Diego had his vacation pitch ready. “Picture this, Aunt Buddy! We’re driving down the road in New Jersey and it’s lunchtime. We’re hungry and need to stop and there’s a sign up ahead that says ‘Cheeburger Cheeburger’. We have to go! After lunch we get back on the road and keep driving. All of a sudden it’s dinnertime and we see another sign that says. ‘Quaker Steak and Lube’, then we have dinner. Doesn’t that sound great?”
I had no idea where or why we’re driving around in this scenario, but that wasn’t the point. He had a vision and I have never been able to say no to that kid. Both of these restaurants were faves of his and used to be local but had closed suddenly, leaving him in a lurch. A few weeks later Diego, his brother Nick, and I set off on our journey.
We drove to NJ and stopped for lunch at Quaker Steak and Lube in Brick Plaza, NJ (the timing was just as Diego envisioned). We slid into the booth and I made them both order before they ran off to the games in the front of the restaurant and I enjoyed an adult beverage at the table. Lindsey our server got us everything we wanted and even took a pic with us. She couldn’t believe that we drove 5 hours just for lunch!!
We ordered some Louisiana Lickers, medium buffalo wings, hot buffalo wings, and Ranch wings, and of course the beer for Aunt Buddy! It was a local brew from Point Pleasant called Beach Haus. What a great meal! Then it was off to the motel to wait for dinnertime.
We ended up in a seedy motel 2 blocks from the Jersey Shore boardwalk (it’s claim to fame was that it was right across the street from the actual ‘Jersey Shore’ house!). We checked in and then spent the afternoon on the beach. It was another perfect summer day and the pounding ocean surf kept the boys occupied while I read in the sunshine.
Then it was dinnertime and as planned, we got back in the car and drove to the nearest Cheeburger Cheeburger. We got to the strip mall but the restaurant was nowhere to be found. Hmmm. Another Cheeburger Cheeburger closing. That did not bode well for us but we would not be deterred. We plugged the next closest address into the GPS and were on our way. 40 minutes later in Malanapan there was a big sign out front that said, “New Owner, Whole New Taste.” We didn’t know what to think. but the decor was the same, and so was the menu.
This was not Nicolas’ first rodeo, and he once again ordered the Pounder, which if consumed in one sitting gets you a picture (with a giant fabric stuffed burger) on the restaurant Wall of Fame. He had done this in Syracuse right before that restaurant closed down, so he couldn’t really enjoy it.
Diego upgraded from his usual semi-serious burger to the serious burger (a half pound). Our server looked twice when they asked for shakes to go with their dinners. Diego saved his last bite of burger until Nicolas only had one left too, and they finished together.
The owner wandered over to our table to ask how our meal was. He couldn’t believe we traveled all this way just to eat a Pounder from Cheeburger Cheeburger!! Nick got the picture and a tshirt and the respect from the people at the table next to us who just stared with big eyes at the fabric burger.
After a long drive along the Garden State Parkway, Nick decided to spend some quality time at the motel with his cell phone while Diego and I took a walk on the boardwalk. Songs performed by ‘Slippery When Wet’, a Bon Jovi cover band, were our soundtrack as we walked along the ocean among all the lights from the rides and game booths and food. A perfect ending to a great day!
The next morning we had to get right back on the road to get Nick back in time to go to work. We stopped at a homemade donut shop we stumbled upon the night before. I had a homemade cake jelly donut covered with cinnamon sugar. Not 10X powdered sugar, but granulated sugar. It was the bomb!
For lunch, we hit Scranton and found a Delta Sonic. We had all seen the commercials, but had never experienced it. We pulled up to the order screen and got lunch delivered to our car, including candy filled slushies. Anyone in Syracuse who is jealous about all this sweet deliciousness, don’t worry. I hear one is opening up here soon.
As we sat in the car and juggled the trays, talking and laughing and eating, it was easy to see how it’s not the quantity of time spent with these guys, but quality. For six years now we have been having fun trips like this and I do not know what the next adventure will be, but I know it will be amazing!