Life is not easy for 16-year old Hope. Her flaky mother left her with her Aunt Addie, who travels the states working as a cook. Uprooted and alone, Hope finds self-confidence and a way to connect with people as a waitress. When Hope and Aunt Addie leave busy New York City for a job in a rural diner in Wisconsin, Hope expects that she will be bored with the small-town types who visit the "Welcome Stairways Diner".
But the diner is anything but boring. The good-hearted but sick owner of the diner turns out to be the center of political intrigue. Before you can say "hamburger with a side order of fries," Hope gets caught up in a political race that is filled with corruption. Along her journey, Hope must face her own troubled past.