I sincerely apologize, but we don’t accept credit cards. As you can see we’ve hollowed out the television behind the bar and inserted a chalkboard reading CASH ONLY in ornate calligraphy. It’s easy to miss.
Things weren’t always like this.
Just a couple years back this boutique dinette was a flourishing All-American grill with 50-inch TVs, brilliant fluorescent lighting, and cash registers. Glorious, time-saving cash registers.
Then we started getting complaints. Someone on Yelp named “Harlan K.” reamed us out for promoting credit-card greed. Others followed suit. Apparently Visa, MasterCard, and the like charge business owners a three-percent service fee on each customer card swipe. We never noticed, our restaurant was extremely profitable, until everyone started shouting at us on account of our being fascists.
I don’t really miss the fascist registers, environmentally unsound light bulbs, or unconscionably evil wiring tainted with “blood copper.” Just wish we still had a sign. Or a door.
Please pardon my cough. When I started here this was a beautiful indoor eatery. But last summer customers began taking their business elsewhere because we didn’t have an outdoor beer garden.
Since this building doesn’t have a rear patio, we were forced to rip off the roof and convert the entire dining area into an open-air green space. A popular Fruitarian blog described it as a “delightful shrine to mother Gaia” and “a tiny piece of the fey realm right in our own backyard.” In between, of course, raising shockingly graphic objections about our meat options.
The warmer months are fine, so long as it’s not raining. Winter is a bit taxing. Each new snowfall claims the life of one of our own, due to our poorly insulated uniforms. While loose, unwashed T-shirts do well to reveal each worker’s 20 requisite tattoos, they don’t provide much protection from hypothermia.
It’s also becoming harder and harder to recognize which folks are customers and which are vagrants. Most guests sit down and pull out a bag lunch or nail clippers, not realizing we’re a functioning boutique dinette. They’ll walk through our kitchen thinking they’ve stumbled upon a block-party barbecue, and swipe food right out of our dampened burlap sack (freezers are destroying this country, we’re told).
It’s been a rough few years, but we’re finally able to offer our customers exactly what they want: A single, giant picnic table running the length of the entire restaurant; home-brewed cask ale with excess yeast scum at the bottom of every mason jar; and all-organic ingredients, served by disaffected 20-somethings wearing thick-rimmed glasses.
Yes, prices have gone up. We have to cover the expense of growing our own vegetables and raising our own hens. The portions are small, and the kale tastes like basement, but our regulars still line up in front of the door-hole every evening.
We’re actually more popular than ever, regardless of how crazy it all seems.
I mean, wouldn’t you prefer to eat somewhere nice and warm, with silverware and seatbacks? A place with walls or a floor? Lord what I wouldn’t give to chew on a thick T-bone, leaning back on a cushioned chair all stuffed with feathers and soft. Or cozying up near a table-side radiator, drying my wet tatters over cool sips of Pepsi from a clean mug—with a handle even, like I’m King of the World!
The restroom? Sure. Just follow the dirt path that runs way too close to the kitchen. It’s a single-occupancy antique toilet that uses a system of cranks and pulleys as a flush. The door’s locked, but there’s a slot over the doorknob that only accepts Morgan silver dollars minted in 1919.
It’s inconvenient and terrible—everyone loves it.