Monday, October 03, 2005

Uncle Frank Broke My Heart

I read an article in the Metro about Uncle Frank's BBQ last week, and planned a trip for Friday to go get a slice of smoked heaven. Unfortunately, I planned this trip to include my family. One critical point not mentioned in the article was that Francesca's, the dive bar in which Frank's is housed, is 21-and-over. The only way into Frank's is through Francesca's.

When I walked in with my wife and my two daughters (4 and 2 years old), we were greeted by a woman screeching, "You're not allowed in here with them. Get on out." This was as she made a shoo-ing gesture with her arm. I peered in to look behind the bar for someone tending, and said, "But we're here for the restaurant, not for the bar."

I had hopes that the rules might be like in Nevada, where children are allowed to pass through the casino on the way to somewhere else in the hotel. I was encouraged by a man also sitting at the bar who told the woman to be quiet, and beckoned us towards the back. Encouraged, the four of us walked through to the back, and I asked the man at the register if we could eat here with the kids.

He was really apologetic and kind about it as he told me "No." I told him that there was no mention of the age restriction in the article. He said that they had strongly emphasized with the reporter that they're 21-and-over for now, but they're working on the patio and a permit to allow underage eaters. I wish that fact had made it into the article. As it was, I could see the food. I could smell the food. I just had to resign myself that I wouldn't be eating any of the food.

As we retreated, we endured the looks from the restaurant and bar patrons. They were looking at us like we were from another planet. We weren't. We're from Los Altos. Maybe that was the reason the woman was rude. Maybe Francesca's is her place. Her and her drinking buddies have been getting together for years, and now the sweet scent of barbeque will be bringing people (families, for heaven's sake!) from across the tracks to her dive. Perhaps she resents that invasion the same way you resent an invasion of yellowjackets at a backyard barbeque.

Maybe someday I'll get to taste that brisket, but not today.

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