When you think of your home community, a few things always come to mind: the kids' sports leagues, schools, friends and more than likely, a special place for some good American food in a relaxed setting.
In the Pinecrest area, many people think of Wagons West when they think of their favorite places to eat. And with good reason... My wife's family has been eating at Wagon's West since it opened in 1981. Even before I moved down to South Florida, they would proudly take me to Wagons West during my holiday visits. Ever since, it's been one of my favorite spots.
Wagons West is one of Pinecrest's “water cooler” spots. It's the place for food, news and gossip. It's nearly impossible not to be recognized and warmly greeted when you walk in the door. And there is a definite sense of its consistency and staying power, punctuated perfectly by the original outdoor sign which now is proudly displayed over the front kitchen area.
Walter and Steven Muench came to the USA from Germany in 1958. In 1971 they moved to South Florida and had several businesses, including two restaurants that preceded Wagons. From 1981, when they had a local signmaker sandblast the outdoor sign from redwood, until 1989, the two brothers spent most of their time cooking everything at the restaurant themselves. Walter looks back on those days with pride and satisfaction.
Upon opening, Wagons West was immediately decorated in a Western theme. Walter says although the theme was a definite the name choice was somewhat random. “We were at the attorney's office to register the business and we knew we wanted a wagon as the centerpiece for our Western theme. We went in with about 30-50 relatively generic names and quickly boiled it down to four... Wagons North, South, East and West.” They ended up choosing West because they liked the phrase 'Go West young man' and they thought it best fit the theme. With a smile, Walter remembers the early front window decorations. “We had model wagons in the window for a while, but (he chuckles) we got tired of our patrons complaining they were facing the wrong direction. So, down they came!”
Not much else has changed inside since the start. The well worn counters, booths, tables, wall decor and floors all reflect the staying power. “People eat with their eyes,” says Walter. “We know that to stay successful, we need to be consistent...in our theme and food's appearance. The secret is stable pricing, quality product and good service.”
As someone who often sits down for a good lunch, I can attest they achieve their goal every day. If you're in the area, take some time to grab some good American food and soak in a little bit of Pinecrest. You won't be disappointed.
You can find out more at Wagons West Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wagons-West-Restaurant/104911682885794. Some of the restaurant's fans have set up another fan page as well (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4604639939) where this great comment was left. I am posting it because the fan page will soon be archived and turned off.
I've been going to Wagons West since before it was Wagons West, around 1977. I've eaten breakfast all over this great country and a few other places around the world, and I can say, unequivocably, that I have never had a better breakfast - anywhere! I'm real persnickety about how I like my eggs and WW always does 'em right! If you leave WW hungry, one of four things is in evidence: 1) You didn't eat all that was on your plate; 2) You dumped your food on the floor; 3) You have at least one hollow leg; or 4) You have a tapeworm the size of a python. My sincere thanks to Walter, the guys at the grill and the great ladies stompin' the tiles & takin' the cash for a truly fantastic, down-home place to eat that I'll continue to haunt while I'm still breathin'!