The Great Burger Hunt Of 2019
When we were kids we all heard from our parents that the journey is sometimes just as important and memorable as the destination. With my novel “Season On the Brink” I've come to realize that the memories we make along the way with our friends and families are some of the things that really matter most in life. It's certainly become one of the themes of the book, and something that I was reminded of on January 9, 2019.
That day, yesterday when I wrote this, was the 17th anniversary of the day that Lyra and I officially brought life into the world for the first time. It was a cold January day in 2001. I remember hearing U2's “Beautiful Day” on the radio as I drove back to the house with a cup of coffee. I turned up the radio loud and screamed along.
It's also what my son Rye likes to refer to as his birthday. In honor of the big day we asked him what he'd like to do as a special thing to celebrate and he wanted to go out to eat. Originally we were going to go out for pizza at a new place in our town called “Estia.” I've heard good reviews and am looking forward to giving it a try sometime soon. However, Lyra – who thinks about such things much more deeply than any of the males living in our home – knows her son very well and decided that he might like pizza, but he loves burgers.
Our town, Falmouth, Massachusetts, is known for having some great restaurants. Unfortunately it does not have a fantastic burger joint. You could go to a different pizza place every day for a week and not be disappointed, but finding that one place where the burger is the must-order thing on the menu is elusive.
Me being me, I had a hockey game that I needed to cover that day. Actually, I had two. The first one, though, was in Hyannis. Needing to also do some grocery shopping up that way, Lyra thought it would be a great idea for her and Rye to follow me up to Hyannis a few hours before game time and grab a burger at one of the great spots up there. She'd done her research online and had found that H-Town plenty of places to find a tasty burger.
KKaties on Main Street was rated as the top place on the Cape. The reviews made it sound like each bite of cheeseburger was accompanied with tingles and smiles. We could not wait to try it out, and wondered how we'd somehow missed the experience before. As I drove behind them in my car, I could see that Rye was getting excited. I could see him dancing in his seat as our cars got closer to Hyannis. Then again, he dances all the time so he might have just heard a song on the radio that he likes, but I like to think that it was the thought of biting into a monstrous burger than had him moving and shaking.
We pulled up and skipped up the sidewalk to the address, pulled on the door and it didn't budge. Maybe it was stuck. Another try, same result. The sign on the door left us all said. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the winter.
Disappointed but still motivated by hunger, we went to the second-rated place on the list. The Black Cat Tavern was just down the street, and right near the harbor. Back into the cars and down the road we went. We parked in a pothole pocked muddy lot behind the building, jogged up the ram and pulled on the door. Different place, same result – closed for the season.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Rye said. “I just want a burger.”
“Let's stop messing around. The Seaside Pub is just around the corner on Main Street,” I said. “Let's just go over there.”
“Uy Phu?” Rye asked.
“Yeah, Uy Phu.”
"Uy Phu!!!!" Rye said enthusiastically. My kids love eating there. Uy (pronounced why) makes the best stuff and whenever we visit -- which is simply not enough -- we leave with full and happy bellies.
I've known Uy and his wife, Kim, for years. I had the privilege of photographing their wedding back in the day. I'm guessing it was about 11 years ago. It rained that day and it was in the fall. It was so much fun. Uy is one of the funnest people you'll ever meet. He oozes charisma and is all heart. He's awesome, and I was mad at myself for not recommending his place first.
We pulled up and guess what. Closed too.
“This is just ridiculous,” Lyra said, clearly frustrated that she couldn't just get her son the burger he desired so badly on his birthday.
By this time I was running out of time and we called an audible. I was not going to be able to enjoy his birthday lunch with them at this point because of the hockey game. We rushed through the aisles at Trader Joe's (seriously, we did the whole store in 10 minutes and did a week's worth of shopping. It was freaking impressive) and I grabbed a sandwich. Lyra and Rye went to Sandwich.
Since I wasn't with them, I'm not even sure of which place they went to. They ordered me a burger and fries for later and it was good. Rye pigged out and reported that he was quite pleased with the food that he eventually feasted on for his birthday. His sister loved the fries that they brought home and Lyra said that the veggie burger was superb (she's a vegan), though a tad mushy.
Later that night, I sat with Rye in his room and asked him about his late lunch and if he was satisfied. He said it was good, but not worth the hassle.
“Rye, forget the burger, you've got the story of the day that you tried to get a burger for your birthday and everything you had to go through to get it. That's almost better than the burger ever could have been. You and your mom will always have that memory together and will share a laugh about it whenever someone brings it up. You can't put a price on that. The story is funny, it's great.”
“Oh Dad, you and your stories. I just wanted a burger.”
Rich's novel "Season On the Brink" will be released in early 2019. An official launch date will be forthcoming soon. Please check back here at richmaclone.com for information, and sign up for the newsletter to be the first to know when you'll be able to find it at Amazon and in stores.