French Fries and chocolate milkshakes. Okay, so this might help to explain the weight issues that I had as a child but these two foods, if you count chocolate milkshakes as a food, were a part of my childhood. Oh sure, there were visits to the Golden Arches for these tasty treats but what I looked forward to more than a visit to McDonald’s was a trip to Heinemann’s.
Once a month, my Mom and I would spend a Saturday afternoon strolling up and down Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay; Giraffe, Hecker’s, Winkie’s, and more. Where would we go for lunch? That was an easy decision, Heinemann’s, of course.
The big decision was what to eat. Their famed grilled coffee cake, wonderful chicken salad, hearty soups, crisp French fries, or the thick milkshakes; all were homemade and delicious.
It was French fries and a chocolate milkshake for me. Yes, I know that was definitely not the healthiest of choices. Or was it? After all, I had three food groups covered. The potatoes were in the vegetable group, there was dairy in the ice cream and milk for the shake, and then there was chocolate. Chocolate is a food group, isn’t it?
My Mom tried to get me to eat the chicken salad but SALAD, that was too healthy for me. Years later and a more refined palette, I realized what I had been missing. The chicken salad was wonderful.
As time passed my Mom and I began to share our monthly lunches with Monkey. While I grew up and enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich, fries, and a diet soda, my little Monkey carried on my childhood tradition of French fries and a chocolate milkshake. Thankfully, she doesn’t have to worry about the calorie count.
A few years ago Heinemann’s on Silver Spring closed. This closing seemed to end our Silver Spring Shopping Saturdays but it didn’t bring an end to our appetite for Heinemann’s.
We moved a few miles north to Heinemann’s on Brown Deer Road in Bayside. With this change also came a change in mealtimes that we would share at this restaurant, a restaurant that was so much a part of Milwaukee history. No longer was Heinemann’s our “lunch spot” but it became the place where we went for breakfast on Sunday mornings. Once a month Silverback Gorilla, Monkey, my Mom, and I would meet at the Bayside location.
The chocolate food group was replaced by the sugar food group. Gooey white sugary glaze that topped the grilled coffee cake was a breakfast treat. Oh yes, I would also order one egg and a glass of grapefruit juice to go along with the coffee cake. I had to add the fruit and dairy food groups to the sugar group. As a parent, I had to set a good example for my little Monkey, teaching her about the food pyramid.
Last week Heinemann’s closed its doors for good. Along with it, I feel like a part of my youth has been eaten away. It may be gone but I’ll always have those tasty memories on which I can look back.