Tales from College: No! Not Perkins!

Perkins Family Restaurant Logo

Perkins Family Restaurant Logo

Whenever I’m hungry late at night, I remember this event.

In freshman year of college, we had a few places we went to for emergency meals.  One of them was Perkins, which was open late and in walking distance of campus.  I had missed dinner due to falling asleep in class and not being woken up.  Greg missed dinner for reasons he won’t share.  Ethan was doing work or something.  The point is that we were hungry and we wanted to go to Perkins like we did the night before.  Reason for the night before was that we hated what was in the cafeteria.  Comedy ensued then since one guy forgot his wallet, so everyone ordered something that came with a side salad and gave the salad to him.  Most amount of roughage I’ve ever seen eaten in one sitting.  I’m digressing here.

We stepped into the autumn chill to make the walk to Perkins, our stomachs growling.  Our hearts rose at the sight of the sign as we neared.  I should point out that the main drag of the town was an Interstate and it was void of cars at this time.  So, we had no reason to wonder about the lack of cars in the parking lot.  The sign didn’t light up so that wasn’t a clue.  You would think the inside being dark would be a hint, but we pulled at the door anyway.  Then we noticed all of the chairs were up.  Everything was inside, but it was like nobody came to open the restaurant that day.  It was locked and gone.

Greg is always the model of calm, but Ethan and I may have overreacted.  Him looking through every window and me ranting about how much this sucked.  Although, Greg may have done an exaggerated ‘Nooooooo!’ while dropping to his knees.  We were young, hungry, and idiots.  This is why the following happened.

We walked down the interstate (middle of it) in search of food.  This is a trio of college freshman who had spent most of the last month playing Resident Evil 2.  For those that don’t know, it’s a big zombie game where you enter dark areas and get jumped by the undead.  To say we were starting to let our imaginations get the best of us is an understatement.  Eventually, we hit a gas station where the guys got candy and cookies.  I was the moron that got the last slice of gas station pizza and ended the night practically french kissing the toilet.

Moral of this?  I miss Perkins.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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70 Responses to Tales from College: No! Not Perkins!

  1. acuriousgal says:

    No…not gas station pizza!!!!!! You must have been in The Twilight Zone cause Perkins is ALWAYS open!!!

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  2. I think we all had that favorite late night haunt for food in college. Of course, when I was in college in a small town (back in the dark ages), there were no all night eateries (or even all night WalMarts).

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    • Perkins was only open until 1 AM, but that was enough for us. There was a pizza place that was all night. Though, we never had much luck with that. Ordered 2 large pies and got 1 pizza and a large order of fries.

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  3. tjtherien says:

    when I worked in the bars there use to be a 24 hour breakfast place we would go to eat when we got off work for a 3 or 4am feeding… which ironically is when a lot of strippers eat…

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  4. We loved Perkins in college. I still have friends that, when I come into town, they insist on Perkins.

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  5. Perkin’s brings back memories. While in college I worked 3 jobs just to make ends meet and one of them was as a dishwasher in a Perkin’s in southern New Jersey. Great post my friend…thanks. 🙂

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  6. sknicholls says:

    We still have Perkin’s all over down here, but the one near our home closed down, Don’t know why. They got good business. Working the night shift, I used to go out for the Nurses to get food around 3-4 am and all the Transvestites would be at the 24 hour McDonald’s because the big Orlando Gay club, The Parliament House was right down the street. They were hilarious. Most were actresses/actors in their theatrical productions. Very interesting group.

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    • I wonder if it’s something to do with the chain or the locations rent. I worked in a Hollywood Video in Deltona. It was doing terrible until I got there, but they closed it anyway because the rent was too high. Same thing happened to a Blockbuster in Winter Park.

      I forgot about the Transvestites around the area. Ran into them once or twice during a few night walks. Though my friend and I mostly ran into crackheads. One time we were approached by a guy that needed a place to hide from his angry ‘bitches’. He either got caught by his girlfriend or (due to his clothes) a pimp whose women turned on him.

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      • sknicholls says:

        LOL….hilarious. Don’t think it was his “girl” friends.

