hermitage cafe

Another story I have about one of the “Cheap Eats” places involves the Hermitage Cafe. This place is one of my favorites and was a regular late-night stop for me when I lived downtown the first time around. A few years ago, my friend Nick got married and I, as the best man, was responsible for the bachelor party, which later in the night eventually rendez-voused with the bachelorette party and a good time was had by all until the bars closed, at which point I was responsible for corralling everyone and figuring out what to do.

Well, I heard a few different people starting to grumble about being hungry, and since the bars were closed, I figured what the hell, “I know this GREAT place! It’s only a little ways up 1st!” So we head off marching in that direction. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I guess I am more apt to walk places than others are. Personally I just think most people are lazy-asses (I was once given a hard time for walking from our office to a client on 7th and Commerce. Our office is on 2nd. wtf?). Anyways, I may have underestimated people’s disinclination to walk, especially at 3AM. I also didn’t have a very good handle on how many girls we had in tiny spike heels.

The worst mistake, though, was yet to be realized. I hadn’t lived downtown for 2 years and hadn’t had much occasion to go down there. I had no idea that, for the construction of the gateway bridge, 1st avenue was, essentially, reduced to nothing but rubble. This was a bad situation. After we passed a few bulldozers, inevitably, a heel was broken, and the “where the hell ARE we?”’s began. About 1/2 mile in to our trek, I was praying to god that this place would be open. I don’t even believe in god! I was already in very real danger of being lynched right there on the street – pummeled with purses and left to die in the jackhammered gutter, bleeding from stilleto-sized puncture wounds. If it was closed, that would seal the deal – I’d be a dead man.

Thankfully, a beacon of light emerged in the form of a brilliant “OPEN” sign, surrounded by cherubic angels, rainbows, and the glorious thundering of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in the background (at least that’s how I remembered it). I have never personally observed the Hermitage Cafe actually being closed, and they didn’t let me down this time. Their biscuits and gravy saved me, and when the gorging was done, the murmurs of outrage eventually subsided to begrudging moans of grease-saturation as we filed off into an army of cabs to go pass out. The morale? Much like beer, the Hermitage Cafe was the cause of, and the solution to, all of that night’s problems.