Friday, July 10, 2015

The Neighborhood Mom& Pop

I am a big fan of hole in the wall restaurants--anything that's the opposite of McDonald's. What we have in our neighborhood, a place that roasts chickens on rotating spits and provides hunks of ground meat on rolls to kids, takes me back to my childhood, which was so long ago that there weren't any chains except for Howard Johnsons. You didn't have to ask for a key to the bathroom at the gas station back then, and you didn't have to pay, or go through a turnstile, or collect little tickets that saved you fifty cents on your purchase. Each little roadside restaurant--there were such things-- had its own style, and if you never ate at a place called Mother's you did okay. 

Zum ______________ reminds me of those places. The clock says Kein Bier Vor Vier (No Beer Before Four) and all the numerals on the clock face are 4. Hee-hee. Delightful. The harried woman behind the counter wants to get everything right, and if you ask for a frickadelle she makes sure it's warm or cold, just as you wish. Do you have your drink? Is everything all right? Chicken? The chicken is tender--moreso than any chicken I have ever cooked or tasted. The fries--if you like fries, and I don't--are crisp, and offered with mayonnaise, ketchup, or tarter sauce. The patrons gaze off into the distance--or off into the year 1967--and remain happy. Especially when they are looking at that clock. The one that tells the time, German style. 
I'd pay a considerable amount for that clock. The only clock I ever enjoyed more, my husband's earthquake clock, in which all numerals have fallen, or are in the process of gracefully doing so, to the bottom of the clock face, sits dustily in our cellar, having not quite made it through the last California earthquake. But as long as there's beer, there's life . . . and one that Germans love.  That's what keeps folks going to this, our favorite little place.