Scooby's Red Hots is a small restaurant near Downers Grove North High School and, subsequently, within walking distance of our house. With the location and funky exterior, I had really hoped that Scooby's could turn out to be our neighborhood joint, a place to hang out when we just didn't feel like cooking. Unfortunately, it turns out that Scooby's is a dump. What's the difference between a dump and a joint? According to David Rockwell, restaurant designer, "A dump is a place on the way down; it probably didn't start out being a dump. A joint is and always has been a joint." From Alan Richman: " A joint has no high concept. It just is. It is a safe haven in a culinary world that swirls with inconsistencies. It is a respite from fast food, small food, tall food, and fancy food."
Maybe at one point Scooby's was a joint, but now it's a tired, dirty dump, with uncaring cooks, a shabby interior and exterior, and relatively bad food. We had burgers, chicken tenders, and hot dogs, all edible but not interesting, paired with limp fries. I shouldn't have been surprised, though - I've never ridden, run, or driven past and seen many people inside. Plus, it's a hot dog place, right? Maybe I was expecting too much. Oh well, the search for a neighborhood joint continues.
How about you? Is there a neighborhood joint near you? A place you always end up when nothing else comes to mind?