Monday, January 29, 2007

Later (Gators)

I'm still not sure whether this place is called Laters or Later Gators. This restaurant opened over the summer down in Center Wheeling. It's located next to Saseen's which I've always considered kind of a grease pit a la Mel's Diner. Laters is the EXACT opposite. They serve mostly soup, sandwiches and crepes. Yeah, you heard me, crepes. For those diehard Wheeling residents, a crepe is a thin version of a pancake. You're probably thinking, "Wow Saf, thanks for the culinary lesson." Harsh Reality Ohio County Alert - I think 15% of the customers probably make this inquiry.
The place is open til 9pm. I'm not sure I'd go there for dinner but it's perfectly suited for lunch. The sandwiches are definitely above par - great reuben. The owner seems to have a lsight obsession with avocados which is cool with me. I like avocados although I hate it when people use the word "guack" instead of guacamole. I hope the recent devestation of the California citrus crop doesn't alter any tactical menu decsions. The crepes are outstanding as well; however, they're a tiny bit pricey (by Wheeling standards). But then again, every time you raise the price of a beer by a quarter or a Chinese buffet by a buck, there is an outcry in this town. Elderly women get so incensed, they send letters to the editor, spread hostile rumors at church bingo and basically do everything in their power to launch a counter-insurgence.
Anything you order seems to be accompanied by a garnish consisting of 6 strands of non-iceberg lettuce and 3 mandarin oranges. It's a nice touch, but occasionally the juice from the oranges tries to infiltrate the sandwich or crepe.
This place is fantastic. Great food, great service and a very pleasant atmosphere. The ambience is terrific and I'm not one who's consumed with the decorative nature of the universe. . You're magically transported to a major city for a brief moment in time. Regrettably, at some point, you must exit the building and you're back on Chapline St. Then, reality sets in when you see an old lady with severe osteoperosis wheeling a rusty shopping cart filled with low-end powder detergent. Then, you accidentally overhear an "afternoon hooker" who laments, "I'm tired of prostitutin my body." At this point, you calmly remove the $1.00 ticket from your windshield because you neglected to put a dime in the meter. I suggest you hit I-470. Downtown Wheeling will be fucked for the next year as they fix the I-70 tunnels. Yeah, I know they said it would only take 3 months. Yeah, Right!
By the way, the crepes all have creative names. One time I ordered The Crepes of Wrath and the waitress said, "Oooh yeah, you're getting the Wrath. Good choice!" This was the best thing that happened to me in 2006.