- Chicken Pot Pie w/ Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Hot Tea
- Pesto Pasta w/ Kalamata Olives
- Spinach and Cheddar Quiche w/ Butternut Squash Soup
- Big Duke and Chips
- BBQ Chicken Wrap w/ Cream of Broccoli Soup
Penny Lane Pub
421 E Franklin St.
Richmond, VA 23219
J: You pull up by the house, drag your suitcases back upstairs, neglect putting anything away until a few days have passed, and get ready for the daily life that is alien to the world of beaches, ski slopes, and forest paths. But, wait… You cannot just pick back up your life and give up rest and relaxation cold turkey. At least pour some gravy over the turkey. You have to ease your way back into your routine of school, work, or whatever with something about your hometown that reminds you of why you live there. For me, that is Penny Lane, where, like Cheers, everybody knows my name.
You probably have passed by it one time or another, not asking, not inquiring, not bothering to even stop on by, but your curiosity builds…it consumes you, and you find yourself drawn in by its warm glow of beer and malt vinegar coated chips (as they are properly called). Adorning the walls are knickknacks that call out for the voices that trail off across the Atlantic. Each time I visit, I grab my usual seat at the bar, offer Bobby a warm greeting, and immediately order a glass of water. Yes, you heard me right. A glass of water. Whether it is the location, the pipes, or the nameless drinks that have graced this goblets since the establishment’s first thirsty patron, each glass of water carries with it a subtle taste of 1,000 frothy beverages. Trust me. It is a good thing.
My eyes glance over the menu, but there is no need. It is already stamped into my mind. Think of reading Romeo and Juliet in elementary school, middle school, and then again in high school. You could recite it for a cash prize if so offered. After placing the order, drinking the last of my first glass, and having struck up a conversation with the waitstaff, my mind and eyes wander to other things about this building that would never otherwise enter my mind. I begin to call them “chips” and not “fries.” It becomes the “loo” and not the “restroom.” Above all else, it is “football” and never “soccer,” but then again, I never call it soccer anyway.
You glance at your fellow patrons and realize that the clientele are of a higher caliber from that karaoke bar down the hill, the wine bar a few streets over, or the bar in your neighborhood. The conversations flux between sports, politics, world issues, bad drug trips, and work, and then, you decide to see what the next table over is discussing, and it becomes a never-ending wormhole of delightful musings and unbelievable tales.
When the food finally does arrive, the first thing that your must come to terms with mentally is the aroma which reminds you of your grandmother’s recipes from the “old country.” It does not matter what country she came from, it is identical, not in ingredients, not in taste, not in appearance, but in passion, dedication, and tradition. It is comfort food of the upper tier, the kind that sends your stomach into a coma so deep that you feel your body go numb, and you forget whatever chores you had in town that day. So, is Penny Lane heaven? No. But if I had to choose between the two, heaven would need to hire Gordon Ramsey on staff to try and compete with them. It is all about coming home, and to owner and native of Liverpool, Terry O’Neil, that is what this is. Or perhaps, a better way of putting that would be…bringing home to him.