Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008, 1:06 pm

I’ve been busy since I got back from Vegas. Went to the lake for 2 days, and yesterday a very special friend came into town for the Jimmy Buffet concert. She got in around 2pm and we decided on a late lunch. But where? She likes Atria’s, which is a small chain of restaurants here in the ‘Burgh, but she also likes Marzoni’s, the brewpub that’s literally a stone’s throw from my flat. We were both thirsty, I was in the mood for a chicken salad, so we decided on Marzoni’s.

I sensed something was amiss when we drove up and the parking lot was empty. It wasn’t that unusual for there to be a lull between lunch and Happy Hour at 4pm, but the empty lot was ominous. We parked, walked up to the door, but when I pulled on it there was a metallic THUNK. And that’s when I saw the sign:

Closed. It’s closed. And I missed the last day it was open. I got back from the lake that night and even thought about stopping. A salad, a beer…be a nice way to reintroduce myself to the place. But I was tired, I needed a shower, and as I drove past the lot the joint was packed. I figured I’d go Monday or Tuesday, so I stopped at Wendy’s instead. Wendy’s, bah.

I slumped against the wall. "Are you OK?" she said, with real concern. She loves this place too, and knows how much I enjoyed having a brewpub within walking distance of my home. Closed. I couldn’t believe it. It was only open a year…we didn’t have enough time together. To be honest, I had some fears that I’d come back from Vegas and find the place shuttered. It did good business at lunch, and seemed to do OK at dinner, but on the days when I stayed there past 7:30 it was pretty deserted. Good food, good beer, but I think the place was too big (and the space wasn’t used as well as it might’ve been). It also didn’t get a big chunk of the nighttime bar crowd, as most people probably thought of it as a sit-down restaurant.

I’m in mourning. I have a glass Marzoni’s growler sitting on my kitchen counter–it’s just a souvenir now. I was a member of their mug club, and while I got my money’s worth I’m gonna miss out on five months of freebies and extra suds. And what suds. Their Pale Ale was a masterpiece.

There is a Marzoni’s still open near Penn State. I checked Google Maps and it’d be about a two-hour drive. A two-hour drive compared to a two-minute walk. My heart, it’s broken. The area around my apartment has gone through a boomlet over the last year or so. A couple of big shopping centers have opened, a strip mall is going through major renovations. I think the Buffalo Wild Wings up the road stole a lot of Marzoni’s action…and I hate Buffalo Wild Wings. There’s a little bar in the strip mall just by my flat, I guess I’ll stop in some day for a taste, but it’s just a bar. No brick-oven pizza, no sweet-chili wings, no chicken salad.

Maybe something new will move in there soon. Newly-renovated building, good location, plenty of parking. I hope so. Because every time I leave my apartment I have to drive past the place, and I’m gonna get thirsty every time I look at it. I’m thirsty right now. Too many tears will do that to you. Sigh.

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2 Responses to “Bereft”

  1. Rachael Ray Says:

    Cry Baby

  2. Darx Says:

    That’s how I felt when the only decent Indian restaurant in Cleveland closed. But after a year of mourning, I did find another (although it’s an hour drive from me instead of 10 minutes). I hope you get a reasonable replacement in a respectable time period. Meanwhile, condolences on the loss.

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