Icons of the top of Burke Street include Pellegrini’s, the Paperback and the Spaghetti Tree. I remember all three of these from long, long ago when I was born.
Everyone talks about Pellegrini’s, still. The coffee at 10ish on a Saturday night is, actually, not that great. Certainly I wasn’t hanging out for it, as they say, so maybe I noticed more than usual that coffee often doesn’t taste that good really – it’s a drug you take to stop you wanting it. But still. The guys behind the counter (my age) were talking about a worst album cover competition. One of them was uncertain what such a thing might even be. The explanation was ‘you might have a ten best films, right. Well this isn’t ten best, it’s ten worst. And it’s album covers.’ Anyway I couldn’t glean what the actual worst album cover was, so that was stupid of me. I was amazed that some women came in and asked to see a menu. EVERYONE KNOWS the menu is stuck on a board half way up the joint. Nothing goes on, nothing comes off. What’s the special today? You are.
Over the lane is another institution: The Paperback. This is the kind of shop that, if it wasn’t still there for you to go into any time you wanted, you’d go into it in your sentimental mind, because it has this perfectly simple layout and way cool stock and always really friendly staff who like books. (So, someone will probably tell me it’s run by a nazi or capitalist or a jailed pedophile or something – thanks in advance for that). When I went there the door was locked with a back in 5 note on the front. But someone – a customer, I later gleaned, who had been intentionally or unintentionally locked in – let me in, during which time I noted they had about five locks on the door. I browsed and got some great stuff.
Spaghetti Tree I have to admit I have never been into. But it’s always been there (or at least since the early 70s). I think it started out as a kind of theatre restaurant, but if that’s so it’s not one now, it’s just a spaghetti restaurant (actually, I’m assuming even that, I haven’t looked at the menu). I wonder if it has new regular clientele coming all the time, or if its customers are just depleting year by year as granny from Doncaster stops coming into town cuz she dies. I wonder.