        The rents around where I am are high but are nothing compared to the rents around the touristy areas…but we probably didn’t give them the same traffic.

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      • It was really hard to figure out what the guy was going on about. Every few seconds, he’d start ranting about ‘bitches be psychotic sluts’.

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  7. Well you brought back some memories. I guess all freshman spent a lot of time hunting food. Our favorite toilet hugger was the chili dog at Sams. Guaranteed to get you one end or the other. (why did we eat them? They were the best!!!!!)

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    • Thankfully, we didn’t have many of those beyond cheap beer. We learned what not to eat rather quickly. Still, we had a taco place that took half of us out by morning and a pizza place that was hit and miss. Reminds me of a meatball sub story that I should post some day. One of my most memorable incidents.

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  8. Myas says:

    We lost the one and only Perkins in this town a while back. We’d also lost the one restaurant in town that made Eggs Benedict, my favorite. Very recently we lost the one restaurant in town that’s been here forever, ok, so the owner wanted to retire, that had a Sunday Brunch for $12.95, $18.95 on Mother’s Day, that served smoked salmon, which I’d load up on – makes you just want to shoot yourself. Anyway, one fateful day, feeling the urge for breakfast food and wanting Eggs Benedict, my daughter and I made the mistake of going to IHOP. The grease permeated our skin as soon as we walked in the door. An old school friend of hers, quite handsome and personable who would be our waiter, met us at the door, and led us to our table as the two of them babbled memories. We ordered and glossed over the feeling and aroma of grease. The food tasted like grease, the utensils felt like grease, the Eggs Benedict was dry if you can imagine that one, but my grandson didn’t care because he still drank from bottles that luckily weren’t prepared by IHOP. Never again.

    Perkins was always the best. When my kids were younger and living at home we’d go often enough. I loved their wheatcakes and selection of syrups. I miss it awful.

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    • Been so long that I don’t even remember what was good. I’ve had good and bad experiences with IHOP. I think it depends on the location because I’ve been to a few where there was no grease. Been to others that should have been condemned. I used to live in walking distance of a Denny’s though. It wasn’t bad, but it had some really insane dishes.

      I live on Long Island, NY and there are local diners all over the place. I missed those places when I lived in Florida. Good food, decent prices, and great atmosphere.

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      • Myas says:

        Well, as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing like NY food. We have 2 diners here, one closes at 6 these days and the other serves a lot of “chicken-fried” stuff. It’s sad.

        I’m from NY myself and lived out on Long Island when I was a kid – Center Moriches. The only reason we wouldn’t make it to the ocean during the summer was monsoon downpour, otherwise we’d play in the soggy sand while mom and my older cousin laid out blankets and set up the umbrella. They knew the sun would shine.

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      • I’m in East Meadow where we’re in the center of Nassau County. We do try to go to the beach with the toddler, but it gets rough with timing these days.

        The diners around me have a lot of Greek dishes on the menu, which is interesting.

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      • Myas says:

        Well, most were Greek diners anyway. I’m glad to hear there are more Greek dishes – good stuff!

        I miss the east. Get me outta here!

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      • Never realized that with the diners. Love the tradition though. Right up there with Chinese food places changing their name every few months to throw a Grand Opening celebration.

        I don’t think I could exist for very long without NY pizza.

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      • Myas says:

        Ooooohhhhhhh…NY pizza! You have no idea! At the local Natural Grocers, I found ‘NY Pizza’ stamped across the top of a box in the frozen section. There were 3 different kinds, one vegan, so I thought just maybe. As I read a little closer, the NY Pizza was made in Illinois. I decided to give it a try. I bought the regular and the spicy. (I’ll leave vegan up to the vegans) It was already cooked and took 7 minutes to heat. it was a thin crust, no drippy oil and less than half the size of a classic slice. I couldn’t complain about the taste, my grandson didn’t waste any of it. One vote for NY pizza made in Illinois. This is in contrast to pizza made at a restaurant that just opened in town called “Brooklyn Pizza” – my heart stopped and I didn’t dare to hope. Good thing. It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant, serving middle eastern dishes along with their pizza and calzones. Like they do in Istanbul, a name is used to catch attention and has no relation to anything authentic. It’s a small business run by a middle eastern family. The only life saver is a place called Wise Guys that makes a pizza called “The Boss”, an actual 16-inch pizza that makes an effort to take up a fair section of a dining room table. Because of its size, it has to be thin crust and the last time I had a slice there was oil. Don’t let me forget Shakespeare’s Pizza that has a flock of students behind the counter actually preparing the pizza by hand and on occasion someone tries the toss. It’s not bad but doesn’t have the size.

