It’s a beautiful night, and the patio is getting full. I’m standing in the doorway, and from what I can see of the interior, it also looks to be very busy.
A large, aging man gruffly asks me to get out of the way and to step inside.
He leads me through the bar, where I assume we’ll stop at the empty stool. We don’t. We walk past to the back room, and he stops at a table for two, gesturing for me to sit down.
Oh, would you prefer that I sit at the bar so that you can have this for a party of two?
Would you like to sit at the bar?
I just don’t want to take a seat away from you right now if you’d prefer it be filled. I noticed other people waiting behind me when I was in the doorway.
Would you like to sit at the bar or at this table?
I can see he’s slightly annoyed at the time we’re wasting. There are other things he should be doing, and I’m prolonging a conversation that should never have existed. But I can’t help myself.
I’ll sit wherever you prefer.
I’ll seat you wherever you prefer.
All of a sudden, I get that I can trust him. He’s not being nice for the sake of it. I can try and stop being polite for the sake of it.
Well, okay. I’d like to sit at the table.
Look, I eat out by myself all the time. I want you to sit where you want. Enjoy your dinner.
This short conversation is all that really matters to me about my first time at J.G. Melon. Or rather, the host with little patience who makes an appearance in Yelp reviews made my night. There is, of course, the old school charm of the place, the staff, and the watermelon (hence, Melon) décor, and most importantly, the well-known burger. But all that felt secondary after my small moment of validation.
The famous burger was a great burger in what is clearly a city of great burgers. I no longer see a point for “best.” For whatever reason, I decided no cheese on my medium order, but definitely asked for the off-menu grilled onions. A good move. Somehow, the small toasted bun managed to stay together for the entire experience, leaving no beef crumbles or overly messy fingers. The cottage fries were odd, but good. I was thinking they’d be potato slices, but instead they were almost hollow puffs. The seasonal pie was strawberry-rhubarb, and I was all over it.
And yes, I drink Heineken.