Friday Dinner 
I'm on my way to my parent's place for the weekend and have stopped for dinner. It's worth backing up a little and explaining why I am where I am at the moment.

With traffic and a stop for fuel working against me, I realized I could not join my parents for dinner. (Not without making them wait a couple hours.) I called to give them my ETA and suggested they dine without me.

"No problem," said my mother, "we're just having BLTs."

Just BLTs. I was now faced with a craving.

Driving up I-75, the vast majority of the information I had easy access to (i.e., roadside signs) informed me of all sorts of places that did not speak to me of BLT availability. Some of the exits had a Big Boy restaurant at them and I thought Big Boy probably had a BLT on the menu, but I did not want to risk being disappointed. I kept driving north.

I had a back-up plan. I knew that Tony's at exit 136 had a BLT on the menu. It's a BLT that I try to avoid, being older and wiser than I once was, but it was there, patiently biding its time.

Having failed to find anything that sounded promising by the time I was 136 miles from where I-75 enters Michigan's southern border, I reluctantly exited the freeway and turned left. Driving across the overpass and past the Marathon station, I turned right into Tony's parking lot, parked, and joined the queue waiting for tables. There is always a wait for a table at meal times.

Once at the head of the line, I was sized up by the person doing the seating.

"How many?"


"Do you mind sitting at the counter?"

"Sure -- no problem." I actually enjoy sitting at the counter in most places. As a former short-order cook, I like to watch the staff in action and see how the production line flows. I'd call it "professional interest" if I was still cooking for a living. These days, I think of it more as "confirming that I'm glad I don't do that sort of thing every day."

I took a seat at the counter -- right across from the spot where the waiters pick up the the food. Staring back at me was a BLT. It was eight or nine inches tall. Tony's, you see, brags about the pound of bacon that goes into their BLTs. That was why this was my BLT of last resort -- I really don't want that much bacon at one sitting.

"I can't order one of those -- I'll get something else," I decided, and asked for a menu.

Every now and then, we all run into moments in our lives where we look around for a hidden camera. When we're sure we've been set up for some sort of practical joke or that we're being manipulated for the amusement of others. This was such a moment in my life.

"Hmmm . . . 'Hot Roast Beef Sandwich' sounds good," crossed my mind, just before a cook set one on the ledge for a passing waiter to pick up. "No, I can't eat all of that."

"Ooh! How about the Fish-n- . . . no, that's enormous," just as someone walked by with an order for a diner more ravenous than I.

"I could get the . . . ," and the next thing I considered showed up on the ledge, causing me to change my mind again.

This went on for an improbably long time.

Finally, I noticed the hamburgers -- 1/2 pound burgers. That's the same size as the burgers I often get at lunch. That's not stupidly large! I can get one of those.

The burger actually provided me with a solution to my craving. A cheeseburger came with lettuce, tomato, and mayo; if I added bacon to it, I'd have my BLT. With a cheeseburger on it! Sort of a "ground beef club sandwich," but I knew this would satisfy the BLT craving and ordered a cheeseburger with bacon.

If only it had been that simple. This is Tony's I-75 Restaurant -- a palace of prodigious proportions. For this reason, I am now looking at burger, served open-face, with half a pound of bacon on it.

There is no way I am going to close that sandwich and fit it in my mouth. No human mouth is that large. The solution? Treat most of the bacon as an "appetizer" and keep nibbling until there were only about 6-8 slices left. Then I'll close the sandwich and enjoy my BLT/Cheeseburger.

It occurs to me I should document this substantial sandwich:

It is worth noting that I have eaten about a third of the bacon before having the presence of mind to take a picture.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a date with a deliciousness.

Tony's I-75 Restaurant
8781 Main Street
(Exit 136, I-75)
Birch Run, MI 48415

(989) 624-5860

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