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November 9, 2010

Foodents: An Ode to Manny's

Try reading these sentences aloud, preferably with lute music in the background.

O! Manny’s, who art thou?

From whence did you set your head

Upon the Lump Seat of a cow?

For your meats are of the animals dead,

And together a tapestry wind

A beauteous taste, of which I spake,

That defamishes hunger for all time.

These elements together bind,

And a great restaurant it does make.

Listen, you all, as we spin our rhyme.

For Manny’s resides in a land

Untrodden by the Feet of Age

And for years unnumbered it did sell its brand,

To the Young, the Lost, and the Elderly Sage

We find its appeal universal.

When you enter Manny’s, it’s as if

You’ve sprung from the singular womb

And suffered some divine reversal

Flung free off the ordinary cliff

To plumb culinary secrets in the lunchtime gloom.

When the glow of the street doth fade,

And you arrive, surrounded, in queue,

The food before you is laid

Endless indeed in purview.

A man is assembling a sandwich

With a fervent and practiced air

He slaps down a brick of pastrami.

You grab a meatloaf, you grab a kinish,

You dutifully pay your fare,

And to your window’d table you flee.

And the people! O! The people!

The people who here feed.

They are as a magnificent steeple.

For from gustatory heights Manny’s serves Chicago’s need,

And the variety of people is unmatched,

With Hispanics, Blacks, and Slovaks

All eating the dish of the Jew.

Their clothing—some is elegant, some is patched

Some emerge from manors, and still more from shacks

They all assemble here with you.

Manny’s is the portal to a life not had

Through food indeed, it alters the Soul.

Take your boyfriend. Take your dad.

The price even works for those on the dole.

Mad leftovers you will receive—

You will take them home in many a bag.

And to eat again is so sweet

But when they are gone you will grieve.

And when your stomach doth sag

Return to Manny’s to eat,

And now this Ode is complete.

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