Re:My Year in Roadfood (2012)
Tue, 01/22/13 8:35 AM
We met so many wonderful people along the way in 2012. Here are some of the more memorable ones: Yeah, the food at Beacon Drive-In isn't great, but I still love coming here if for no other reason than to see JC Strobel shout out my order to the kitchen. JC has been here for over 50 years now and is legally blind. He is such a local institution that they used to sell bobbleheads of his likeness! In past visits here, there has always been a line, but this year I stopped in shortly after they opened on a Sunday morning, which gave me a few precious moments to chat with the man. Here is a short video of JC in action. Nobody in Roadfood has a bigger smile than Roque of Roque's Carnitas in Santa Fe, NM. With the help of his grandmother, young Austin Herron bought Jack's North Hi Carryout, a wonderful little burger stand in Wichita, KS. Based on the burgers we enjoyed, this place is in good hands for many years to come. Restaurant employees are usually very friendly when you visit them on the Roadfood bus tour, but the nice people at The Lunchbox in Meriden, CT even came outside to wave at the bus as we were leaving. Mariton poses with Mary Fannie Woodruff of Woodruff's Cafe & Pie Shop in Monroe, VA. Miss Mary is well into her 90s, but still holds court at the back table, reading her bible and providing what she calls "the entertainment". At J & W Grill in Chickasha, OK, Darren Cook kept up a running conversation. But since he was working the grill at the same time, it took place with his back turned towards us! He told us how he used to ride by the place when he was just 12 years old on his paper route and now he owns the place. We're not sure if this man is the owner or the manager at Second Avenue Deli in New York City, but we are sure he was the funniest person we met all year. Hearing it was our first visit, he was constantly at our table, telling jokes and making sure we liked our food. We did! At one point, he was wearing a cabbage leaf as a yarmulke, saying he wanted to leave zero carbon footprint! During most of the time we were at Flip's BBQ in Wilmington, NC, we were the only customers, which allowed us plenty of time to chat with the friendly owner. His daughter, who now lives in Charleston, stopped in and since we were headed that way, she gave Mariton some helpful tips of where to go for shopping. When I suggested a father/daughter photo, they were happy to oblige. Being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and season ticket holder, I was shocked to see a man walk into Teresa's Mosaic Cafe dressed in all Steelers clothing. He said he has never been to the Steel City and has no connection, but just likes the team. No year is complete without at least one stop at Niecie's in Kansas City to see our favorite waitress, Miss Myra C. Luckily for us, Miss Myra enjoys posing for photos. This year, she gathered up the troops and they posed behind the counter. She said she wanted to holding some food, so she grabbed the closest thing, a plate of cookies. This nice lady didn't wait on us at Pie 'N Burger in Pasadena, CA, but she still stopped and said hello. She told us that after being there for 29 years, she is tired of eating there, but never gets tired of eating their pie! Josie's German Cakes & Market in Mechanicsburg, PA is a little store that puts out fantastic plate lunches. Josie's passed away a few years back, but is now being run by her son in her memory. Another mother/son team was at Big Dipper Ice Cream Factory in Prospect, CT, where they took time to tell us about their business and answer questions. They also let us order any ice cream we wanted and only charged us a dollar each! This time it is father/daughter at the friendliest spot in Miami's Little Havana, El Mago de las Fritas. We got lucky as the daughter brought in a cake to celebrate the 28th anniversary of her dad at the restaurant. This young lady with the great smile was very happy to meet me, since she rarely gets to talk hockey, which is no surprise since she lives in Oklahoma and works at The Diner in Norman. She is such a big fan, she even named her son after her favorite player, Brendan Shanahan. Everytime I leave the Wilton Candy Kitchen in Wilton, IA, I can't help but think will this be the last time. After all, owner George Napolous is now 90. But, he says he has no plans to retire and during my visit, he was his usual, charming, wisecracking self. In the review for Poe Boy Luncheon in Nashville, TN, Michael Stern included a photo of the chef's son, Kadarius. I was fortunate enough to get a photo of father and son together.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 01/22/13 8:45 AM>