My wife had breakfast the other day in yet another neighborhood in Naples that I’ve never heard of, 3rd Ave N, just east of Tamiami.
She found this incredible tiny breakfast/lunch place with only six tables. Bill’s Cafe. She ordered a breakfast sandwich. The waitress asked if she wanted it with seasoned mayo. “No, thanks,” she said. Bill, standing behind the grill bellowed out, “The seasoned mayo really makes the sandwich.”
“Okay,” she said, “I’ll try it.” Well, she loved it. It’s now her go-to breakfast place.
So, today we wanted to give Bill a chance at lunch. We walked in and confronted a crowd of people in this tiny space. There was one communal table and the few people sitting there waved us over. Personally I’m not nuts about sitting with strangers but what a surprising group of people we encountered. A couple visiting from Kentucky, Greg and Denise Stearman and a tall, thin, handsome white-haired gentleman who had to be Sam Elliot’s twin brother. Turns out he owns the frame shop across the street.
Greg and Denise each were eating a gargantuan plate of food. Greg, a three-layer chicken club sandwich made up of lettuce, tomato, bacon and melted American cheese with seasoned mayo. Denise, a dish invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville,Kentucky called a Hot brown.
We ordered exactly the same thing but, “Please,” I said to the waitress.”only two slices of bread.”
While waiting for the food, Greg planned an automobile driving eating feast for us for our trip back to Cape Cod in the Spring. Greg knew every restaurant like Bill’s from Naples to Kentucky, West Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia. He wrote out a map for us, even including local roads. What a delightful couple. I asked if Democrats were allowed in Kentucky. He said he remembered one senator who didn’t last long. I have no idea if the Stearmans were Republicans or Democrats. What I learned is that if you simply talk to people, you end up liking them and it’s actually possible to leave partisan politics aside.