Pa's Place

Whitney Brown
Kaplan, Louisiana

I remember being a kid in Twin Anchors like it was yesterday (earliest memory was 56 years ago when I was 4). My daddy would hand me a fist full of nickels to play the bowling machine that sat on the right hand side in the front as you walked in the front door. The long bar stretching on forever next to it. The place smelled of stale booze, stale cigarettes, but overriding it all, the lovely scent of those delicious ribs. Sometimes we sat at the bar as we waited for our order, sometimes at pa's booth, which was the last curved booth on the left before the main dining room at the back. That seemed to be my family's booth. I remember eating there a lot and the ribs were always the same. The yummiest ribs in the world. Back then, you got little naps to wipe your hands with after licking your fingers clean. There was and still is the same bread - black rye - and at that time, home style bread sticks with pats of butter on the side. The meal came with French fries and coleslaw just like today. The juke box was the best - had all the old classics and no rock 'n roll. I loved to play Mack The Knife and Chicago. Mom liked Peg of My Heart (that was her name) and dad liked anything by Nat King Cole. There was always a game on the old black & white with the rabbit ears and tinfoil tops. My dad maintained the TV's because he was an engineer and "knew about these things." Those were the days. In my mind I can still smell the old place and when I walk in today, in spite of the crowds of "newcomers", I am taken back in time to the place of Shirley Temple's and Hamm's and eating ribs till I thought I was going to pop. Front door or side door, whenever I go "home" it is still the best place to be in Chicago in my opinion.