Over the last few year, I’ve been given the distinct honor of escorting my father to Atlantic City. At 88, he doesn’t see or walk very well. Driving is out of the question but that hasn’t dimmed his desire to get behind the wheel of a slot machine. These road trips start early and have us on the walkway to the Hilton Casino sometime in the morning. There must be healing power in all the bells and lights because I swear my father’s vision and mobility miraculously improve as he approaches the Casino floor.
And unless one of us is having a spectacular morning, were usually on the expressway well before noon heading for lunch at Mary’s on Route 206 in Hammonton. Formerly De Leo’s, this little place does food right and has become our traditional stop over spot. If you think my fathers mobility returns at the Casino, you should see him bound up the steps to Mary’s. Anyway, your not going to get a gourmet meal at Mary’s but you will get good, fresh, homemade and delicious stick to your ribs food. Everything is good. From the soups and sandwiches to the white board specials. The broccoli rabe omelette, which I get with extra fresh garlic, could be a candidate for my last meal. Well unless of course the execution is scheduled for a Monday which is Meatloaf day because Mary’s makes a great one. The chili is great too, homemade with big chunks of sausage either served by the bowl or on an omelette.
The gambling part is just an excuse to take my father out for lunch a few times a year. And yes, I do mean only lunch and breakfast. Mary’s is only open until 2. Many of you may be thinking "what the heck does this have to do with a meal close to the courthouse". To be honest, nothing. I just like eating at Mary’s and know many of you go to Atlantic City. So if your ever on that last couple miles of Route 206 heading for Hammonton, keep your eye out for Mary’s.
Authors Note: My Father died peacefully in his sleep the day after Christmas 2011. He spent the Holiday with his family, eating, drinking and laughing. He was a gentleman, loved and well respected by all who knew him. Here’s to you Pop, hope to see you on the other side.