Warning: Do not consume liquids while reading this. It could result in the frying of your keyboard should the liquids escape your mouth during a guffaw. An hilarious installment from Andria
The Bar-B-Q Shop
1782 Madison Ave.
Upon arriving at The Bar-B-Q Shop, we heard the words no one wants to hear at a Memphis barbecue restaurant:
“We’re out of ribs.”
Gasp! To be fair, it was the 4th of July, and even with pre-orders and reasonable estimation, they just couldn’t keep up with holiday picnic demand. It wasn’t really a big deal, though, since we were just there for some sandwiches. And I wasn’t even all that interested in eating after stumbling out of the car, my sandaled foot slipping on a squishy substance that unfortunately revealed itself to be a pulverized squirrel. Hey, who’s hungry?
Jeff, Jeff's dad, the Monkey (age 3) and I were seated and quickly beveraged by Robert, who gave us a moment to ponder our remaining options after dropping the no-rib bombshell. A pre-lunch sidewalk chalk adventure necessitated a side trip to the restroom for the Monkey and I. Small, changing table-less but reasonably clean, I found the bathroom adequate but not especially appealing. Apparently, the Monkey disagreed. We’d been back at the table for approximately 30 seconds before she said she had to pee. So back we went, and the trip was actually successful. Woo! Oh, the little joys in life.
Back at the table, the Monkey busied herself with the artificial sweetener container and repeated maneuvers toward my Sierra Mist. When she got tired of that, she asked to go to the bathroom again (and was refused). She was acting tolerably, by our usual standards, but I could tell Jeff was stressing out over his dad’s impression of her behavior (Jeff’s only memory of childhood spanking occurred after he went ballistic at a restaurant and threw a roll at another table, and I think he’s got this deep-seated fear that an ill-behaved child will cause his Bruce Banner of a father to suddenly go all Hulk). So I gave the Monkey a small pot of knock-off Play-Doh that I discovered in my bag, and that settled everyone down.
Compared to other barbecue restaurants like Central BBQ and Corky’s, it seemed to take quite a long time for the food to arrive. I’m guessing this had something to do with the $5.95 plate of steaming-hot chicken tenders we ordered off of the “child’s menu.” I don’t know why I got sucked into that racket, since my own pork sandwich and side of beans cost less than the Monkey’s meal, but oh well. They were really good tenders, as I discovered after wrenching the entire plate away from her once she started diving fist-first into the honey mustard. She ate a majority of her fries and almost one entire tender. Jeff and I finished the rest, even the condiment-drowned pieces. Then she asked to go to the bathroom.
My theory is this: the initial bathroom visit is purely a reconnaissance mission to determine what enticing pleasures lie hidden among the toilets. This trip is too exciting to be productive. The second visit usually bears better results and can be hurried along by the impending meal. The third visit is just for fun, especially now that every midtown restaurant has converted to touchless paper towel dispensers. And the fourth visit is specifically designed to make my head explode. If we weren’t (still …) in the middle of potty training, I’d cut her off after the first trip, but since I still have the foolish idealism of a first-time parent, I’ve convinced myself that denying her a needed toilet break will cause some permanent Freudian trauma. Anyway, back to the restaurant …
I’m not sure if it took a long time for the bill to arrive or if Jeff and his dad were just enjoying a leisurely post-lunch chat (while waiting for the womenfolk to get back from the bathroom, again), but we eventually cleared the check and departed for the car. I stepped carefully into the backseat (hello, Cyril) while at least two members of the party expressed dismay that they hadn’t eaten more chicken. Maybe they should change their name to The Bar-B-Q and Chick-n Tenderz Shop.