One benefit of being at Winterthur this month is my proximity to The Charcoal Pit on Route 202. This commercial stretch is somewhat at odds with the posh ribbon of nearby Route 52, which travels by private schools, manicured shopping strips, and preserved historic districts. Route 202, in comparison, is crowded, strung with traffic lights, and offers pretty much every large retail concern currently on offer in the US. Here and there are glimpses of old neon from the naissance of the auto age.
Since 1955, The Charcoal Pit has been serving cheeseburgers, bbq, and colossal ice cream sundaes named after local high schools. I met my Uncle D. there – he’s been coming here since the 1970s – this is the original have it your way. They grind their own beef each day, have a house-made relish, great pickles, and the vanilla milkshakes come out in their mixer cans. “You might just want to drink it out of the can,” the waitress advised, “rather than trying to dump it into the glass.”