but it made the evening a little more tolerable.

In the Oaks area and looking for an extremely regular eatery? Hey, I found it. Don’t take too much time out of your day wondering how this restaurant is going to be, though; I pretty much covered it in a page of writing.