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One Less Temptation is One Less Joy

February 27, 2013

This stupid diet is just about over. Actually, I’m ending it a wee bit early. My bloodwork is scheduled for Friday morning. That means I just have two more days that I need to eat my chia seeds, although I’ve come to enjoy them. Last night was 100% whole grain pasta. This morning I’ll eat an extra helping of flax seeds in my granola with low fat yogurt.

I’m an artery-cleansing cholesterol-lowering eating machine.

My hope had been to get a little bit more exercising done in the last few weeks, but I strained something in my back and it wasn’t to be. The good news is that I’m down to about my high school weight. But why am I ending the diet early? I won’t say for certain, but it may have had something to do with a cheese party on Saturday night.

Once again I have scheduled my blood work and my doctor’s visit a week apart, so I have one grace week where I can do whatever I want. Woo hoo. I haven’t had more than a few nibbles of pizza in the last three months, nor have I had a hamburger.

Part of me wants to go to a diner for a heart attack on a plate. And that’s where I’ve run into a problem.

It would seem as if my favorite diner has closed.

Part of me is holding out that it hasn’t. That perhaps the family that runs the diner is on some kind of extended vacation and that they are going to come back and re-open their doors.

But I’ve been driving by the place for weeks. It’s never open. On the plus side, there is no For Sale sign on the building. There aren’t notices stuck to the door about owed debts or notices of service termination.

I have even tried reaching out to the family on Facebook, but have received no answer. Sure, they only know me as an occasional customer, but I would hope they would still write a quick reply if they got my note. In my warped mind, I see the lack of response as proof that they must be spending the winter somewhere in Ecuador where they don’t have the Internet.

The diner I’m talking about is Dewey’s.

And if you never had the chance to eat there, I’m sorry. The dynamics of the diner were perfect. It was a family affair with Tracy Dewey taking care of all the tables. And she took care of them, bringing coffee and a copy of the Times Union before you even thought to ask.

It wasn’t the kind of place with a menu. Mostly because they served breakfast. If you’ve had breakfast, you know what it is. It’s some combination of eggs, potatoes, meat, and bread. Maybe that bread’s in the form of a pancake. But regardless, Tracy’s mom Karen would make you what you wanted, quickly and well.

Or not so quickly. It takes some time to get a good crust on those awesome potatoes. Time and a lot of butter. And sometimes if it was slow, you might have to wait a while to get your potatoes. But it was well worth it.

Lunch items were written on paper plates and hung over the galley when the breakfast rush ended.

The first time I walked in there I was greeted warmly even though it was clear everyone else in the joint was a regular and I was an interloper. And the second time I was there, it was like I was one of the family. 

I’m not making this up. The vibe in that little ramshackle place was infectious.

Tracy’s dad and Karen’s husband Gordon would occasionally be there too. Like the rest of the Dewey’s he was a kidder and a character.

Little did I know when I was eating my bowls of oatmeal in the winter, or those delicious potatoes with a bit of Frank’s Red Hot, that I was part of a much longer history than I had ever imagined. As I was trolling the internet looking for information about why the diner has been dark recently I came across this amazing archive of an old Times Union article from 1998.

Man, I’d like to go there next week and have a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with a side of potatoes and a coffee. I’d sit at the counter and chit chat with the family and read the paper. It’s like old man heaven.

Whatever the Deweys are up to, I hope that they are well, and that they know they are missed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2013 12:14 pm

    Fussy, has it ever occurred to you that your doctor might read your blog and so be up to speed on all these shenanigans?

  2. February 27, 2013 3:47 pm

    As I mentioned on your prior post about the diner not being open, my understanding is that they closed because they simply couldn’t make ends meet. My husband and I were regulars and he popped in there late one morning and was told that they were not open because they were having a meeting to see whether they could continue on “financially.” The loss of Deweys is not only the loss of some really good diner food, it’s the loss of an old school dining experience. We will miss it dearly. However, as Burnt My Fingers points out, your doctor probably will not share in my disappointment.

  3. February 28, 2013 7:03 am

    I share your feelings about Dewey’s. I had a few memorable meals there when I first moved to Albany three years ago. It seems that small, locally-owned places are folding here just like Irish bars are in NYC (see the recent fate of the Emerald Inn on the UWS).

    I like the fact that Dan’s Place 2 is still around, though, and it seems to me to be a sign that things don’t change that much in these parts – except maybe out on Wolf Road and in other suburban “hotspots.” There are places other than Dan’s #2 with local color that still survive, like Famous Lunch, and they’ll hang on. I don’t think real estate prices will ever rise enough in this area to truly drive all of the region’s culinary landmarks out in favor of chain restaurants or Kate Spade boutiques (one of which replaced the aforementioned Emerald Inn, which had been in business since 1943, I believe, and which I remember with a certain hazy fondness from my time down there).

    Still, I’d pass on the free copy of the Times Union. I like Barnes, and I think Cheryl Clark is a rather facile reviewer for a small-circulation paper, but I’ve found that it takes me about ten minutes to go through a Sunday T-U and a pleasant three hours to work my way through the Sunday NYT. I’m not sure why the paper still exists, frankly. But I’d gladly suck up a copy if it meant that I’d get to have another great meal at Dewey’s. Thanks for the reminiscence.d

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