The Making of a Restaurant

Friday, December 07, 2001

The New York Times tells the delicious story of the 25-year feud between Sal and Jimmy, two brother restaurateurs: "The five daughters of Sal do not speak to the three sons and three daughters of Jimmy. This, despite the reality that both families spend all their days, and not a few nights, working on either side of a common wall that is two bricks thick... A small hand-lettered red and green sign outside Sal's Grosseria says it all: 'Hero-Boy is not affiliated with us!'"

It inspires a great idea for a restaurant.

Two restaurants, in fact.

But first, one restaurant -- a large, beautiful restaurant that we both are proud of. After about a year, however, we invent an altercation, a dispute so unyielding that we must forever end our partnership. As our friendship is cleaved, so is the restaurant, split in two like a grapefruit. Up goes a wall, in come the sign painters, and voila : "Luke and Sandy's" becomes "Luke's" and "Sandy's."

And then it gets fun. Although in private we remain buddies, in public we're an obstinate pair of bickering rivals. We spit on one another, we throw things, we yell and curse down the sidewalk. We plot shenanigans worthy of Spy vs. Spy.

Come for the feud, stay for the food. It would be a shtick so convincing that diners would drop by just to see us fight. "It was great!" they'll say to their chowhound friends. "Luke called Sandy a cow, so Sandy slung a slab of sirloin in Luke's face and screamed, 'Who's the cow now, huh?!' I can't wait to go back!" Even though we'd serve identical food -- unbeknownst to our diners, we'd maintain a cooperative kitchen -- people would swear one was superior to the other. It would be as though each of us were the Tide to the other's Cheer.

A pox upon Sandy's! Ptooey! Eat at Luke's!

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Methinks that's a bit of a stretch. Wouldn't Al Calzone be better?

More suggestions: Hare Jordan. Spuds Turkel. Sears Tuna. Saul-ty Pretzel with Bellow Mustard. Fried Oprah.

(The last one reminds me of an idea my father had for the supermarket he used to run: a contest to give away okra. The posters would say, "Okra: Win Free!")
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No, no. Al Cup o' Noodles would be a nod to Al Capone.

Kup gets his due in our "Ice cream with peanut butter cups in it."
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Monday, December 03, 2001

Don't you mean Irv Kup O' Noodles?
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Would it be too corny to incorporate Chicago locations and lore into our menu?


But if it weren't, here are some things we could feature: Belmont Steaks. Chicken Cordon Bleu Island. Beef Wellington. Miso Leary Soup. Lincoln on the Cob. LSD Orange Juice. Cermak 'n' Cheese. Sheffield Salad. Our Daley Bread. Filet of Soldier Field. Al Cup o' Noodles.
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New strategy: we kidnap Mama and force her to spill her secrets. Anyone who can make patrons line up outside her restaurant on a daily basis -- in the pouring rain no less -- has to be doing something right.
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