"Hey, that place is ... a little somethin'-around-the-corner.”
[Pause] "Yeah, that's right. Darn right it is," I said, after what she had said finally sunk in. And that’s when I knew she was on to something. Indeed, Frankfurt is a livable metropolis due to its cozy cafes and multitude of around-the-corner restaurants.
Isn’t it nice when you’re at a restaurant that’s reminiscent of somebody’s home cookin’ you like, but you just can’t put your finger on whom that might be? It doesn’t even matter anyway, because it’s good, you feel good, you like where you are at the moment, and, you didn’t have to do the cooking yourself. As well, you’ve just eaten some really good restaurant food at a very competitive price. How do you feel then? You either feel like you’ve been tricked (for the skeptics out there) and there’s a reason why such tasty food is so inexpensive (plausible theory: the place is mafia-run and a cover for more interesting activities), or you feel like you’ve just beat your friend’s butt in some ridiculous game of Connect Four while achieving unrestrained satiety in the process. What just happened can be considered a normal experience if you live in a small city such as Frankfurt. You were at a restaurant that falls under the a-little-somethin’-around-the-corner umbrella.
Let’s take my favorite a-little-somethin’-around-the-corner Italian restaurant there. Sure, you’ll lose as many pounds as you’ll put on if you stay in that sauna of a place for more than forty minutes. But that’s beside the point, because it’s so darn cute that you just want to pinch its proverbial cheeks, and the food makes you feel so good that you wonder if they do their cooking with ecstasy pills as a main ingredient. It’s heaven on a plate at the price of what a gourmet appetizer would cost at a more upscale establishment. So what if it’s nestled in some lame, out-of-touch-with-the-rest-of-the-world part of the city?
You might be thinking to yourself, “What on earth is he talking about? The place was at the other end of the world, and it took him almost an hour to get there.” But you’d be missing the point. For a restaurant to be a little somethin’ around the corner, it need only create a feeling like you’ve just walked around the corner from where you live and stepped into a joint that’s not too big and overcrowded, is gustatorily appealing, and may even be pretty darn comfortable in the atmosphere department.
Like I said, it’s all about the feeling you get, like, “Hey, this is my kind of place. I just got fat for less than twenty bucks in a snuggly little eatery which is the furthest thing from one of those chain restaurants that takes pride in creating an environment of organized chaos.” And I can say this, since it’s my definition and the woman’s serendipitous spot-on call: A-little-somethin’-around-the-corner needn’t be close by. It can be located anywhere—that’s right, anywhere, even twenty to thirty blocks away and in the opposite direction of where you want to be on a lonely Tuesday night.
So if there’s one thing that’s true about a restaurant that’s a-little-somethin’-around-the-corner, it’s that it will make you as happy as a clam regardless of where it sleeps. And small, metropolitan cities like Frankfurt’s got plenty of ‘em. That’s pretty much the way it works, folks.