Ross Simpson has been in the restaurant business since he was 15. The shy teen earned $1.50 an hour as a dishwasher and learned how to get out of his shell.

Now Simpson does a little more than wash dishes. The owner of Clara’s on the River runs a fun dining establishment located in what was once a turn-of-the-century train station.

The extra-large menu represents the trove of Simpson's experience. There’s something for everyone: zucchini noodles, sizzling fajitas, a cherry and chicken salad and what some say are the best hamburgers in town.

Simpson loves food and has final say on the Clara’s menu, but is always open to staff creations. 

“I’m smart enough to surround myself with fantastic people,” Ross said.

Take the bronzed salmon – topped with red pepper coulis – which was suggested by a former assistant manager. Or the popular spinach dip, which has artichoke hearts, crab meat, onion, Monterey Jack and cream cheese.

There’s always room for something new at Clara’s.

ADDRESS: 44 McCamly St., Battle Creek