Lunchtime Gridlock

Posted by The LunchMen Friday, January 21, 2011

Anyone who ever asked a woman where she wants to eat is familiar with the phrase: “I don’t care.”  The website dearblankpleaseblank.com provides the best solution to this common problem:

Dear Restaurateurs,

Please open a restaurant called "I Don't Care" so I can finally take my girlfriend to eat at the place she's always talking about...


Annoyed Men

Today’s lunch provided us with an interesting counter-study in the male response to the common question – where do you want to eat?  In our office, the dynamic almost always involves 2 or more competing ideas and 1 or more absolute vetoes.  On a day like today, it can take a skilled mediator most of the morning to settle on a lunch call; because much like Cartman from South Park, many of the Lunchmen will bail on lunch altogether if certain restaurants or cuisines are selected.  For example, the monomaniacal Rabbit not only displays an unflinching devotion to all things salad, he also unequivocally refuses to eat Indian food.  Often accused of xenophobia, Rabbit insists he just can’t stand to be in the same room as curry.  His steadfast refusal has derailed many a fine lunch. 

Today, however, didn’t involve the Rabbit-maligned deliciousness that is Indian food.  Today was a simple six man Friday call.  After 45 minutes, Tank skillfully crafted a compromise: Tony’s in Cayce for the pizza buffet and a couple philly cheesesteaks.  We headed off in multiple vehicles.  Tex, Kali and Rabbit went ahead while Tank, the Dude, and I followed.  When Tank’s care pulled into Parkland Plaza, a disturbed Rabbit came running into the parking lot waving his arms like a lunatic.  Tony’s, he reported, did not have the usual and customary pizza buffet.  We were dismayed. 

After a little wrangling, we abandoned Tony’s for the obvious audible, The Kingsman.  Unfortunately, the “Pearl of Cayce” was slammed with no tables available, much less one that could accommodate a sixsome.  Gridlock ensued.  Palmetto Pig, Sandy’s Hot Dogs, Vellas, Which Wich, Carolina Café, and others were all met with the sort of resistance typically reserved by rednecks for universal healthcare.  Throw a looming one o’clock conference call into the mix, and you’ve got some real logistical problems further complicating matters.  Despite his best efforts, Tank couldn’t lift the group out of this jam, so the group splintered. 

Tex, Rabbit and I enjoyed a fabulous meal at the Kingsman thanks to a few regulars who just vacated their tables.  Kali, Tank and the Dude, on the other hand, went down a dark and dangerous path.  The siren song of free chips and salsa tugged the splinter cell, led by Kali, across the boulevard to Monterreys.  Yes, that Monterreys.  The one that caters equally to the destitute and the underaged.  The one where the only thing authentic is the unreliable air conditioning.  The one that Tank suspects uses reconstituted meat; the kind shaved from Bovine ankles, melted in a fat, powdered in plastic and frozen for your convenience. 

Tank’s horror story on his return made me uneasy.  In fact, I can’t even stand to repeat it, and he can’t bear to write it down.  The wretched place is so well known in Columbia, we won’t even waste our time providing a review.  Suffice it to say that Monterrey’s is to restaurants what snuff films are to theater.   Instead of recounting this experience, we hope you’ll learn from our mistakes.  We admonish you, hell, we beg you: travel light in numbers, give yourself ample time, and be flexible for the good of the group.  Your lunch depends on it. 

- The Publican


  1. discjo Says:
  2. Tont's is down the street from Parkland --Just past Vella's and they never had a pizza buffet. It has been here since the late 50's -- Ps I can never get the videos to launch -- Thank Discjo@aol.com

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Discjo - There are actually 2 Tony's in that area of Cayce. The one you are referring to, and another in the Parkland Shopping Center. It normally has pizza buffets, but not last week


  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. Which hospital are Kali, Tank, and the Dude at?
    Get well soon, yall!


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Rabbit, Tank, and The Publican are three dudes just trying to get through the work week here in Columbia. Rabbit is a Columbia native, Tank is from Charleston, and The Publican hails from Greenville. Rabbit's favorite lunch spot is the No Name Deli on Elmwood, where you may find him putting down a grilled chicken salad and a side of vinegar pasta. The Publican usually wants to find food to cure his all-too-common hangovers. Tank claims no favorite lunch spot - he lives for the thrill of the hunt.


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