Victoria, one of my best friends since age 14, picks me up the Sunday before Labor Day. We throw on a mixed CD I made her in high school for the drive over (we were big into The All American Rejects), and try to quickly catch up, as it’s understood there won’t be much talking once we get our food.
It’s only noon, and you can tell from the parking lot that it’s not too crowded yet. (Nothing short of a miracle.) Roll-N-Roaster is a grandiose standalone structure. Its faded orange roof doesn’t look weathered or worn, just suggestive of the past. In the windows, neon signs reading “roast beef,” “roast turkey,” and “fries-n-cheez” invite you in warmly.
And that’s when you see it’s bustling. More than a dozen workers are hustling behind the counter already -- even though it only opened an hour ago. They’re shouting out order numbers as customers salivate with anticipation. “Babe! We got a free pizza,” a woman yells to her significant other across the restaurant. Her thick Brooklyn accent makes me homesick. I make a mental note to call my mom later. “You wanna refund on the pizza we ordered?” she asks him. He decides that, no, they’ll just take it home and eat it later. A good choice.