1468 Union Avenue
Tuesday night, after Satchel successfully earned his yellow belt in Taekwondo and Warren successfully finished his lat exam, we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate. Our plan was to go to Sean’s Deli. After a drive-by (it was 8:00pm), it looked pretty dead, so we decided to try Al-Rayan instead. (I actually argued that it wasn’t in existence anymore, but I was wrong.) Al-Rayan looked a little dead too, but our stomachs were growling so we went in anyway.
Right away Warren noticed a sign that read, “Cash only. No credit cards.” I had zero cash and Warren had about $15. We looked at the menu. We might be able to pull off a $15 meal, but we were celebrating and didn’t want to budget. “Let’s go somewhere else,” I said. The monkeys immediately started moaning, “Why? We like it here,” but Warren agreed. “Let’s get a shwarma to go,” he suggested. “I’ll take it for lunch tomorrow.”
He put in his order and I headed to the car with the monkeys, who were growing increasingly rowdy with no food. By the time Warren joined us, any hope of a sit down dinner had gone out the window. We needed food NOW. (Well, the monkeys did, I already had my hands on the shwarma.)
“You decide,” I said to Warren.
“How about Danver’s?” he said.
“Danver’s?” I asked. “Seriously?” Warren always wants to go to Danvers for some reason I had yet to determine.
“Yes, Danver’s,” he said. “One time I went and the manager was walking around checking on people and the food was really good.
Since I was half-way through the shwarma and I wanted the monkeys to have quick access to food, I said OK.
As we pulled in, the monkeys started complaining. “I don’t want to eat here!” Satchel whined. “I hate you, Mommy,” Jiro said.
Me? This wasn’t my choice! I couldn’t help laughing at the irony of it all. I’m sure they would have looked at their Middle Eastern plates at Al Rayan and surely turned their noses up.
“Can you guys at least try it before you decide you hate it?’ I asked.
“They have hamburgers,” I said.
This was enough to get Satchel on board. Hamburgers are his very favorite thing to eat. Once he was out of the car, Jiro had no choice but to suck it up. By the time we were inside, Jiro was sweetly inquiring, “What kind of food do they have here?”
“Hamburgers, roaster beef, chicken nuggets...” I fully expected him to stop me at chicken nuggets, his usual, but he didn’t. “...french fries, baked potatoes...”
“I think I’ll try a hamburger,” he said.
This might sound crazy, but Jiro has never had a hamburger. He just has never had any interest. “Are you sure?” I asked. He was.
When Satchel heard me say baked potato, he was practically jumping for joy. “I want one too,” Jiro said. They had already eyed the salad bar and were thinking ahead to the possibility of unlimited access to cheese, bacon bits, and butter.
I placed our order while Warren sat down with boys. When our $25 total came up, I couldn’t help groaning. Then, like a miracle, the woman behind the counter said, “You had kids with you, right?” I nodded. “It’s kids eat free night.” Score! Our new total was a much more pleasant $15.
When our food was ready, I motioned for the boys to come over. Warren walked them through the salad bar, letting them dress their burgers and potatoes. Having ordered a roast beef sandwich and fries, I only needed horseradish and ketchup. The boys absolutely loved dressing their own stuff and by the time we sat down, they were all smiles.
“What did the place used to be?” Warren asked me. Sometimes I don’t know if he is just making conversation or if he really thinks I know stuff like this.
“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s been a Danver’s as long as I can remember.’
“It looks a little like Pizza Hut,” he said.
“It tastes a little like Pizza Hut too,” Satchel said as he took a big bite of his burger. Then he continued, “This is better than McDonald’s. I wish all of the McDonald’s were torn down and replaced with this Danver’s. Actually, I wish every building was torn down and replaced with Danver’s. Except houses.”
Clearly Satchel has a bright future in urban planning.
Next Jiro chimed in. “I love hamburgers!” He was plowing right through his.
“Want to know my favorite places?” Satchel asked. Not waiting for a response, he began listing them. “Danver’s, CK’s, and Will’s house.”
“Will’s house?” I asked.
“Yeah, Mr. Aaron (Will’s dad) makes the best hamburgers ever. He cooks them on the grill for twenty minutes.”
“Is that so,” I said politely.
“Do they work all night here?” Satchel asked, clearly wondering if Danver’s should outrank CK’s.
Jiro, who was now eating his loaded baked potato said, “I love this!” And if that weren’t thanks enough, he continued, “Thank you, Mommy. Thank you for coming here.”