2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

For today’s prompt, write a poem about (or at) a food establishment. You could pick on a chain like Taco Bell or McDonald’s, sure, but maybe there’s a local favorite–or some special dive. Heck, maybe that place where you took your first date or got your first job. Have fun with it, and if you need to do a little research, go out for something to eat.


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Here’s my attempt at a Poem About (or at) a Food Establishment:

“Bill’s Donut Shop”

It wasn’t just a place to get doughnuts;
in fact, I don’t think I ever had one there
that I liked. But it was always open,
which meant it was a haven for teenagers.

One night, I was placed in the backseat
of a cop car for looking in the windows
from the outside (of course, late at night),
though they couldn’t find anything on me.

To them, I was a stereotypical ne’er-do-well;
I often wondered how they spotted me so fast.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer had many jobs before working at his first restaurant, but one of his most memorable jobs was at Woody’s “Over-the-Road” Restaurant in West Carrollton, Ohio. While employed there, he scooped out about a ton of pimento cheese and folded about a thousand napkins. But it was fun, and this now defunct restaurant made the best bacon cheeseburger he’ll ever remember eating–not even close.

Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he gets to do a million things to help writers find more success with their writing (including this blog). He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

Connect with him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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290 thoughts on “2016 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

  1. BDP

    “Favorite Make Believe Eatery”

    Our Tiny’s Tap blinks red defective neon from the highway hill.
    Walk in and re-create yourself again, what fact-meets-fiction wills.

    A place to spin your escapades: what of the muskie that bit off a toe?
    Don’t test lake warmth by dangling your bare foot! And yes, the fish got killed.

    Bar stools, pool tables, jukebox, Tiny checking in at six feet plus,
    wife Brenda’s sixty inches tall. He swears, guffaws—her diction chills.

    Our small town’s only other burger spot burned to a cinder bed,
    so Tiny bought the owner’s menu, hired him for his flippin’ skills.

    And hung a Declaration: “Fresh-caught river smelt—my chef’s a whiz!
    Don’t be a stranger! Choose your seat. Prepare for an addiction thrill!”

    –Barb Peters

  2. PKP


    hatch covers atop barrels
    tables that held our
    cold Heinekens and
    hot dogs – the thwack
    of darts finding their
    mark through the
    laughter – white
    teeth in tanned
    faces – salt on
    our legs from
    the sea…

  3. deborahbgkelly

    The Coffee Clatch

    Some may say that the coffee clatch is a foregone tradition
    But, in my town, it’s alive and well
    My favorite place to sip and chat
    Is at
    The Coffee Clatch

    It brings a diverse group of people together
    For lively debate
    And gentle sharing
    With music and comfort to spare

    Some may say that the coffee clatch is a foregone tradition
    But, in my town, it’s alive and well
    My favorite place to sip and chant
    Is at
    The Coffee Clatch

  4. moxiemarie

    St Patrick’s Day 1980

    The night was full of celebration,
    like New Years Eve, like a Polish wedding,
    like the Second Coming, it was,
    St. Patrick’s Day at Paddy McGee’s.
    I didn’t like the taste of beer—
    too thin, like piss, I thought,
    but Patty and John urged me on,
    It’s St Patty’s Day, try a Guiness Stout.
    The evening sped on with laughter and talk,
    and a few pints of Guiness,
    and didn’t end when John Gorman got up
    and sang Danny Boy acapella.
    The bar hushed as he reached the high F:
    ‘And I’ll be there’, a timeless promise to a child.
    The night didn’t end there,
    but it was the moment we all remembered:
    when John hit that perfect note,
    the longing and promise of a father to his son,
    and we sat in Paddy’s with laughter and friends

  5. moxiemarie

    The Oriental Café

    We went downtown to meet our friends,
    and walked the crowded streets
    and aisles of stores full of dime-store goods—
    we laughed when someone tsked and said ‘those hoods’

    We liked to think we were pretty bad,
    pretty powerful ‘don’t mess with us’,
    but we were just a bunch of innocent kids
    trying on new attitudes, then calling our own bluff.

    We would sit in a tall, dark booth
    on cracked leather seats,
    enclosed within the deep red walls
    of the Oriental Café on Kearsley Street,
    drinking coffees or cokes,
    having a smoke,
    whispering across the greasy tables about boys and sex
    and Spanish Fly,( nobody knew what that was).

    In thrall of the movies on Saturday afternoon
    that showed Charlie Chan in opium dens,
    we imagined a danger that wasn’t there,
    a delicious sense of wickedness,
    when we sat in the Oriental Cafe

    And we pretended a worldliness beyond our years,
    trying to be like the ‘beats’ we read so much about,
    with cold coffee and cigarettes and fake sophistication
    in the safety of that shadowy cafe.

