South Bay Dive Bar Nearly Runs Out Of Its Signature Burgers
I could smell the burgers a block from the bar, so much so that were I not headed in there already, I would have changed course to go into the place.
It was a rich, deep smell that overtook the air in Manhattan Beach, CA, and it had me anticipating the taste even more so than I had when I decided to go to Ercoles for its weekly Wednesday 2-for-1 burger night.
I quickened my pace and once inside, paused, took a deep breath and looked at all the satisfied faces around me, all with those thick and juicy burgers in front of them.
While walking up to the bar or order, an acquaintance stopped me to deliver some shocking news: Ercoles ran out of burgers.
How could this be, after the place was its usual crowded but not slammed. It was 8 p.m., and perhaps they had a huge run earlier in the night.
“That’s what they told us,” my friend said.
And sure enough, I checked with the bartender and he said they ran out of meat. No burgers.
You know the feeling when you have your stomach set on something and then you can’t get it. You know nothing – no matter what else you wind up eating – will make up for the loss of what you were expecting in the first place. Ercoles, at least on Wednesday nights, is pretty much a one-item joint, so I would have to go find food elsewhere, as well as friends who were coming to join me.
The bartender did, however, give me a sliver of cause for optimism. They were pausing to take some inventory and might just have enough for a few more burgers. In the meantime, have a beer and I’ll let you know.
So I grabbed a beer and waited. Other locals came in and we joked that we should just go next door to Manhattan Market where Erc’s gets the beef for its burgers, which is one reason they are so good, and bring them to the grill.
After about 20 minutes, relief came when the bartender motioned me over to him and said the burgers were back on the grill and did I want one.
Did I want one!? Does a college student want another beer from the keg!? Does a crowd at a concert want another song from the band? Does a girl want a new pair of shoes!?
Of course I want one! (Well, two actually because they were 2-4-1.)
It took another 30 minutes or so to get it but ohhh my, the great taste and satisfaction I had when I took that first bite.
And the funny thing is, the burger tasted even a little bit better than usual because of my rising anticipation of it, then the potential denial of getting it. When I finally got, it there was more than the usual satisfaction of great taste.
So thus ended the Great Erc’s Burger Scare.
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