Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shoney's Happy Hour is better than their brunch

My husband and I met at the University of Kentucky when I was 19 years old.  We met at his fraternity house,  during a house party in which my favorite band from Louisville was playing, The Merry Pranksters.  (We also had this band at our wedding, much to my mother's dismay.)  I came after work and still had my "High on Rose" uniform on - black jeans, high on rose t-shirt and cowboy boots.  I later got fired for this very outfit because I did not adhere to the dresscode, but let me back up.

I was dancing with this dude in my English class, did a 360 degree turn (which was part of my fraternity party interpretive dance routine) and I opened my eyes (yes, I used to close my eyes during the turn) and there stood Brad Underwood, my future husband.  With a glazed look in his eye he spoke the first of one hundred million sentences he would speak to me in my lifetime.

"What sorority are you in?"  It was love at first sight.  I could not have found this profoundly deep man in the middle of the dance floor at the Delt house by happenstance.  He was sweeping me off my feet while "Goin down the road feelin bad" played in the background.  It was kismit.

One thing led to another and as the legend goes, his friend, we'll call him "Andy" took one look at us "making out" on the steps and said he thought, "there goes my best friend forever."  Yes.  I was THAT hot.  I reeked of stale tortilla chips, fajita smoke, and sweat.  Who wouldn't be into that?  Well, Brad certainly was and I have three children to prove it.

"Andy" was the best man in our wedding.  We went out the other night with he and his wife (who I love) and we were reminiscing about college.  "Andy" is like going out with a 75-year-old man, now.  He wants his drinks and his food a certain way and he is extremely opinionated, but in a non-threatening way, if that makes sense. (I once had a waitress ask me if my "wife", referring to Andy, would like another drink.)  He is exasperating, but you get the meal, or appetizer, or drink in it's best form, only you're afraid to eat it because there might be spit on it.   You can completely ride him about it, too,  because he is good-natured at the same time.  It is a bizarre combination, but one that I appreciate. 

Anyway, I was really good friends with Andy because I was always with Brad and they were roommates.  There were always a cast of characters at their house and it was always a good time.  Andy made the best bloody marys in the world and as I told him the other night, he never ONCE made me feel uncomfortable or imposing in any way - and he COULD have, I was ALWAYS there.  For that, I am endeared to him forever.

So Andy worked at Shoney's for a while and let's just be honest, that color scheme does not flatter anyone. When he would walk in, in his maroon, brown and gold uniform, we could just never get used to it. We would just lose it when Andy would walk in after his shift.  Brad and I seemed always able to compose ourselves for Saturday brunch, though. That is when Shoney's held their "friends of Andy eat free" promotion. I think it was that "fish out of water" phenomenon, where if you take something out of its natural habitat, it is almost unrecognizable.

Of course, Andy was loved by everyone who worked there and he worked harder than any server in the history of Shoney's.  The problem was that when Andy went in to work, he did not always make hygiene his top priority.  Andy quit one day when he showed up for brunch and they wanted him to go home and change because his uniform was too dirty and disheveled.  He never came back, and that night his coworkers threw him a party.

Now I was a sorority girl, through and through, and a "party" to me meant putting hot rollers in my hair and wearing something black to make me look older - you know, in case I needed to use my fake i.d.  We show up to this apartment that resembled a Motel 6.  The door opens to a galley-like living room where two couches faced each other.  They were spilling over with Shoney-uniformed middle aged women smoking cigarettes and bitching about their customers or their managers or both. Apparently, Andy's exit had started a revolution of sorts and this was the angriest happy hour I had ever been to.

"So then that Son of a Bitch asked me to clean the sneeze guard, after I had clocked out!" spat one woman as she exhaled cigarette smoke out her nose.

"I asked off for Thursday because I got my supervised visit that day and you know he told me he would think about it.  That's just buuuuullllshhhhiiiittt," replied the other.

"Did you see that bitch in the booth at 19?"  one woman missing some teeth, leaned in, "She left me $1.50 on 25.  Bitch, ain't you HEARD about 20% tippin'?  Don't go out to eat if you can't pay for the service."  She went on, "I don't care if you did get the buffet.  I got two mouthz ta feed".
They all stopped talking and turned to stare at Brad and me in the doorway.  The irony of my "big girl" outfit was not lost on them.  Andy waved from the middle of the couch.  Brad whispered out of the side of his mouth like a ventriloquist, "You wanna go?"

I took one look around the room at all of the fresh material I would be missing and wiped the saliva that was exiting the corner of my mouth, "Oh HELL no.  We are staying RIGHT here."

My favorite brunch spot is Spagio.  My friend and I stumbled upon it one game day when we were supposed to be watching OSU.  Northstar Cafe is also good and I think  GoodDay Cafe on fifth is pretty reasonable too.  Check them out.

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