  6. Yolee


    At the time I only knew your office sur-faces and that for 7
    months you’d been surviving alone.
    We drove and drove thru the lively downtown streets
    because you could not find the other restaurant that could
    have been our first date memory. You asked nervously
    but sweetly if I was okay with Houston’s.
    As we walked thru the parking lot my right hand
    nervously brushed and brushed my blue pocket skirt
    and made it sway like an emerging metaphor draped
    in 100% cotton.
    The tables glowed; the walls were powered with a soft
    blush of peach paint. The staff was braided in professionalism,
    efficiency and jollity. The evening rolled out the welcome mat
    for people like us ready to partake of house salads, sauvignon
    blanc, smoked fish, baby back ribs, brawny syrah, and meeting
    each other for the first time at a level where profits and losses
    had little to do economics.

  7. simplymarian

    Table for two at
    our favorite lunch place
    The view breathtaking.
    So roomy, private
    flowers a riot of spring shades
    Great atmosphere and
    table for two.

    Linen cloth
    spread on soft pine needles
    Perfect orange
    cool and sweet
    water from the nearby spring
    almonds by the handful
    and you, my love.
    Table for two.

  8. Anvanya

    Essen ist fertig – Dinner is Served!

    Sadly, there are no German restaurants
    In our little town. So we search for
    Pale substitutes and cook our
    Sauerbratten at home twice a year.

    Given our limited choices, we have
    An official list of places that serve
    Food which is fresh and well cooked.

    Awk – remember the time we were
    Handed sliced beef running in blood?
    Or the uncooked tuna steaks? Oy, vey.

    We’re down to five eateries that
    Promise crispy salads, gluten-free
    Pizza crust, real baklava for dessert,
    Genuine half-caff minus additions
    or subtractions. Real veggie soup
    is always a hit with us, and our test
    for digestibility? the fish–n-chips.

    We’re not big spenders and mostly share
    A main dish these days. Leftovers to go
    Have no attraction for us. Just want plain
    Food, no fuss, great taste, and a quiet
    Stomach for the rest of the day.

  9. Lindy™


    Seven course
    fine dining meal
    out in country’s hollow
    Live music lends
    to ambiance
    relax, enjoy the tempo

    An evening shared
    good company
    a cherished memory
    Teenage years
    I called my home
    now centered in reverie

  10. Domino


    The dinner’s going very well,
    I’ve made such healthy choices.
    I’m feeling proud and cocky, hell,
    that’s when I hear the voices
    of awestruck people, saying “Ah!”
    I turn to see the revel.
    And there it is, my fatal flaw:
    the dessert cart is the devil.

  11. carollilly

    More Than Waffles
    by Carolyn Lilly

    On our first date, we ate rib eye steaks, golden brown hash browns,
    & salads at Waffle House 19 followed by a drive in picture show
    featuring “Paint Your Wagon” and “Two Mules for Sister Sarah.”

    Over the years, my husband became a Waffle House “regular” &
    was even nicknamed by a friend “king of the low counter” as
    people flocked to be with him at the Waffle House where they
    shared their yarns, heartaches, and successes. Many a tale was told
    around a Waffle House cup of coffee.

    Our baby liked nothing better than a bowl of Waffle House grits
    to keep him occupied and fed. Scrambled eggs with cheese came later.
    When said baby was 18 years old, he went to work for the Waffle House,
    and cooked his way to one of the best grill masters they ever had.

    Waffle House isn’t just any restaurant, it’s part of our family history.

  12. Asha1000

    Saturday’s Menu

    Breakfast at the souse out:
    boil fish, chicken and sheep tongue souse,
    corn grits and johnny cake.

    Lunch at the cook out fundraiser:
    peas and rice, baked chicken,
    potato salad, mac and cheese.

    Calypso beat electrifies
    green seaside park where old men slam
    dominoes and laugh like children.

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  13. Genevieve

    Days Gone By

    Eating out was rare
    In our large family.
    Even without a microwave
    And mom back in school.

    McDonald’s – Big Mac and fries.
    A reason to celebrate!
    I loved the special sauce
    And no dishes in the sink.

    30 years later remembering,
    I ordered the Big Mac and fries.
    The special sauce wasn’t special.
    The buns not in the right place.

    Nostalgia bumped into reality.
    A memory best kept in my mind.
    The golden arches an icon
    Calling to the next generation.

  14. seamuscorleone

    Eating Out

    Australian kisses:
    Serving her down under.

    Munching carpet.


    Egg McMuff:
    Part of a balanced breakfast.

    Paying her
    Lip service.

    Time to give your girl
    Some face time.

    He’s good with words;
    He’s a cunning linguist.

