Are You Free for Lunch?

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

Everyone should eat lunch, especially me because breakfast is typically a couple of vitamins, The Wall Street Journal editorials, and two cups of black coffee. By the time both hands on my watch are pointing straight up, my stomach is rumbling. During the week, I have a few spots I frequent, and I eat light—salads with grilled chicken breast or a cup of soup (hold the bread) and a beer. Friday’s lunch, however, is different.

On Fridays, I have a fancy lunch. It’s penciled in my calendar and set for infinity. I walk around the corner to this place called Knight’s Restaurant and sit at the bar. I order a martini or a Negroni, but after a year of this ritual I’ve learned that they make a better Negroni. I get in a bit of chit-chat with Andrew, the bartender, casual stuff—sports, rain, local happenings, then he leaves me and my book alone. When my cocktail and a few chapters have disappeared, Andrew returns for my order: New York strip, medium rare with asparagus (though every so often I do get the fries), Caesar salad, and a glass of the house red.

As the kitchen does the heavy lifting, some other Friday regulars file in. Tim (Titos and soda), likes to discuss golf and Karl (white wine, usually Muscadet or Pinot Gris), can go on for a whole bottles worth about travel and fine dining. Every now and then there are some other familiar faces, but these are the guys that I see every Friday. If I miss a Friday, or they miss one, that’s big news and the absence will require explanation when we reunite next Friday.

My food comes out! The medium rare is always much more towards the rare end of the spectrum than the medium end, just the way I like it, but I think if I were to order it rare it might crawl off the plate. I eat and talk to the guys, both acts nourish my stomach and soul. When satisfied, I pay and walk back the way I came to the little coffee shop under my office for a jolt of caffeine and another chapter.

This whole fancy repertoire isn’t just about physical sustenance, it’s great for my emotional appetite too. The act of going to lunch has added new friends and acquaintances (and a few “worth it” pounds) to my life. I know what’s going on for the weekend because I talked to Andrew, what to order at the new place that just opened down the street thanks to Karl, and the current state of the greens at any golf course in town thanks to Tim. I’d consider all of that invaluable information that would be impossible to find online or with an app.

Meet me on Friday? I’ll introduce you to the guys, but the first round is on you!

Never miss a story – subscribe now to the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail.