What year is it?

(a photo of our heaven from Yelp)

Apparently I didn't take the chicken from the freezer soon enough yesterday because it was still frozen like a rock when I got home from work. So oh darn, we went out to out favorite neighborhood joint.

Our "regular" place used to be a gas station, and when they converted it over, they left the canopy up for people to park under. It's tucked away in the back of the 'hood, off the beaten path, and easy to pass by. It doesn't even have a big sign. Go in and there's wood paneling floor to ceiling, a u-shaped bar that hasn't been recovered since the seventies, and the specials are written on those little blacklight signs that hang on the wall. The beer specials come in bottles only and are whatever they happen to have in the cooler. We suspect it's family owned, because the main server's name is Bev and the other waitress looks like she could be Bev's daughter. The grill is behind the bar on the back wall and the cook comes by to chat with you once in a while.

It's heaven.

It's the kind of place where strangers will strike up conversations from table to table and regulars give Bev sass as they order another beer. We sit and people watch the whole time we're there - the men and women surrounding us all obviously work hard and belong to their community in a way we haven't fallen into yet. Friday Fish Fry (an institution in Wisconsin) is sacred, standing room only, people patiently waiting for an hour or more for fresh, crackling hot fried fish sandwiches with slaw and fries. The nightly specials range from meatloaf to steak to cheeseburger soup to pulled pork. The mixed drinks are strong and cheap and served to you with a "There you go, baby."

Tonight I sat at the bar in our wood-paneled heaven, had a prime rib steak and two old fashioneds, mashed potatoes and corn, and when I told Bev I was trying to gain weight, she brought me out a piece of cherry crisp with a huge dollop of Cool Whip on top. The Savoy it ain't, but it is home.

And no, I'm not telling you where it is. :)