Why is it always too little too late?
With local restaurants closing left and right, it's interesting to see how people respond when they learn a place is near the end.
It was time for me and one of my favorite married women to meet up and catch up, so without even checking with her, I messaged, "Six Burner 5:30?"
Her immediate response: "Our place...our time. See ya, babe."
I've been a regular at Six Burner for the past seven years, alone, on dates, with friends.
For this friend and I, it has become the most regular choice for our monthly get-togethers, especially on Tuesdays when we're suckers for half priced wine by the glass.
And now, with Six Burner set to close its doors on September 8th, I wanted one last throw-down with her there.
Appropriately given the circumstances (or perhaps not so appropriately), we began with glasses of the rich and nutty Dibon Cava and a clinking of glasses.
She was full of stories - strange smells, biting mosquitoes, spitting out blood and Parisian plans.
I had my own to share - accusations of idiocy, a tale of being painted blue for a party and an island getaway.
With soul music playing unnecessarily softly, Six Burner began to fill up as we dished.
At first, it was just a full bar, then all the booths were taken.
Soon, table after table had occupants.
Where were all these people all the other times she and I had been in on a Tuesday evening?
But ours was not to judge (merely to talk trash), so we decided to mitigate our buzzes with some food.
A look at the menu yielded mussels with bacon, Gruyere and caramelized onions.
A listen to the specials had me panting for grilled beef heart.
"You and your body parts!" my friend teased, but obligingly agreed to try.
When the bartender returned for our order, I asked for mussels and hearts.
"Just what we want from our men!" my friend quipped.
I'd also put in my bid for a brain, a stellar sense of humor and superb kissing skills.
But not for dinner.
The thin slices of grilled heart came with a muscadine grape sauce and an array of crispy sides - celery, pear, peppers and peanuts.
It was her first heart and she had to agree that its taste wasn't far off from any other beef.
But she did prefer the mussels, hardly surprising given the abundance of bacon and cheese,
Once the bi-valves were history, she proclaimed the remaining broth "fondue" and we used toasted bread to soak it up.
Meanwhile, the owner was playing food runner, filling in for extra staff who have left for new jobs.
And still people continued to come in.
Maybe they were regulars like us and maybe they'd finally made the time or effort to come down knowing soon it will be no more.
I'm sorry Six Burner is closing.
With any luck, its replacement, Heritage, will be the kind of place at which I can be a regular like I've been at 6B for so long.
But mostly I hope that people don't wait until they hear the rattle of death to get a restaurant hopping on a Tuesday night.
It's our time to make sure our places get supported before we lose them.
I don't know about you, but I'm eating as fast as I can.