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11 November 2001

Cafe Michael Burger Scare

Last night, Callie and some friends and I decided to check out one of our favorite local bands, 24 Count, in Galveston at Yaga's. Since I don't get to Galveston very often these days, it was also a handy opportunity to visit some old favorites.

It's been over a year since I last visited quirky Cafe Michael Burger. Despite the odd name, it's a really good gourmet burger joint that serves the same fried mushrooms as an old undergraduate hang in Springfield MO, Ebbets Field. So sue me, I'm a nostalgic cuss. And I really like Cafe MB's combination of excellent food and strange decor, not to mention it's off the beaten path.

So on the trip to Galveston, I'm carrying on with my usual enthusiasm in such matters, eagerly anticipating Cafe MB. But I'm also joking with Callie, along the lines of -- what if they've closed? What if they have shortened their hours? What if.... all sorts of ridiculous scenarios.

We hit Seawall Boulevard, and begin to progress AWAY from the hotels and other attractions toward Cafe MB. And we begin to see all sorts of emergency vehicles. The realization sinks in. "OH NOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOO! CAFE MICHAEL BURGER HAS BURNED DOWN!!!!!!" I wailed. Callie looked at me funny. Sometimes, even still, she does not understand certain anguishes of mine.

As we approached, we were relieved to see that the building well BEHIND Cafe MB had burned, and fire crews were finishing up their work extinguishing the blaze. But Cafe MB was obviously deserted. "NOOOOO! IT'S GONE. NO MORE CAFE MICHAEL BURGER," I continued. The shock overwhelmed me.

Fortunately, Callie had the good sense to call information on her mobile phone. The information operator seemed perplexed that anyone would call a business "Cafe Michael Burger" but eventually produced a phone number. I was still mumbling about it not being fair as Callie began talking to the folks at Cafe Michael Burger. They had moved! Only about a minute down the road. Joy!

And then amusement. Several businesses had sprung up around the old Cafe MB since I had last been down there. No doubt things were getting too busy and too crowded for them. So they headed further away from the expansion. "It's a strange way to run a business, but THAT's my Cafe Michael Burger," I thought!

We pulled in to the new place, which is a building the resembles an icehouse, only on stilts. The old Cafe Michael Burger sign with the German font has been placed in front. The pink and blue color scheme is still going on, although it is now more subdued (if such a thing is possible with those colors). The place still does not take credit cards. And the structure is definitely an upgrade. Other than that, everything remains the same. The burgers and mushrooms were tasty, and we were delighted to see the cafe populated with "regulars" as opposed to the med students, tourists, and kiddos who overcrowd Galveston's better-known establishments on the weekends.

The rest of the Galveston adventure was anti-climactic. We caught up with our friends to have Stoli martinis at Fitzpatrick's, which makes the best martini in Texas in my experience. And then we walked over to Yaga's for 24 Count. The guys have revamped their sound since replacing drummers a few months ago, and it really works for them.

In all, a satisfying evening. And thank goodness Cafe Michael Burger didn't burn!

[Posted @ 04:29 PM CST]


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