Luke Church

Construct me a meal, will ya?
Construct me a meal, will ya?

The loss of Woolworth’s is one of the worst things to ever happen to Western Civilization.

This is why . . .

It is certainly not endemic to Charlottesville, but it seems there is a flourishing of restaurants here that are incapable of offering a simple meal made from recognizable ingredients.  My wife and I recently visited a new restaurant because it sounded intriguing.  I ordered a Sloppy Joe.  A Sloppy Joe is ground hamburger with onions, tomato sauce and spices on a bun, right?  Nope.  What I got was ground turkey with roasted poblano and pepperjack cheese on some sort of dinner roll.

Please stop deconstructing my food.

On a recent trip to Roanoke, we stopped in a dive bar off Route 11 for lunch.  This is what we do when we travel, we look for locally owned restaurants, avoiding the ubiquitous chain ‘eateries’.  I ordered, and received, a fried bologna sandwich with chips.  I did not get organic free range bologna sauteed in a balsamic reduction on a gluten free roll with kale chips.  I got fried baloney on white bread with mayonnaise and potato chips.  As Samwise Gamgee would say, “poe-tay-toe”.

And, this is why the loss of Woolworth’s is such a blow to our way of life;  their lunch counter.

Grilled pimento cheese sandwich, meatloaf with brown gravy and mashed potatoes, pressed ham sandwich, egg salad, chicken salad, BLT, three-decker club sandwich, roast turkey dinner with dressing and cranberry sauce (any day of the year!), open face roast beef sandwich with gravy, a Deluxe Tulip Sundae, jumbo banana split, malted milk, milk shakes, double dip chocolate ice cream soda and, the pinnacle of Woolworth cuisine:  Frito Pie, a bag of Frito corn chips with chili and cheese . . . in the bag!  And, I don’t care what Anthony Bourdain called it.

So, this is what I think should happen;  someone should open an unassuming restaurant (no retro kitsch decor), that serves the Woolworth menu.  Just take a menu from the 50s and one from the 70s and combine them.  No surprises.  Just plain, good food.  Someone should do this, but not me, because I know operating a restaurant is back breaking labor.  But if someone would do this, I would eat there every day.


(Photo credit:  Danny Clifford/