This past summer I was on one of my road trips and I found myself in Palm Beach, Fla.
If you know me, you know I’ll eat everything from caviar to a bologna sandwich. Seriously, I am not too particular whether I am in a five-star restaurant dressed in a tuxedo or sitting at the lunch counter in shorts and a T-shirt. I’m a happy camper when it comes to exploring different types of food.
Most of the time before I hit a city, I do some research and ask friends, writers and foodies what’s going on in a particular city, recommendations for some good barbecue, the most iconic restaurant in the city in a few dives and drive-ins. I’m always looking for something unique.
My family has been going to Palm Beach for the past 25 years and this year I was driving around Sunrise Avenue and noticed a pharmacy and luncheonette that I had not seen before. The small lettering on the building read Green’s Pharmacy. Hmmm … interesting!
I immediately pulled the car over and Lisa and I ventured in to what is a pharmacy on one side of the store and a lunch counter and tables on the other. This reminded me so much of the lunch counter at Woolworth’s when I was a kid.
Now let me tell you, Green’s Luncheonette is unpretentious and has not changed in 78 years. Its lunch counter food is well-made and relatively inexpensive for Palm Beach.
Basic breakfast fare includes eggs, omelets, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, bagels, French toast and corned beef hash.
Lunch items such as chicken salad, BLT, egg salad, tuna salad, hamburgers, homemade soup and chili, sardine platters, fried shrimp and flounder along with a whiteboard with daily specials and an old fashioned ice cream menu with favorites including floats, egg creams and shakes.
I ordered one of the best egg salad sandwiches on white bread that I have ever tasted and my wife enjoyed a classic hamburger. Basic fare but both delicious. We also shared a bowl of creamy broccoli soup, rich, thick and flavorful.
I asked our waitress about the history of this iconic pharmacy and she told me “everyone in Palm Beach knows about Green’s. As a matter of fact, the Kennedy family would stop here for breakfast after Sunday Mass across the street.” Wow, I was impressed.
She told me if I wanted the real pharmacy experience, sit on a vintage green stool at the counter and watch your meal being prepared. I’m talking classic greasy spoon meats a vintage look.
This may be a blue-collar luncheonette but believe me, you never know who you might run into while enjoying luncheonette fare in Palm Beach. There was a group of construction workers at one table, two men in their late 80s at another, two socialites discussing a party at Mar-a-Lago the night before and a table of two business tycoons closing a multi-million dollar deal, a table of six ladies dressed to the nines and some tourist like us just enjoying the scene.
Make sure you shop the pharmacy afterwards for Palm Beach souvenirs and beach ware.
I sure wish we had a place like this in Kansas City. If you know of one nearby drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try it out and report back.
As for now, I think I’ll just make me an old-fashioned egg salad sandwich and reminisce about my road trip to Palm Beach.
Old Fashioned Egg Salad Sandwich
6 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices white bread
Chop eggs and place in a mixing bowl. Add Miracle Whip, relish and season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
When ready to make a sandwich, lay out slices of white bread and place egg salad mixture and top with sliced bread.
Serve with potato chips and pickle slices.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.