Papaleno’s is famous for its pizza and you don’t even like pizza.
Saying Pa-pa-le-nos sounds comical, still you miss it.
Finicky food, funny name
Yet, nostalgic about the two.
A little pizzeria and everything italiano in a small college town.
It stands on the corner of Main Street and is the first door you see once you are ordered by the automated crossing guide’s voice: “Walk Sign, Main Street.”
For the mobile folks, there is ample parking space way behind the white, two-storey building that houses Papaleno’s.
At the counter, you are greeted by a young and hippy cashier. There is the customary smile and Welcome to Papaleno’s, but you are distracted by the pizza boy spinning the dough behind the cashier.
Then, the waitresses in their aprons twirl around the small space as they deliver Spaghetti with Meatballs dipped in beautifully red, marinara sauce.
Everyone seems happy at Papaleno’s.
The mini-family reunion on the longest table is getting off to a good start. The babies in their high chairs giggle as their moms fuss over their bibs. The adults share a joke you overhear and find funny too.
You place your order.
If you are like me who has a hate-hate relationship with cheese, your order is strange.
“Please may I get a big slice with pepperoni, onions, pineapple, and no cheese?”
Strange is welcome here.
From the large, gauged earrings worn by the workers to the occasional odd couple with pink and purple dyed hair.
You take a number and sit.
Red pepper flakes are placed on each table. This makes you happy. You like to spice things up and this would come in handy.
Past meets present as you conjure up memories: A colleague’s exit; an interview for your newspaper column; the occasional Sunday meal with friends; and the list goes on.
Tonight, it is just you.