Jan 152024

While Chooch was at his Pitt game creation class on Saturday, Henry and I had our Blue Flame re-do. I don’t think I have been here since 2021 when Corey and I closed the place down with our incessant talking. This was when we first discovered that they were advertising HERSHEY ICE CREAM all over the outside of the restaurant, but we never really bothered to investigate.

I rarely come here anymore because it seems like every time I get the urge, they’re not open. Their hours have been fucked, and I feel like that was even before the pandemic and now it’s even worse. They’re not open for dinner AT ALL and even though the website says they’re open until 2PM, it can be a crapshoot. For instance, we made sure to leave the house around noon just in case on Saturday and it’s a good thing we did because once we got here, Henry overheard one of the servers saying they were closing early.

Well, I can now report that it’s a legit ice cream counter and I am simultaneously impressed and also disgusted by this. Let me explain. Before it was this ice cream thing, it was the location of the breakfast buffet – another thing that I did not care for because THAT replaced the best section of Blue Flame. There used to be a semi-enclosed area here with two large wrap-around booths. With the exception of an doorway, it was surrounded by a wooden wall and if my memory serves, I want to say there were also stained glass windows in the official colors of the 70s – orange/yellow/browns.

I wish there were photos of this in the mad stacks I inherited when we were cleaning out my grandparents house. It was where my Pappap always sat with me when we went there on weekdays for lunch. I would have been LITTLE, pre-school age, and he would always be meeting up with his buddies. I loved those days so much that my nose is starting to burn right now as my impending tears announce their arrival. I’d have my prized stuffed dog, Purple, with me. My Pappap would be drinking coffee, bullshitting with his other business-owner buddies, whacking on his water glass with a knife with purposeful obnoxiousness in order to get the attention of one of the waitresses who LOVED to dish it right back to him — my favorite was Monica and I can picture her like it was yesterday and she was telling me not to let those guys bother me as she slid my grilled cheese* onto the table.

*(Except that back then, I called it “girl cheese” because I seriously thought that was what they were called and that they were only for girls.)

And now, it’s just a stupid counter slinging basic-ass Hershey’s ice cream. Cool cool cool.

Change is for the fucking birds.

The grilled cheese was way more satisfying than the limp one I got last week at Deer Creek Diner but the fries were not good, another thing that’s changed because Blue Flame was the origin of my obsession with the “good ones,” those elusive perfectly crisp fries that Henry still doesn’t understand to pick them out of a line up.

Now they’re just…dry and ordinary.

And there are only young high school girls who work there now it seems, no Monica. (There was another OG who I can picture vividly but I can’t remember her name, although I think she was still there up until my adult years because I swear I had the “You probably don’t remember me…” conversation with her and she flipped out when I name-dropped my Pappap. Goddamn, it’s been a while since I cried about him, yet here we are, lol ugh.)

The bathroom has looked like this for as long as I can remember, and Blue Flame in general has a very distinct smell that has persevered throughout. Not a bad smell, but an old, nostalgic stench of, I dunno, grease, potpourri, and whatever cleaner they use.

And then after you leave, you have to walk to the edge of the parking lot and look at the creek. It’s, as my friend Alyson would say, part of the process. Henry of course went straight to the car because he’s not a member of the Blue Flame Club so these things aren’t important to him. Henry also has exactly zero amounts of sentimentality.

So yeah, that was my decent-but-sad lunch at Blue Flame on Saturday. I should go there more often because if they ever close, you know I will be the first to bitch about it while having done nothing to contribute to their business over the last decade. So, anyone want to hit up Blue Flame some weekend for breakfast, you just let me know. The earlier we get there, the less chance we have of them closing early on us.


P.S. While we were there, I had a flashback to junior year when I took my whole entire friend group there for dinner and there were so many of us that we had to go to the backroom and pull several tables together. I have video of this somewhere which I would share but I need to digitize my entire home video collection and this makes me tired thinking about it so I keep telling Henry to handle it and he’s procrastinating as always. But damn, I’d really love to see that. There were so many of us that night and, as I told Henry through a mouthful of masticated grilled cheese on Saturday, it was one of the best nights of my life. *tear*

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