Not Remotely Fast Food
Last time, I had us en route to Miss Lorraine’s diner in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. We arrived there about nine or ten-something. Patty pulled into the parking lot. Around us were huge buildings, formerly factories, including the Lorraine Mill itself.
As I noted last time, the Miss Lorraine is built literally into the side of the former Mill. It is rather a nice structure, actually. The Diner is bright and happy in yellow and red, with a red brick base and a gleaming silver roof. Behind it was the old factory, also of red brick, and spotted with huge windows with green frames. It was really rather attractive.
I looked around. There were some cars in the parking lot, but not very many. In fact, the whole place seemed a little quiet. Martha noticed that fact as well and mentioned it. Patty said, “There is supposed to be an active art colony here, but I don’t see people here very often.” There were, however, she said, occasional festivals and open studios, and those were apparently better attended.
We walked to the Diner, went up its steps, and headed inside. There seemed to be a small crowd, but nothing terrible. A woman at the podium said we could sit anywhere. We selected a booth near the door.
An interior shot of the Miss Lorraine
It was gorgeous inside, actually. I’ll post a picture or two. There was a counter, with old fashioned rotating stools. God! How I loved those as a kid. You could spin around...and around...and around...until more responsible authorities snapped at you to For God’s Sake Stop, Right Now. Come to think of it, that isn’t a bad description of the way my life turned out. Satisfying but circular.
Where was I? Oh, yes. We sat. The woman who had spoken to us brought us menus and then vanished.
We checked out the offerings. Oh! I realized they had corned beef hash on the menu. With eggs. Hmmm. I shouldn’t. I really shouldn’t. I really, Really, REALLY shouldn’t. I mean, think of the calories. And the cholesterol. And...all that stuff.
On the other hand...
It wasn’t like I was coming here every day, was it? Not like I ate so heavily on a regular basis. And this afternoon, I could have a salad for lunch. Maybe skip lunch entirely. I mean, talk about the virtue and self-restraint involved!
Okay, I was going for it.
Martha and Patty made their selections fairly quickly, too. And then we just needed to get the waitress. And coffee. Particularly coffee. So we waited.
And waited...and waited...and waited.
There was no one around. The woman who’d seated us was, like I say, gone. No one seemed to be at the counter. There were few other parties at other tables, but they either seemed to have already gotten their food, or were as frustrated as we were. I watched a couple get up and leave.
We waited some more. “Is it always like this?” Martha asked Patty.
“I wouldn’t know. This is the first time I’ve been here.”
“What? I thought this was a favorite spot of yours.”
“No, I just saw an article about in the paper.”
We waited some more. And some more. And then a little more. Finally we saw a young man...very young...come in and start wiping off the counter. I went up to him and asked if we could order and get coffee. He looked a little panicked. “Well, yes, but not from me.”
“I’m not authorized. I’m just a runner.”
“Ah huh...okay, could you run get someone to take our order?”
“Oh, yes, I can do that! Easy.” And he vanished into a back room. I wondered if we’d ever see him again. Maybe there was something in the back that was eating the staff. A monster, say. Or Jack The Ripper. Or something. And each time a wait-person went into the rear, it leaped upon them with a roar...and a second later, there’d be nothing left except a burp and maybe a used toothpick. If the waiter in question had been, you know, particularly stringy.
But, to my vast relief, a moment later another woman appeared with the young man in tow. She looked absolutely...harried. Clearly, whatever was going on back there...back wherever she’d been... might or might not have included cannibals and/or One Eyed, One Horned, Flying Purple People Eaters...but it wasn’t much better than that either.
“Can I,” she said, throughly only slightly clinched teeth, “take your order?”
Collectively, we gulped. Why, yes, we said, as politely and brightly as we could. She could, indeed.
More to come.
As per norm, this photo has nothing to do with the story, but I like it. This was taken by our friend Norma Giliker on her recent visit, and is the two of us at Roots, a Georgetown restaurant of which we're very fond.
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