The deal was struck over a broken egg.
Not an ordinary means of binding a business contract, but that was the beginning of the negotiation process between Ed Robinson and Andy Lyle.Lyle, a Salt Lake ophthalmologist, frequented Big Ed's, a University of Utah hamburger hangout formerly owned by Robinson. In addition to hamburgers, Robinson whipped up a wild omelet. Lyle would always order the omelet, regardless of the time of day. He even took cooking classes, trying to pick up a technique similar to Robinson's
Lyle's omelet lessons were futile; he gave up and returned to Big Ed. The pair whipped, scrambled and chopped their way to omelet perfection.
That was in 1973.
Today, Robinson and Lyle are a pair again.
Robinson makes his omelets, plus sandwiches, salads and soups, for Lyle's patients and employees at the Eye Institute of Utah.
The reason is simple.
"I know I'll be feeding about 75 people every day. I can accurately estimate my supplies. I work regular hours - no nights, no weekends. For a man who's spent his life in the fast food business, this is a perfect job."
There's another aspect, too. Robinson provides a service for institute patients and their families, many of whom come to Salt Lake City from outlying areas.
"I have an opportunity to provide meals for patients returning from surgery, and for their families, eliminating the need for them to leave the facility. That's a comforting experience, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the city."
Robinson responds to follow-up requests from patients. He contributes recipes to the institute's monthly newsletter. "People don't often remember hospital food, but I have a surprising number of patients who want my recipes, especially my soups."
Scramble for an opportunity to try "Big Ed's" recipes in your own kitchen.