Yes You Can! find lighter-hearted stories on NJ.com unrelated to the big (post) Sopes Opera; yet as a very recent out-migrant I let guard down jes’ long enough to get whacked by this, from the great Peter Genovese, a seemingly harmless piece on burger joints designed for appeal to next month’s Super Bowl goers, forbidden from tail-gating in the Swamp (or hoofing it to the Meadowlands stadium, even from a hotel 600 yards away in Rutherford).
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about Loaded in Garwood, Genovese exclaims. “Just get there early,” advised Michelle S. “They sell out fast!”
What!? Of the hundreds of times I stood outside that location there a-bike with Charlie, I never noticed this fairly new joint’s name. I’ve heard of Loaded-for-Bear, but ‘Loaded’ for burgers?
And I do mean hundreds of times—Dr. Chew nods in affirmation—DAILY trips between late-spring and our recent departure West. Charlie would purposefully stop the bike at that S.E. corner of South Ave. and Center St. Garwood, right under the little awning of what had most recently been a Peruvian restaurant, then a deli before that and a Bar-B-Que before that…it changed hands in tempo with the saloon across the street which likewise knew a half-dozen incarnations during our decade+ in the nabe.
Charlie would park the bike on sidewalk at that corner and remain aboard and perform a kinda meditation-lookin thing like a junior Buddha boy. Every so often he also briefly resembled—strictly from civilian perspective of course—the Buddha’s agitate-able younger cousin and sometime nemesis; call him Larry.
Charlie’s traveling mantra was: NO GALLOPING HILL (his all-time favorite joint quite some distance of ground northeast of Center and South); that destination was limited to special bike ride occasions. ‘No Galloping Hill’ was signal to turn right on South Ave; a second devotional spot lay slightly further down the block.