    According to dictionary.com:

    [kuhn-l-ing-guh s]

    The act or
    Of orally stimulating the
    female genitals.

    cunni – (combining form of cunnus vulva) + =lingus (derivative of lingere to lick)

    Origin: 1885-90; New Latin: one who licks the vulva

    Giving tit for tat (see: felatio)

  15. Austin Hill

    Joia in Riverview (FL)

    En-joi-ah place close to home,
    beautifully decorated
    with plush seating
    and soft lighting.

    En-joi-ah meal prepared by professionals,
    pleasing to the palate,
    plated to perfection
    and praised by patrons.

    At the corner of 301 & Gibsonton Drive,
    Come on by!
    You’ll En-joy yourself at Joia.

    © April 2016 Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

  16. Susan

    I used this prompt for Day 17. A very silly poem based on real life:

    My White Whale

    White, wide and stainless steel, it could not tip
    and spill from the spastic action of hands.
    It had integrity—and it saved ten
    cents when I brought it with me to Starbucks.

    Alas, I lost it at my Friends Meeting
    and searching will not bring it home again.

    Starbucks coffee—my guilty pleasure since
    leaving UC Berkeley and Peet’s behind—
    has little else to recommend it, save
    its free Wi-Fi and its Moby Dick cup.

    How could I leave it at my Friends Meeting?
    bargaining will not bring it home again.

    Its sweet combos and high prices disguise
    Starbucks’ weak tasteless roast and watery
    foam, but this Moby-Dick cup—too fat for drink
    holders—is worth its weight in dry paper.

    Alas, I left it at my Friends Meeting
    and praying will not bring it home again.

    Maybe someone recognized its worth, and—
    pleased to acquire it without transgressing
    beliefs and the counter of Starbucks stores—
    saw opportunity and took it home.

    Lucky Ahab, whoever you may be,
    return my Moby Dick cup, please, to me.

    Copyright © 2016 Susan L. Chast

  17. elishevasmom

    Job Hunting

    the exact age
    of the student before me,
    my advice has
    never wavered.
    When it comes to looking
    for a job,
    you’ve a much better shot
    at being on target
    for a good job,
    by starting with a bad job,
    even if it’s a McJob.
    First off, it shows that someone
    found you to be employable—
    that you can be counted on to
    show up on time, do a menial task
    (fast order food service is full of them)
    that you can work well with others.
    Any potential boss from a better job
    won’t even consider the person who
    thinks that that sort of job is beneath him,
    or that she wants to come into the job
    market without having to pay beginners’ dues.
    Do all the students listen?
    It is so self-validating
    when they do.
    Especially when the students
    are your own kids.

    Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2016
    day 290 of 365
    PAD 4.16 – a food establishment poem

  18. Ency Peterson

    Journeying out
    for late night munchies
    Nothing too it
    or so we thought

    It turned from a quick trip
    to a complete sojourn
    as we quickly realized
    we were late to our favorite haunts

    So we googled and gps-ed
    our way to a late night meal
    finally settling
    at a nearby Jack-In-The-Box

  19. PSC in CT

    Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, Philadelphia

    This is a place
    that takes
    its city’s seal
    To Rosa’s owners
    that motto means
    if you’re short of cash,
    homeless and broke,
    or just down on your luck,
    for a only a buck ticket
    (prepaid by a stranger)
    you can get a slice
    of human kindness
    And all they ask
    is that someday
    you pay it forward
    if and when
    you can.

    1. ppfautsch24

      We walked in weaving our way through the crowd, eyes searching the smokey-lit venue for our friend. It was a night out; a Friday night, and we spotted her at the bar.
      With a smile on her red-coated lips and a glistened coated drink at her finger tips, she chatted away with a newly made friend seated next to her.
      We felt alive, beautiful, and free!
      The hours at work and stuck in traffic all faded away as we greeted each other with a hug and kiss on the cheek.
      We struck a striking picture; women of color and style. Healthy, vibrant, spirited women infused with life; hanging with girlfriends. And, having cocktails at five.
      Conversations flowed as we ordered our drinks.
      We hit our stride by nine, gliding into the night
      with girlfriends at my side, at the local gastropub.
      By Pamelap

  20. Melahlah

    In an old log cabin restaurant tucked into the mountains of Kentucky
    Off a highway where one side was a straight drop into oblivion
    And the other was mostly the towering wall of damp, cold rock
    On a tiny side road you would miss if you blinked as you drove by it
    (Because it came as such a surprise, a gap barely wide enough for two cars)
    There, in that magical little place, comfort food, warm and delicious was served
    Country ham, grits, greens, fried okra, cornbread and biscuits, and the topper,
    Steaming hot, gooey blackberry cobbler with homemade ice cream
    And mugs of the best strong coffee in copious amounts by the fireplace.
    There’s nothing better than food fit for a king eaten in an old mountain cabin
    On a cold, winter day in Kentucky.

