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Can You Smell What Schoeney is Cooking?

NostraDennisFriday, June 8, 2007
By NostraDennis

"Scott. Customers at table 60. And this time, don't screw it up."

"Yes, sir, Mr. Randolph." His shoulders slumped as he headed to the table dejectedly. The middle-aged couple looked up from their menus and smiled.

"Good evening, folks, and welcome to Schoeney's. I'm Scott, and I'll be serving it up to you today."

"Now, what's wrong, dearie?" the woman asked. "You look so sad today."

"Oh, nothing, ma'am, I've just had a rough couple of days. Do you know what you'd like to order yet?"

The man barked gruffly, "What do you have that's any good?"

"Well, sir, if I may say so myself, people come from all over right here to Flushing, Queens, to get a taste of Schoeney's home cooking."

The man looked unconvinced. "I've never heard of a Shoney's in New York before."

"Not Shoney's, sir. Schoeney's. There are a few extra letters in there. To avoid copyright problems, I guess. Anyway, satisfied customers from Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Philadelphia have feasted on Schoeney's offerings, and that's in just the past six weeks. Even some fellows from the Bronx drove over a few weeks back. They liked it so much, they got two orders of take-out."

"Take-out?" The woman's face brightened. "I didn't know Schoeney's offered food to go."

"Sure do, ma'am. I've served up some tasty meatballs recently. In fact, that's kind of why I'm in trouble with the boss. He keeps telling me not to keep giving stuff away every time I come in to work, but I guess I just can't help myself. I've always been told to leave your guest smiling, and lately, that's what I've been doing."

"You poor dear," the woman consoled him. "Maybe you need a vacation."

"Maybe I do," Scott sighed, "Whenever I'm away from this place, these things never seem to happen. And I think Mr. Randolph -- he's the boss -- and Mr. Peterson -- he's that guy in corner wearing the jacket and staring at me funny -- might be thinking of cutting my hours."

The old man, unmoved, said, "Well, that's a nice story, but how about some food? What are the specials today?"

"Well, the Cheese Steak is good. Those guys from Philadelphia came in for a little taste the other night, and they liked what I served them so much, they came back for more last night. Then we have the All-Star Breakfast; that's eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns, served sidearm, right over the plate."

"Right over the plate?" The old man's face brightened. "I'd jump all over that."

"Yes, sir. Lately, everyone seems to do that. And for you, ma'am?"

"What is this here -- the Schoeney's Blue and Orange plate special?"

"That's where the guys I work with put together one of our tasty lunch specials, and I drop it while serving it to you. Makes a big mess. It doesn't sound that appetizing, but it's quite popular."

The woman said, "I think I'll have that", and both customers took their forks into their right hands expectantly.

Damn, Scott thought to himself, more righthanders. He looked over at Mr. Peterson, who closed his eyes and shook his head, anticipating what was coming next. The phone next to Mr. Peterson rang.

"Hello? Yeah, hi, Mr. Randolph. Get Smitty ready? Will do. What's that? Yes, sir. I'll have him bring a mop just in case."

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

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Comments (1)

That was terrible

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