Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Art of Leisurely Dining and A Grumpy Old Man

I was practically raised around the kitchen table. Meals at our house growing up were never the “grab and go” sort of thing; they were always more of an event. The entire family would gather around the table and sit there for what felt like forever. In the mornings it was where you planned out your day and in the evenings it was where you caught up with each other. Eating and talking for hours: this is the way I grew up...

It’s only natural that as an adult I still find myself lingering over food; whether it be at home or in a restaurant. Meals are not only a source of fuel but also an excuse to socialize.

Which leads me to a funny story.

On a recent trip back home to Philadelphia my husband and I were lingering over a late lunch at Mr. Joe’s Café. We had enjoyed some delicious handmade spinach gnocchi soup, a rather large antipasto salad and some fresh pastries from Termini Brothers Bakery; located across the street.

Let me explain Mr. Joe’s Café is a small coffee shop owned by Vince Termini. Vince built the cafe on the site of the original Termini Brothers Bakery; which was started back in 1921 by his father. The menu is small but has everything from soup, salad, sandwiches, pastas and meats. Dessert and wine are included with every order; but if you choose to, and of course I did, you are welcome to purchase your own dessert from the bakery across the street. It's a very nice setup…but I’m digressing.

Back to our lunch. We had finished eating and were enjoying each other’s company waiting for our check to arrive. From the other side of the small room a man approached our table and immediately started harassing us. He told us that it should have been very obvious that he was waiting for a table. And that it was very rude of us to not have vacated ours. How dare us continue to linger.

My husband and I looked at each other kind of shocked; both of us thinking "do you know this guy?" Trying not to make more of a scene we let him know that not only do we have every right to the table but that we hadn't even gotten our check yet.
At this point "grumpy old man" stomped off like a wounded child but not before lashing out with one last accusation…"Yes… you did get your check." Hubby and I burst out in laughter.  It was obvious to us that this man had no idea how to enjoy a meal and was probably looking for a quick "grab and go" meal. 

I'm so glad I was raised to appreciate the art of  leisurely dining. 

***Please note this scene should have no reflection on Mr. Joe's Cafe. This place is wonderful and the perfect spot to enjoy a late lunch or early dinner. (they close at 5pm)****


  1. what a poor, lonely old man to have to be so rude! I love lingering over a meal, especially when being shared with people I love, and good wine :)

  2. My family is the same way! We always take at least three hours when we go out to eat...and anything less feels like we're being gypped!

  3. That poor impatient, hungry soul! We linger too...sometimes even the wait staff has gotten a little impatient with us!

  4. Great story, thanks for sharing. I'm with you. I enjoy slow, leisurely meals - especially when there is good food and good company.

  5. There's no reason to be rude. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.

  6. Man...I miss Philly sometimes!! I grew up south of it and spent so much time there. The, you have me drooling!!

  7. What an incredibly rude man, but it did make an interesting story, lol. I grew up the same way you did and to this day I just love taking my time at the table. One of our pet peeves is restaurants that don't let you linger and want to rush you through your meal and out the door.

  8. I'm sorry you had to endure his tirade.

    It's so emblematic of the "me" generation.

  9. I am a strong believer that if more people ate together, particularly families we wouldn't have so many problems in the world. So many of my life lessons were learned at the dinner table with my family. We learned how to have a discussion instead of an argument (and sometimes how to win an argument if you ended up having one). We learned about manners, love, and selflessness. We talked about the happenings in life and I slowly discovered a love for food. I'm sorry you had to endure his tirade, but I'm SO glad you value eating and enjoying a meal!