Get a Life – January 6, 2006

By Claire Mazur

Mazur family vacations always inevitably morph into two-week-long discussions/symposiums/colloquiums/celebrations of my most awful and inherent flaws. So, when conversation at a recent dinner in Milan turned to why I would never find a spouse until I became a more patient/polite/forgiving/accepting person, I wasn’t fazed.

But while I long ago gave up on gaining my family’s approval, at 21, I’m not quite ready to admit defeat in marriage—or at least some sort of a long-term emotionally and sexually satisfying partnership. Thus, my New Year’s resolution: to be a nicer person. (You, too, may have concluded that my family is a bunch of jerks who don’t deserve to be beneficiaries of my resolution. They are exempt.)

The success of my resolution will signal the end of an era—I’ll truly miss my smart-ass comments, my overbearing honesty, and my brazen bitchiness, though probably no one else will. It’s not the same, but when I’m feeling particularly sappy (lost without my trademark rudeness), I’ll always have Ed Debevic’s, where the motto is “Eat and Get Out.”

This ’50s-style diner specializes in a waitstaff who thrives on dishing out short-order fare with caustic comments and copious amounts of sass. They’ll criticize and mock you with reckless abandon, and somehow it ends up coming across as slightly, well, charming. (I’ve always liked to think of myself in a similar manner.)

The food at Ed’s is significantly less distinct than the waitstaff. It’s no different than any typical greasy spoon menu. If all you’re looking for is a classic hamburger and fries, or a bit of childhood nostalgia in the form of grilled cheese or meatloaf, you won’t leave disappointed; you also won’t leave thrilled. The sundaes, pies, and classic malt shakes are probably your best bet if you’re really looking to be impressed. There’s no kid’s menu, but the list is pretty kid-friendly to begin with, offering such childhood favorites as hot dogs and chicken fingers.

What makes this place memorable has very little to do with the food. Rather, it’s the dead-on campy décor and general tone of the whole place. Neon lights, an antique soda fountain, oversized gumball machines, and classic oldies (danced to by waiters dressed like Elvis and Marilyn) come together to generate a sort of pervasive cheer that manages to shine through the decidedly sour attitude of the staff. Try to avoid the place on weekends and other high-traffic times, as the place is first-come, first-serve, and there are often large school groups crowding the parking lot and waiting for tables.

This is the place to bring your parents and younger siblings when they come to visit—because while you might not be able to lash out at your nagging mother as much as you’d like, it’s almost as fun watching your waiter do it.