Wall Street is the calmest, quietest street one could ever hope for, something taken from a photograph of a winding hilly European alley.
Asheville’s Wall Street that is. A more starkly posed description of the famous home to white collar criminals of New York could likely never exist, but here in AVL, Wall Street is a cobble stone road which sets a better stage for a leisurely afternoon stroll than it does for hustling big money on the stock market. It’s peppered with cute restaurants and coffee shops, but on this particular morning I’m opening the door for my lovely lady as we enter the Early Girl Cafe.
Upon entering, one might assume you’re destined for takeout. The small “please wait to be seated” area in the front of the shop is not particularly persuading, and were the line long or the disposition appetent, the door could easily be an exit as quickly as it was an entrance. As our host leads us down the narrow hallway to the dining room though, light breaks in through a well windowed wall and illuminates a room full of vibrant, primary colored paintings, servers in funky clothing scrambling to meet the needs of a packed room full of breakfasters, and a general sense of very, very good waffles.
From our table at the window I can watch the morning businessmen and vagabonds sharing the street as they begin their particular day’s pursuits at the game of life. Breakfast comes quickly, it’s a busy place and being only two of us, we were skipped ahead of a long wait full of parties of four or more when we first arrived. The coffee is black and the eggs are perfect. My plate comes wearing eggs scrambled with local pork sausage, shiitake mushrooms and bacon all capping a sweet potato mash (North Carolina loves it’s sweet potatoes). I comment on my approval of the various painting hanging throughout the restaurant, the lady negates my vote with her desire to see something a little less Crayola. Our waters are served in simple, brightly hued plastic cups that—along with the tingling tastebuds currently taking up residence on my tongue—leave me wondering if my own dear grandmother is responsible for everything in front of me.
No sooner do we gather our things and head toward the door than a busboy, still wearing his hipster manbag, begins readying the table for those desperately awaiting our place. As is typically the case in Asheville, we leave nothing but satisfied (and a generous tip, of course!). I peak once quickly into the kitchen, just making certain that my presumed dead grandmother isn’t actually back there, living out her last days secretly as the establishments mastermind.