Saturday, January 28, 2012

#1 Demolished

No more #1.

Former Mark II in Edwardsville razed

EDWARDSVILLE - A Sunoco storage facility is expanding after the company demolished a closed Mark II Family Restaurant on Route 11.

The restaurant was demolished Monday, said Edwardsville Code Enforcement Officer David Saraka.

Sunoco is planning to make the now-vacant lot part of a driveway for a storage facility next door, Sunoco spokesman Joe McGinn said.

Another bit of Franklin’s history was hauled away earlier this week as Unit #1---the original Franklin‘s---met the wrecking ball.

Yes, I did a stint there as an assistant manager in 1985 in the months leading up to the store’s front-of-house being totally remodeled. And, yes, you know why I was sent there, to either get the kitchen up to speed, or to get the kitchen staff to walk.

I never met a more defiant group of cooks, Jolly Green Giants all! Once the management of the store lost control of this group, only an outsider could come in and go all Sergeant Hartman (Full Metal Jacket) on them. I played the role perfectly, albeit very loudly, very grotesquely and very theatrically.

Anyway, once the store reopened, we had us a professional kitchen and prep staff doing darn near everything according to specifications.

A bit of history

Edwardsville had what was called the “side kitchen,” which during the ‘80s consisted of some little-used low-boy freezers and tons of counter space. But back in the day when the store first opened it’s doors, the side kitchen was used to serve the customers that had opted for the curb service that was offered to those who parked alongside the south side of the building.

Yes, waitresses actually went out to the curb, took the customer’s orders and then called the order in to the side kitchen. The side kitchen menu was limited to burgers and sandwiches and the like, but the curb service was quite the popular novelty back in the good old days.

During the annual Franklin’s Swim Carnival back in 1982, I filled in at this store on a Sunday morning, my first ever brush with the precursor to today’s point-of-sale cash registers. On the fly with a waiting line staring me in the face, it was like trying to teach Pig Latin to a deaf person in thirty minutes or less.

The other thing that morning that stood out was the breaking news that some lunatic in Wilkes-Barre had gone off the proverbial deep end by killing 13 people with an array of automatic weapons.

Once the auditing department audited our checks from Kidder Street, it was learned that the shooter, George Banks, had lunch at our store only hours before the mass murder and left a complimentary comment of the backside of his guest check. A comment, by the way, that had investigators and prosecutors interviewing the employees that had come in contact with him that afternoon.

He wrote, “It’s nice to go into a restaurant and not be treated like a ni**er.”

And when you consider that perceived racism no matter where he looked led him to mass murder only hours later, that has to be the ultimate in customer compliments. At least, one you should never forget.


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