Before reading what went wrong with Al the Wop’s, you should first read about what was right. The last time I went to Al the Wop’s I was horrified, there was a sign right out front that said “Al the Wop’s” – it was a bad omen.
I walked in the door, same dingy bar, but WAIT! On the back wall, next to the door was…A MENU! And there was stuff on the menu besides steak…chicken even. You will see from these reviews that much has changed. Evidently they take credit cards. Shrimp? Burgers? Fries for dinner? Salad????? It is all very wrong. Read through the reviews, you will get a sense of the great dive I remember, but you will also see how the mighty has fallen, how the ghost of greatness now haunts a mediocre joint.
The dining room looked the same, but when I sat down the server handed me a menu (“and where was the old gal?”, I wondered). I didn’t come here to read anything but a book or a newspaper! Then the server asked what I wanted…I nearly shouted, “A STEAK YOU IMBECILE! WHAT ELSE WOULD ANYBODY EVER COME HERE FOR?!?” But I didn’t, I showed great restraint and decency by calmly (outwardly calm, inside I was an emotional wreck) ordering my steak and answering the interminable questions that kept coming at me from the server. The peanut butter was there, the apricot jam was there – and it WAS apricot jam, not marmalade.
The steak came, the toast did also, I ate, I paid, I left, and I cried for what once was and was now no more. I don’t remember if the food was any good or not, so deep was my disappointment and shock. The place had sold, and the new owners didn’t understand what they had bought…they had bought perfection in a shack, and you can’t improve on perfect.
The outside is spruced up, there’s a menu, there’s stuff on the menu…I am realizing that it’s the stuff on the menu that is the root of all the evil that has come upon Al the Wop’s. The sign and the paint on the outside, those are wrong, but they are minor transgressions. The stuff, that’s the cardinal sin and it led to other great sins like the menu. Without the stuff, there would be no need for a menu. Without the menu there would be no need for the server to ask more than one question, without the multitude of questions, I’m sure the old gal could have kept here job!
Al’s as it is cannot go on my list of Great Dives I Remember, but Al the Wop’s as it once was remains at the top in all it’s divey delicious by-gone glory.