March 30, 3025 – Elmira, NY – 11 months before the event
“Anika, would you like to meet at The Shingle for a bite to eat when you get done with your studies?” asked Cedric, hoping she would be okay with food from the dive he liked to frequent.
“Yeah, that sounds like a great idea! It’s been a while since I ate there,” Anika lit up enthusiastically, looking forward to something different. The packaged meals at home were getting a little boring. “Way too long!”
“Oh, I didn’t know you’ve been there before. So you like Shingle’s food?”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me yet,” she said with a smile. “Yes, I like that place very much! I don’t have the time to cook, what with my studies and job. Dinner there will be a real treat!” responding genuinely excited.
“Well, I’m glad to know that you like it there. It is one of my favorite places to go.” Cedric was looking forward to their first date.
“Great, then I’ll see you there around 6ish?”
“Yeah, that’s perfect! See you then,” Cedric said with a big smile. Anika felt a sweet thrill start in the pit of her stomach, then pulsing throughout her body. She had a hunch; this was the beginning of something special.
The Shingle, housed in a small dilapidated bluish-grey building, attracted many customers even though it looked ancient and run down. The City of Elmira also boasted about this hole in the wall as a Must See! Establishment on their web page. Business was good, and it would be a long time coming before they closed its doors. It had been in the family since 1947, prospering throughout because of their ideas and their work ethic. Their staying power was also a testament to the quality of their food and service. The building’s nostalgic feel was the biggest draw for the clientele but also because it was an oddity that stood out in today’s world. The younger generation, especially, wanted to partake of something that was just slightly different, as has always been the case throughout history. It was their way of making something their own, so naturally, it became a hot spot for the younger crowd.
The reason it was called The Shingle was for its favorite item on the menu, a comfort food known as “Shit on a Shingle.” They couldn’t name the restaurant that so it was just known as The Shingle. But everyone knew what it stood for. The dish’s origin dated back to the early 1900s, with slight modifications over the years from what was listed in the Manual of Army Cooks from 1910. The Shingle owners served many variations on the original recipe, trying to customize it to the customer’s taste buds. Like Burger King’s original slogan in 1953, the owners of The Shingle were big fans of allowing their customers to “have it their way.” The formula had worked for over 1000 years and was likely to sustain them for even longer. Some things just shouldn’t change.
TO BE CONTINUED ON THURSDAY…