Review by Salem Man
If your stomach is grumbling and you find yourself over on Lancaster, you'll be hard pressed to find a good local restaurant. That's the situation I was in around 2pm, scanning the strip malls for something less scary then the sea of greasy chains that advertise to travelers along the busy boulevard. Then when you see a place that looks halfway decent, you better hope that someone lets you cross traffic, making a left hand turn can be tricky. Luckily, I saw a restaurant with plenty of parking out front inside the LannySun strip mall. It's one of those restaurants I've seen a hundred times but never got around to going in.
Rocky's Soup or 'Balls is a local favorite in NE Salem, just ask any of the locals. According to a friend, the $3.45 Sockaroni Spaghetti Marinara lunch special often sells out. The "'balls" or meatballs is also a big seller. With that in mind, I was eager to give it a try. Cheap/frugal eats is my thing.
That's when the front door opened and a big sweaty guy with a brown mustache walked in carrying a couple of fishing poles. He looked at me sitting in the filthy restaurant hung his rods on the wall and strutted quickly around the counter into the back. Then the screaming in Spanish started happening in the kitchen. I know only a little of that language but it was obvious these guys were getting fired on the spot. One fellow walked past me and out the front door. After the commotion the bushy lipped angler came over to where I was sitting and apologized for his restaurants shoddy appearance. Above the pocket of his shirt, his name was embroidered in cursive, Rocky. That's when I noticed his shirt was bloodied from cleaning cod all morning at sea. He asked what I had ordered and said he was going to make my plate himself. At that point, I knew there was no way I was going to eat anything here but I wanted to snap a picture for the blog. When Rocky brought the dish to the table he smelled of cigarette smoke and apologized one last time before heading over to the cash register. It's tricky getting a shot of food when the owner is nearby but I didn't care. I just snapped two pix stood up and left. As I opened the door to the rainy afternoon, Rocky yelled over at me complaining that he wasted his time making the dish and I 'm going to leave without even trying it. I just kept my mouth shut and thought the only person whose time was wasted was mine.