        As I note these things it occurs to me what it is that’s actually wrong with this place. Although it is internationally diverse, it still doesn’t offer much to live for. Culture comes here to die whether it realizes it or not.

        Take me home country roads or the streets of New York!

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      • That’s really interesting with the Istanbul thing. I can see how the practice works, but it still seems rather underhanded.

        In Florida, there were a lot of places that said New York Style pizza. Many of them were average, but there were two near my apartment that were great. One was owned by a family from Manhattan and the other was a family from the Bronx.

        I just realized I’m not sure where you are, so I don’t know how far away you are.

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      • Myas says:

        I’m in Columbia Missouri, a college town of one University and two smaller colleges. The university has gone up a few pegs and finally has a status in the “Best Colleges” list at #365ish, they couldn’t be found not so long ago and the football team has also moved up and gets to play tougher teams which draws students in. Student housing complexes – worlds within a world – are going up like wildfires. Needless to say we are overrun with students. The town has become dependent on student business like some towns depend on tourists to stay afloat.

        There was one New York deli here owned by authentic New Yorkers but most are all too willing to succumb to supporting the University – Mizzou – for better business so things change. Sad, so sad.

        In Florida there’s a better chance of coming across New York food. It was the place New Yorkers went to retire! Even my youngest brother had a time-share there for a while in Fl Lauderdale.

        For the Turks, believe it or not besides being a shrewd business move they are trying to identify with what they admire, what they like – hmm – what they relate to. In many cases they’re taking their cue from what they see as westernization or how we do business. They love Italians, so many Turkish companies have italian names. New York City is a place of prestige and admiration to them. If you’re a Turk and have been to New York, you’ve been somewhere. It’s status. I lived there teaching English for almost two years, still have friends there and of course students have become friends, many keep in touch. They are a developing country that is a part of me. I can say that if my daughter hadn’t had a child I’d still be living there and import her to stay with me time to time. My son still lives there. He and his wife will be back for a visit soon.

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      • I went to a NY State college, so I know what it’s like to be in a town that depends on student business. I lived there for a year after graduating and it was rough. A lot of driving was required to get to most jobs and those were retail.

        Funny thing about Florida is that it isn’t as many retirees as one would think. When I moved there, people were being told that New Yorkers were seen as great workers. Supposedly, Florida loved the gung-ho work ethic of New Yorkers and drew people in. The truth was that many employers I ran into saw New Yorkers as high-strung and risky investments. Felt a little tricked while I was there doing retail jobs.

        Makes some sense with the westernization for business. I think that happens in a lot of places.

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      • Myas says:

        That’s interesting about Florida. It was common talk within my family about moving to Florida like you see families talk about in the movies. As far as New Yorkers go, from living there, then moving away, New Yorkers have a ‘professionality’ I haven’t seen anywhere else. Europeans appreciate it I can tell you. I saw the difference when I first moved here and it floored me. The midwest is a different world. The university here teaches an arrogance like in a class distinction, not how to behave in a professional business-driven world. It hasn’t gotten any better over the years. Too much textbook, not enough practicality to balance it out. Too much stress on the ‘young professional’ that is sorority or fraternity. I didn’t really want to come back here but my daughter moved back right before I began my teaching abroad adventures. I got involved with the medical profession that worked to support my kids. It’s also what initially drove me back to school. Demographics have changed thanks to Hurricane Katrina, crime is on the rise again, there are gangs where there weren’t any before and there is still that tri-state meth connection.

