Once in a while I venture off the beaten path into Richmond’s dive bar scene. I don’t mind slummin’ it to stay on budget (and avoiding cooking something). Plus, you just never know when you are going to find a hidden gem.
This was not one of those times.
I have a strict policy not to post any negative experiences, but my trip to a local hole was so comical that I wanted to share it without naming names. Locals may guess where it is, but I will never tell.
The place is what you would expect from a dive bar, no frills, no fuss, no windows.
I had forgotten what it was like when people smoked inside, but was reminded in a big way since every person in the place was smoking, including the hooker and pimp in the booth next to us, the patrons that filled every barstool and the waitress. (To her credit, she did set her cigarette down in the ashtray in the empty booth behind us before taking our order.)
The menu was what I would expect from a neighborhood spot, burgers, sandwiches and American style entrees. I decided to go for it an order the cheese steak. When the waitress asked me what I wanted, our conversation went like this:
Waitress: What do you want?
Me: I’ll have the Famous Cheese Steak
Waitress: You mean the Philly?
Me: (Reading and pointing to the menu) this one, the famous cheese steak.
Waitress: (looking very annoyed) Yeah, the Philly.
She was charming.
After we ordered, I got a little nervous because one of the particularly raspy-voiced guests at the bar started taking orders for Taco Bell. Five customers, two waitresses and what looked to be the cook all put in their selections that included the Doritos locos tacos. Not a good sign.
So, how was my food? The cheese steak just as good as any I have ever had in Philly. The steak was perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of cheese all on a great roll. It came with tater tots that were fresh out of the fryer. It was junk food at its finest and our tab for two people including ten Miller Lite bottles was under $30.
So even though I was scared for my safety and my clothes had to immediately go in the wash when I got home, it wasn’t a bad dinner. I may not be running back there, but this is a memory I will have forever.