Decades and centuries ago Miss Carol and me frequented the Vienna Inn. We slurped up their cold beer and feasted on their deliciously heart attacky chili cheese dogs.
But then we moved away to the beach and, just like a cast off girlfriend, the Vienna Inn was kicked to the curb and forgotten.
This past weekend we were in that part of the world celebrating a nephew’s graduation from high school and acceptance to Radford AND celebrating my brother’s acceptance into old age. In amongst celebratory bouts of eating and drinking Miss Carol and me wanted to visit a restaurant in Arlington that had been showcased on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.
Goofy as it sounds, I have a list of restaurants in cities around the country that have been highlighted on foodie shows that I’d like to visit if and when we’re in the vicinity.
We almost made it to the first one.
Headed into Arlington on Route 7, sitting at a traffic light, I suddenly, inexplicably, remembered The Vienna Inn. And a burning wanting began. Then that burning wanting became a terrible need. I whined like a little girl until Miss Carol was all like fine let’s just go there instead.
So we did. And you know what? Nothing had changed. It was like going back in time. Sure there were flat screens instead of big bulky TV’s televising sports but everything else was just like it ever was. It was almost creepy.
We bellyed up to the bar between a biker, on his way from Rhode Island back home to Houston, and a local, in for his weekend Vienna Inn fix. As we drank icy beers and gorged on agelessy perfect chili cheese dogs (Actually Miss Carol had wine and salad ’cause she’s on a diet and it sucks to be her), we chatted, alternating between stories about the big open road and commentaries on little, homey, Vienna.
It’s nice sometimes, finding a place that time has stepped around or overlooked. In an age of too many brightly lit same-same hyper-perfect chain restaurants the Vienna Inn remains comfortably dingy and well worn. Like your favorite pair of jeans, it just feels good.
When we went to the register to pay the bartender rang us up- two beers, two chili dogs, two wines and a salad. I commented that she had done it from memory, with no ticket. It’s a disease, she said.
And she’s right. The Vienna Inn is a disease.