        One student in Istanbul who keeps in touch for the sake of practicing his English is proud that his company is doing some jobs in New York City, construction of some sort, I hope more of these things happen for first hand experience of how business is run – of course – things are bound to get lost in translation. Turkish isn’t anything like Latin based languages. The accent on pronunciation is opposite than what we’re used to so thinking is completely different. The whole prospect excites me though and I’d love to be in the middle of it absorbing understanding from both sides. I’d love to bridge gaps in understanding allowing each to be an individual. There shouldn’t be a tower of Babel but we can work together and communicate better while having those differences that keep us humble! I probably sound crazy but I love language.

        I’ve worked in retail, food, clothing and other worldly sales. I’ve held quite a few different jobs over the years. You have babies, businesses change, restructure, you move, find other employment, get involved with other professions, go back to school – I’ve rolled with the punches and changes. I recently graduated with an MBA, something I started before I went abroad, got fed up with the college, wrote to the Dean explaining I wouldn’t be continuing with them – went abroad, had other plans for studying but came back here to become a grandma. Going back to school was something to do to bide time getting resettled – again. I attended Mizzou as an undergrad 25 to 30 years older than your average Freshman and graduated in 2001 in May, my son graduated in 2001 in August, then I tried out Stephens College, one of the two smaller ones here, in 2010.

        I started writing to help me keep my sanity.

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      • Wow. That’s a long list of life events. I’ve gone through a lot of motions for most of my life, so it’s been rather tame and bland.

        I hear people talk about the professionality of New Yorkers. I haven’t really noticed it. Probably because I’m busy working. I took every job I got seriously until I got fed up with office work and went for the writing career full throttle.

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      • Myas says:

        Let me tell you I didn’t plan the way life turned out. The example around me was to love someone and stay married forever while having a boatload of kids. Thinking changed from 50s to 60s to 70s, I don’t know if any of it is getting back to that commitment. Everything is lost in business.

        I noticed the differences in professionalism when I moved. I’d gotten involved in medical, couldn’t get back into clerical because I hadn’t worked for almost two years after having my daughter, so suddenly I didn’t have enough experience. The medical profession is always understaffed so there I went and was eventually directed back to school. Can’t get promoted to doctor. My work ethic got me taken advantage of more times than not.

        I hope writing pans out. I wish I’d thought of it when I was in medical – I bet I could’ve gotten a novel or two out of the experiences stretched into adventures. I jot things down as they occur to me but there wouldn’t have been anything like writing while I was up to my neck in it. Nonetheless, I just keep writing.

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      • I had a lot of those jobs where my work ethic has been taken advantage of. They really soured me on working for others. I had some great bosses, but things seemed to always go wrong somewhere up the food chain.

        I looked into medical coding for a bit. Started taking courses, but I couldn’t afford classes at one point. The writing is what I’ve wanted to do since high school, so I have a lot of stories plotted out.

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      • Myas says:

        I’m one of those students who’s in debt over her ears. Attempting to study for a doctorate to do with teaching, not liking having to deal with the Education department at all, finally dropping things before more debt could be accrued, I did find out if what’s owed reaches the 25 year mark, it gets forgiven. There’s hope for me yet. I also found out if teaching jobs overseas have been taken, there is credit to be had for that but, I didn’t know about that until recently. I was thinking about just sending a list of places to see where it gets me. In some cases I might not have all the schools’ names but, if I’ve still got an old resume saved in a folder somewhere I might have most of the names.

        When I went back to school I began with studying for a BSN, then realized I didn’t need a degree in Nursing to become a Human Resources administrator (I wanted to change things up and take care of my colleagues) and changed my major. While I was studying my hospital was sold and I lost my position. I moved on from there.

        History is still being written.

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      • That’s rough. I was lucky to avoid debt, but it was by the skin of my teeth. Sorry about the hospital thing. Always sucks when a place is sold and the employees are let go. Happened a few times to me.

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      • Myas says:

        Yeah, but the annoying thing is life goes on… it’s like there’s just no excuse not to keep going. I’ll bet the EveryReady Bunny’s batteries couldn’t last this long.

