Thursday, August 22, 2013

No. 287 – Voices Carry

Performer: ‘Til Tuesday
Songwriters: Aimee Mann, Robert Holmes, Joey Pesce, Michael Hausman
Original Release: Voices Carry
Year: 1985
Definitive Version: None.

The Thurman Café was the primary drinking spot for The Dispatch crew in 2002, but by the end of the year, a new place caught on. This place, however, was for only the select inner circle, usually by invite. The place in question was Plank’s Café.

When Holly and Andy moved in together, their apartment was down the street from Plank’s on Parsons Avenue, which served as something of a border between German Village and, well, the wrong side of Parsons Avenue. (Actually where Andy and Holly lived is a buffer zone called German Village Area.)

The entrance to Plank’s was maybe 100 yards from their door, so, of course, they started going, just the two of them. They loved it, and after a while brought me and Chuck into the mix. If there didn’t seem like a big push to go to the Thurman, they’d just send an ATEX message to the two of us: Interested in going to Plank’s? Sure.

Plank’s had a lot going for it. It was dark, like the Thurman, with lots of wood accents, like the Thurman. But it was much larger and nicer. Plank’s was and is a big-time Ohio State hangout. They had (and have) a shrine to Ohio State football along the south wall featuring a huge framed photo of St. Woody in the middle and then the disciples, Earle Bruce, Jim Tressel, Paul Brown and, yes, John Cooper on either side. (I would suspect Urban Meyer has replaced Coop by now.)

Plank’s is essentially a three seating-area bar where the bar area divides the main room. A second dining room is around the corner from the entrance, and I’ve never been in that room. Seats ring the bar and to the outside of it are tables that have logos of various Columbus sports teams, like the Blue Jackets, on the tabletop. In the back area, out of view from the main entrance off the parking lot, is a Clippers table, with the 1970s style logo beneath a cabinet of Columbus baseball paraphernalia.

After the first time I went to Plank’s, that became my spot. Typically the group would start at the bar. If we got food, we’d move to that table. It was close to the bar, out of the way of other patrons and right by the jukebox—a perfect location.

After the first time, I always got food. Simply, Plank’s pepperoni pizza is not to be missed. The crust is slightly sweet, and the amount of pepperoni on it would make Donatos blanche with embarrassment. Plank’s cooks its pie so the pepperonis cup up and are extra crispy. It is my favorite thin-crust pizza, and it’s a required stop whenever I take Laurie home.

Plank’s piece de resistance: Labatt’s on tap. I couldn’t believe it the first time I went. This place has everything.

Holly and I would load up the juke and we’d all hang out either at the bar or the Clippers table. Our music choices typically were more low key than they were at the Thurman. Holly always played Voices Carry, and I always followed that up with These Dreams by Heart. In that room, it was a killer combination—particularly in the winter of 2002-2003.

I liked going to the Thurman, but there was something special about Plank’s. It was comfortable and cool. I’d missed the White Horse for a long time, and now I finally found the Columbus equivalent. For the first time in a decade, I felt like I was home again.

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