spaghetti-warehouseA Meetup group I’m a member of, Dallas Ukulele Headquarters (DUH), is having a Christmas party at the Spaghetti Warehouse (formerly the Old Spaghetti Warehouse) in the West End. I’m not able to make the party, but it got me to thinking about the Old Spaghetti Warehouse (OSW for brevity). When I first went to OSW, there was no West End. There was a parking lot and car lot nearby. It was a warehouse district – hence the name. Which made it cool and unique, but could be a pain in the ass to park. And it was dark in the area.

In the early ‘70s, a bunch of friends and I decided to dress up and go to OSW. Just to do it for one thing. And for another, no one ever “carded us” to buy liquor or beer when we were dressed up. Mark, Brian, and myself would dress up and go down to Gatsby’s Bicycle Bar in the Hilton downtown and drink tequila sunrises (thanks to the Eagles song and it being a good drink). No one ever ask for our i.d. But that was a different time.

Anyway, we arrived at OSW, parked, and trekked to the restaurant. We were seated on the second floor, which was for larger parties – the DUH party is on the second floor. I think there were about eight of us. It was about even, male and female, but all mostly friends. If not, no one knew yet. The restaurant was busy and it took a while to get served anything other than water.

Keep in mind, we were teenagers on the loose, with time left on our hands waiting for the waiter. Small talk led to silly talk which led to strange thoughts. I said it was the ‘70s, right? A lot of giggling and outright guffaws ensued. For amazingly little reason.

Then we came up with a master plan. Someone had the bright idea that we could take the entire table of place settings without leaving a trace. I’ll cop to it being me because it sounds like something I would come up with (I was a writer even then), but I have no idea as to why. Probably because we were bored, left alone, and we could. I’ll also cop to it because what actually happened was excellent.

I put silverware up my sleeve. I would like to point out – just because – that I got a lot of wear out of that suit. I got married both times in that suit. It had a vest, so I think that was how I got plates. The napkin was easy. I think the girls got the glasses in their purses/bags. When we were done, there was nothing on the table but the tablecloth and centerpiece. And we did it in seconds – maybe almost a minute. And no other customer or waiter on the second floor noticed – like I said, it was really busy.

We sat there, full of pride and nervous as hell, and had a hard time acting serious. Finally, a waiter – I’m not even sure it was ours – walked by and actually turned around to gave us an inquiring look. And headed off, obviously intent on finding a manager. Which he did, of course.

In almost less time than it took to abscond with the dinnerware, we had the table set back up. Almost better than it had been when we arrived. The manager thought the waiter was a little off. That was one of the best spaghetti dinners I’ve ever had. I still feel a little bad about the waiter being “caught in the middle.” But other than that, it was one of the slickest thefts that never was.

Peace be with you.

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