        You know, I marvel at writers who have the kind of imagination that can manage multiple projects. I keep my fingers crossed and aspire to be like that. Although this Jungian personality test I took during my first MBA class said I should avoid writing fiction, I thought back remembering I had a good head for it. I have always been quick to come up with something creative. I don’t think I’ll take it with more than a grain of salt … I do have a couple of titles that sounded like books to me so I saved them on their very own word doc and folder – one I even wrote a verse about not knowing what this would possibly turn out to be about. I’m working on a book now, don’t know if it’ll be long enough for a novel, but I add pieces here and there. I guess I have projects too – baby steps but it keeps me busy. I submit pieces to publications time to time.

        My next mission right now is to build another dominos house for my grandson to knock down. At 3 years old, that’s his favorite thing. When it comes to the giant Lego blocks he sits back and lets me build intricate constructions for the giant to trample. Sometimes I take a quick picture and post it on Facebook so I can look at it for a second…

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      • Every job test I took said I should be a farmer or something in agriculture. Arts never really came up for some reason. The domino house sounds like fun though. My 4-year-old is into trains now, so we play with those.

        Projects are what keep us going.

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      • Myas says:

        Yes, they do!

        My grandson loves Thomas the train and has a set that forever needs more track so we can make it bigger. What would we do without extension sets! Sometimes dinosaurs come out and try to take over. The Lego tunnel-tower must have sheds for the narrow-gage engines… as the dinosaurs climb to the top or before the giant gets them.

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      • We have a train table that somebody gave us for free with a ton of trains. There are also dinosaurs, pirate swords, and a plush Snoopy on the tracks right now.

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      • Myas says:

        And maybe 100 years from now, the house might be organized again and you won’t be tripping over toys. At this stage I think it adds character, a warm ambience – there be kids here…

        Train tables are cool. My daughter and I have been talking about finding one similar to what’s set up at Barnes & Noble’s kid department. My grandson loves playing with it and hanging out with other kids. Besides, it’ll give me a chance to try my hand at building something else if he gets one…

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      • That’s the one we have. It’s a Thomas one, but we found out the table doesn’t come with tracks. So you have to get those separately or something. Then you have to glue them down. Needless to say we were happy to get one that was put together.

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      • Myas says:

        Ah… my next project!

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  9. Gwen Bristol says:

    i remember going out for fries and shakes with my roommates at about 1 PM. For some reason, it’s always more giggly when you’re that tired. 🙂

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  10. Myas says:

    Reblogged this on Myas – A Tragic Lady But No TB and commented:
    A great conversation beginning with Perkins…

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  11. That gives new meaning to bad romance. 🙂

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  12. Papi Z says:

    The Perkins around us were awful. The only people that went there were bar close people. And they close at 10 pm. *sigh* I miss Chicago and all of the food down there. The scale doesn’t, but I sure do…

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  13. cnmill says:

    They just don’t make zombie games (or scary ones in general) like they used to . . .

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  15. melissajanda says:

    Ah, the starving college student…I can so relate to this story, and have some similar ones myself, but we won’t go there. All my money was spent on beer and clothes so there wasn’t much left for food. That’s probably why the “Freshman 15” had the opposite effect on me, lost 15 lbs (which I didn’t need to lose) instead of gaining.

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    • We did the beer, food, and cheap toys. Somebody got chrome spray paint and water guns at one point. Many of us fell to the Freshman 15 though.

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      • melissajanda says:

        One of my stories involves a spontaneous road trip to the beach (3-4 hours away, depending on how many pit stops we made), puppies, canned spaghettios, the Banditos (yes, that’s a Mexican gang), beer (of course), pot (no, I didn’t inhale), cops (no I wasn’t arrested), and a cheap motel (get your mind out of the gutter). Glad I surived that weekend….

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      • Interesting combination. Mind will remain in the gutter though.

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  16. melissajanda says:

    With a list like that how could you? But I was perfectly innocent throughout the ordeal. Talk about being in the wrong places (plural intended) at the wrong times. Too bad I didn’t write a movie script based on the experience. It could’ve been the first Hangover.

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