“Over the years we didn’t know each other by name, but by where we sat, and what we ordered. Since 1976, Joe Jr’s was a neighborhood hearth—a club almost. I never even ordered; Raoul behind the grill would bark, ‘Eggs? Or BLT?’ He always made the decision. Then suddenly, it ended: The landlord wanted Joe’s owner, Teddy Hondros, and his sons Nick and Gregory out, and he worked fast. At one o’clock on July 4, when I learned Joe’s would be closing at three, we were all there. The meal lasted about a half an hour. I had a BLT, whiskey down, as usual, for the last time.”
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