You would think a restaurant like Denny’s would be mostly for elderly couples, eating their 4 o’clock dinners, and maybe it was. But in the summer, after the sun went down, it became a late night hangout for marginalized teens, and, well…just plain weirdos.
Katey, Rob, Dave, Sean and I would hang out in Rob’s pool by day, and frequent Denny’s by night. We sat in the smoking section because we agreed it was the more interesting side of the restaurant where we were sure to meet the coolest people. The first summer we spent there, Katey and I met our boyfriends from St. John’s Prep. One night we got kicked out of the restaurant for only ordering water but then mixing it with our own soup and Kool-aid. The manager said it was the second rudest thing she had ever seen. I always wondered what the first was.
Another time we met and hung out with a guy who was seven years older than we were, and when Katey told my father about him, my father was not pleased. He was even less impressed when the guy called the house looking for me. Still another time, we met the entire cast of a Renaissance fair–in character.
We had a waiter we called “Dave the Waiter,” who, when one of us ordered a dish called the “super bird,” would pretend to fly like superman and sing, “Super bird!” I’m pretty sure we ordered it just so he would sing it.
The cheese fries were an all-around favorite. Aside from the fries, I don’t remember eating much, there. I know I drank a lot of Coke. For most of us, though, food was secondary to the social scene.
Most of our Denny’s boyfriends, when they inevitably became our Denny’s ex-boyfriends, still hung out there after we broke up. Awkward!
I don’t remember exactly when the group of us stopped going to Denny’s, but it must have been shortly after I graduated high school, when we all kind of went our separate ways. I went occasionally when I was home from college with co-workers from CVS and TJMaxx, and once with my brother and his friends, but never again with the original lineup. And I’m to understand it’s not even there anymore, just in case we ever wanted to have a reunion. Bummer.