  21. MiMiOHearn

    Dockside Dave’s

    Tucked into Madeira Beach, is
    the locals favorite for grouper.
    Caught fresh and wanted by
    numerous customers, I find myself
    dreaming about a that sandwich!!
    Like my blackened, with a
    large slice of onion and
    cheddar cheese. It is
    so big, it extends the bun.
    Maybe it just peeks out to
    say “eat me.”
    But with that dream
    is a pitcher of sangria
    loaded with fruit and
    Dockside Dave’s,
    please never leave.
    the island.

  22. Elizabeth C


    When the three-star chef tires
    of haute cuisine sauces,
    and pizza or burgers don’t offer relief,
    she calls up her granny to ask
    if the soup’s on, and drives over for a treat.

    It usually starts with a big pot of lentils
    cooked till they’re thick in their juice.
    Then she adds fresh garlic, ginger
    and cumin, a few Ancho chilies
    and fresh chopped turmeric
    until the flavor’s just right.

    Then in go the veggies,
    whatever’s in season,
    all local, organic, and fresh.

    Sometimes it’s beets
    with their green tops chopped fine,
    their broth a deep wine red.

    Sometimes it’s green beans
    with two kinds of kale,
    and florets of pale cauliflower.

    At other times thick sliced
    zucchini and eggplant, diced
    Romas tossed in at the end.

    Whatever the combo, she lets it cook slowly
    till the whole house is filled with soup scents,
    then the three-star chef and her simple old
    granny sit down to a humble feast.

  23. Ben G.

    Town & Country

    I was perusing the diner’s
    breakfast menu, tracing the
    yellow and turquoise
    boomerangs on the gum pink
    table, when I looked up
    and spotted a table in the corner,
    remembering all those younger
    Thursdays with my grandfather,
    just as the waitress asked:
    what would you like, my dear?

    ‘I’ll take the char-grilled chicken
    and collard greens, please,’
    he’d say with a smile,
    removing his woolen tam

    Dear? What can I get you?

    I’ll have the char-grilled chicken
    and collard greens, please, and –
    I glance at my watch. 7:30 a.m.

    Oh I’m sorry ma’am. I’ll have two
    scrambled eggs; corned beef hash –
    extra crispy, please; a side of fruit;
    and a bran muffin, sliced
    and grilled.

    What are collared greens, grandpa?

    They’re a dressier kind of lettuce,
    he’d say with a chuckle—

    Conversation suffuses the
    crowded diner; all the laughing
    and rambling and murmuring of
    words between people who have
    known each other a long,
    long time.

  24. Azma

    Too Lost to Remember

    They used to say
    we shouldn’t talk while we eat.
    But that day,
    it was the food
    that came in the way
    of our conversation.
    You spoke and I listened
    I wished you kept talking,
    and kept trusting
    me with your secrets.
    And then I spoke and you listened
    making my words feel
    like valued gems
    worthy to be encased
    in your mind.
    Sharing food felt comfortable.
    I wish I’d remembered the place
    because it was the best chicken
    I ever had

    -Azma Sheikh

  25. Thedeb

    The Diner
    By Debbie Cerrito

    A young girl, too young.
    The counter is her station today
    for the very first time,
    It’s a badge of distinction,
    and she is so proud to
    be there.

    She doesn’t notice the elder waitresses sneer,
    as they hobble
    the extra miles back and forth to the kitchen
    carrying heavy plates on their arms.
    Sheer white hosiery can’t hide
    the purple
    -road maps of their lives.

    Biting whispers
    from behind the girl’s back,
    as the regulars,
    the good tippers,
    saunter up and order their
    hot coffee for a dime, and pay her with a quarter.

    “Gee thanks.” She says it with sincerity,
    because her family needs the money
    and it’s only six am,
    and her shift runs till dinner,
    she knows
    there will be enough extra money
    in her pocket
    to take the bus home.

  26. stargypsy

    Jake and Dorothy’s

    The only place for Texas favorites…
    Chicken Fried Steak
    Home fries
    Chicken Wings
    the best cheeseburger ever

    A small family run place
    not a restaurant…
    not a drive-in…
    not a diner…
    a local cafe in a small
    Texas college town

    The only place to eat
    good, filling down-home
    food on Sunday night
    when the college dining hall
    was closed

    The only place to eat
    when returning for a
    home football game in the fall

    The only place to eat
    when just passing through
    to catch a memory from
    long ago

    The only place I knew
    that had little juke boxes
    right at the table and
    an intercom to place
    your order from
    menus at hand

    Jake & Dorothy’s …
    a Central Texas icon
    for so many

    Copyright © 2016 Annie Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie

    Jake & Dorothy’s is on the Texas Monthly list of The 40 Best Small-Town Cafes … Stephenville, TX


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