Brigadoon, the Steakhouse;
or how you can still find something you were looking for only 8 years late when everything is closed.
By Geo Rule
For a day every hundred years, from out of the Highland mist, appears the magical village of Brigadoon.
So, 8 years ago the wife and I moved to this outer-ring suburb, part country and part city. A week later, after walking behind my push mower for a half hour or so and making dismayingly little impact on the 1.5 acres of grass, I went back in the house and informed the missus “we need a bigger boat” (for you “Jaws” fans).
Off to the John Deere dealer in a neighboring town we went, and a lawn-tractor with 48” mowing deck and a 42” snow-blower for winter (Hey, I also recognized that the driveway was about football field in length) was soon being written up for delivery.
Being new in the neighborhood, I also asked the salesman if there were any good steakhouses hereabouts, since the wife is a dedicated carnivore whose ideal meal is what I describe in shorthand as “burnt critter.”
He directed us to a local place out in the country aways, and we took directions and off we went. Well, it was Sunday, and while Minnesota no longer has “blue laws,” an awful lot of family businesses still like to “keep the Sabbath holy,” or at least have reduced hours. They were closed.
A month or so later we decided to try again. Only we’d lost the directions. Remember, we were brand-spanking new to the area with zero familiarity of the roads, so the usual spousal “discussion” ensued, and as is typical result in such circumstances, we did it her way. Couldn’t find the place.
Thus began an 8 year odyssey of trying to find that damn steakhouse again. The only thing I remembered was a long straightaway then a 90 degree turn onto another long straightaway. Periodic Google searches for steakhouses in the town where we thought it was – nothing. Google Earth browsings along the likely roads – nothing. Sunday “just tooling around” drives in the area – nothing. That steakhouse must have disappeared into the mists again just moments after we left its parking lot.
We’d even tell each other a variation on the “Friends” joke with Joey relating a hoary old B-movie horror plot he thought was marvelously fresh when offered to him on a new project – “That restaurant? It burnt down TEN YEARS AGO,” complete with the spooky voice and the goofy horror film eyebrows. Yeah, we had fun with it –but it was durned odd and a little frustrating. We’d been there. It did exist. It did! Probably.
So this July 4th the missus and I went to see a new arthouse film in Edina. Had a lovely dinner at a seafood and steak place in the homegrounds of the (universally called in the area) “cake-eaters.” We decided since we were tooling around anyway that we’d stop at a hardware store and look for some screen door hardware that Deb wanted to find. We got there, and could tell they weren’t open for the holiday, no cars in the parking lot. So being stubborn, I decided to try going to another store –a brand new sporting goods store in the area — instead, knowing they’d probably be closed too (I mentioned I can be stubborn, right? – don’t believe me? Ask the wife, she’ll affirm, with as many examples as you want.)
I could have pulled a U-turn and gone back to the freeway, but there was a road next to the closed hardware store that looked pretty wide and was headed in generally the right direction. I couldn’t remember having ever been on that road before, and figured if nothing else at least we could have a little adventuring, and turned there instead.
Along we drove, and hit a couple of long straightaways. “Gee,” I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny. . .nah.” Then the sharp left-hand 90 degree turn loomed in front of us and I thought, “No. Really? Can’t be. After 8 years?!” Sure enough, a bit further down, there it was – Brigadoon the Steakhouse making its periodic return to the world.
Of course, it was closed.
But we’re going back there tomorrow for supper, and s’welp me if it isn’t there I’m going to think I’m in a B-horror flick.
Then, screendoor hardware-less, but at least an 8 year mystery provisionally solved, we continued on to the other store.
It was closed, of course.