Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where everybody knows my name...

So I must admit, I’ve been something of a sad girl lately. Constantly thinking that I am without limits and biting off more than I can chew has backfired fiercely. Months and months of constant on the run equals one tired Shauna. Beyond tired… just fried, and with being tired, and fried, and overly busy comes sad girl.

But where is a sad girl to go when the pressures of the world get to me? Where everyone knows my name, of course!

You’ve all seen it—I frequently call out awesome specials at Joe Squared in my blog (mmmmm… brisket potato skins), but the other night I was over there and was so struck by how much I love that place. Seriously. I love it there—Joe’s is my happy place. I visited Tuesday night in the midst of major drama, turmoil, stress, and exhaustion. I went begrudgingly, but left in a happier mood, because it is that kind of place.

We all have a place like that, don’t we? I hope so… doesn’t have to be a bar or a restaurant, but that place that just makes you instantly happy?

Just for clarification sake (before you all start to worry), the bar aspect is actually inconsequential to my love of Joe’s Squared…really. Here is what is very consequential: when I walk in, people smile. Now I am sure they have a million regulars, but there is something about messy-haired Okan (Baltimore’s best bartender) saying “what’s up sweetie?” or the always nice and smiling David telling me I am a peach, or Jen saying “hey lady”.

Flash back. Ninth grade. First day of high school and there I was, the overweight girl with troubled skin, braces, flat hair, and an ALF tee-shirt. My brother (a Senior then) pulled my chair out from under me in the cafeteria and I fell on my butt in front of everyone. At the time, I stood up and took a bow despite being totally mortified. I’m not sure how (and if) I got over the embarrassment, but I think Joe’s has something to do with it.

Joe’s owner Joe Edwardsen is not only a brilliant cheff, but also one of the most truly decent, kind-hearted people I’ve ever known, and I say that despite him still not having read Max and Menna. Joe’s makes you feel welcome, and the laid back atmosphere makes you feel relaxed. There is this staff of people who know what wine to pour without being asked, who ask me how my day was and tell me about theirs. Of course I love it there!! And I could (and probably have) fallen on my butt there before, and people smirk, help me up, and we laugh together. Thank you Joe’s for helping me get over high school trauma and finally, finally feel like a cool kid… at least within your walls.

So people, if you don’t have a Joe’s, you should get one. If you’re in Baltimore, I’ll happily offer you use of my happy place!


  1. I'm so glad you have this place to go to when you need to! Everyone needs that. For me, that place is the once-a-month Creative Memories scrapbooking workshop, or our local bookstore, or the Ohio University Inn restaurant. Everyone needs a place.

  2. I like your spit-fire and candid writing, Shauna. And I'd go to Joe's tonight if I could. I was just looking for a comfy, but delish, restaurant to go tonight with my honey. I'm fussy. But comfy and feeling at home is important. The local Beantown here in Hampstead, NH is a bit like that for me.

  3. Joe's sounds wonderful. My place is the gym. It gets me out of the doldrums pronto. Thanks for sharing this. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

  4. Oh Madeline... I wish I had that love of the gym. Trust me, my waist line shows that my happy place is a restaurant and not the gym!

  5. Shauna,

    This is lovely -- the writing and sentiment. I too am rather fond of Joe Edwardsen and Joe Squared. But more importantly that yearning for a place -- a home away from home -- is always there. I don't have one in Rochester, but feel it every time I am in Baltimore.