Of Angels and Ducks: Kitsch and the Serious Kitchen
The Eggs Nest is the Golden Goose of High Falls.
By Evie Seidman
Not just in the number of jobs it provides, or the taxes it pays, or the pleasure it offers to hungry visitors who while shopping locally contribute to the town’s prosperity. It is a kind of a golden goose that fairy tales are made of, when fairy tales are used as a tool of a culture, to pass on meaning and values.
Not merely a restaurant, the Eggs Nest is a living, breathing character in the life story of the man who created it, and in the life of the town that embraces it. It is a place that embodies a history, a philosophy, a method, and oh yes, there’s no denying it, a quirky psychology that hints a touch of madness. But what most people don’t realize right away, what takes a few visits to grasp, is that entering the Eggs Nest is a venture into an experiment that America started in the 60′s and in a few fortunate places, is still ongoing.
Once upon a time in America, a generation dreamed of a society in which human values were prized as much as material values, where success could be defined by the health and happiness of the whole community’s life, not just by the bulge of a few people’s checkbooks or their accumulation of power. The Great Experiment of the 60′s, evident in the “flower power” days of war resistance and back-to-the-land movements, sought to prove that it was people who mattered, that love was the greatest power and wealth.
Proving that there’s more than one way to turn a prophet, restaurant owner Richard Murphy has built a successful, profitable business not only by watching costs and increasing efficiency, but by sincerely making his primary business the long-term relationships he has built with people, including staff, customers, purveyors, neighbors, fellow business folk, and town officials.
Starting the Eggs Nest was quite literally the investment a lifetime. Murphy conceived of a restaurant that would nurture and reward not only his financial risk at the time, but also his faith that life could be fun, creative, and filled with immensely warm and interesting people working together towards common goals. “Livelihood is important,” he once said, “but Life is bigger.”