Mel’s is a diner of some repute here in Waterloo. It was a fifties-themed joint near the University of Waterloo, and it was popular enough that people reacted with shock and horror when the building it was housed in burnt down (nobody was hurt, I believe, fortunately). There was also some celebration when the restaurant rebuilt itself — albeit not at its original campus location, but a neat site in Kitchener on the corner of Westmount and Ottawa.
As part of its character of being a modestly legendary diner, they have a food challenge that the makers of Man vs. Food might take note of if they ever swung through Waterloo Region. Mel’s boasts a burger called “The Godfather”, which apparently works out to three pounds of burgery burgerness.
No, I’m not tempted to try one, why are you even asking?
But I see the blackboard drawing promoting the challenge, and I note that it seems to be a hard one to beat. At the Ottawa-Westmount restaurant, barely 20 people have succeeded. About a couple of hundred have tried. And given the rules shown in the picture above, I’m not sure if I want to be around when people try this challenge, and fail.
I bring this up, though, because the Mel’s at the original campus location has been rebuilt and reopened. It’s a smaller, more intimate joint, but the decor is the same, and the “Godfather vs. Man” challenge is available there too. And I snapped the picture above. Apparently, 317 people have tried to beat the Godfather, and only seven have succeeded.
But, wait a minute. The Mel’s at Ottawa and Westmount is not anywhere near the University of Waterloo campus. It is filled with families on weekends and, during weekdays, groups of seniors who appear to have known each other for decades, and seem have met for breakfast at the same location since it opened. They have a better average of beating the Godfather than a bunch of hungry university students? How?
I pointed this out to a waitress at the campus Mel’s and she nodded. “Yeah, it’s different. You’d think they’d do better here, but no.”
“Why?” I asked.
She shrugged, and said, “Maybe they’re cockier.”
A life lesson, perhaps.