One of the first questions I asked when I found out we'd be going to my old neighborhood in Spokane was if Hogan's was still open. Hogan's was the closest thing to a Peach Pit or The Max my high school friends and I had. Well, that's not true; we hung out more at Senor Froggy's and Baskin Robbins, but that was because half of us worked at one of those places. Hogan's was special, though. It was our kitsch.
Various groupings of us would head there after school on Friday and get Green River sodas and an order of french fries with a side of hollandaise sauce. And without fail, every time we were there, we'd hear the shattering of a glass. Someone in the back had butter fingers. Jon said that even the last time he was there a few months prior, a glass had broken. Could the streak still be alive?
Bill, Jon and I went to the grand old spot in the South Hill Shopping Center, and for me the only things there that hadn't changed were Hogan's and 2nd Look Books, where Bill worked in high school. Everything had remodeled or moved out or closed down.
We sat down and I immediately asked our young, yet familiar looking* waitress if they still served Green River soda. She had no idea what I was talking about. I then spontaneously grew a three foot long beard that tapered off to a point at the end. One of the bus boys happened by at that moment and I asked him if he remembered Green River. He said that he did and that Hogan's had stopped serving it years ago. My beard then shrunk down to a tasteful Sam Elliot style mustache.
When our waitress came by again, I tried to sound as creepy as possible. "This is weird but you look really familiar. Did you have an older sister who went to Ferris [High School]?"
"Oh, what was her name?"
"Shelby blah blah."
Jon, Bill and I looked at each other. No bell's rung.
"Yeah. That's not familiar at all. Sorry for sounding creepy."
"Oh no problem!"
Jon ordered the biscuits and gravy. This kid must be going through his own B&G phase. The plate was smothered with greasy goodness.
I ordered the meat loaf sandwich because I was hankering for some brown gravy. The gravy was thick but edged on too salty, but the meat loaf was perfectly moist. I asked for french fries instead of mashed potatoes, as mashed potatoes are a side dish I'm never in the mood for.
Yes, the keen the observer will note, those are mashed potatoes on my plate and not french fries. When our waitress realized the mistake, she brought out a jumbo basket of fries. We also inquired if we could get Hollandaise sauce for our fries. It was missing from the menu, but the waitress had no problem bringing us out a little dish. You can tell from the picture that it wasn't of the highest quality, but it was still good enough to assuage our sense of nostalgia.
The real star of the meal was Bill's order of the "Big Bopper." It's a load of food. Three pieces of toast (Why three? Simple math. Three is better than two), hash browns (unfortunately not the Spokane-style I was hoping for), two eggs and some bacon. Toss a couple of pancakes on there and you get...well...a LOAD of food.
It was fun being in this old haunt again. Oddly, a lot of the places that held significance for me in Spokane aren't around anymore. The Denny's on Sprague is now some Mongolian Grill. The place where we had dinner before prom has burned down. It was good to see old Horace Hogan depicted on the interior wall, greeting me with a burger.
There was only one disappointment during this little trip down memory lane: Nobody dropped a glass.
2977 E 29TH Ave,
Spokane, WA 99223-4811
Tel: (509) 535-7567
This bring us to the end of the Spokane portion of the "On the Road" journey. I'm making a quick sojourn back to Los Angeles to review a place and then I'll continue with my Northwest reviews. Look for Wenatchee Washington's Prospector Pies soon.