One of the things Tom and I were looking forward to in our return to St. Simons Island was a burger at Zuzus. Zuzus is a little hole-in-the-wall hamburger joint on the island where we had the best burgers of the whole year in 2020. In fact, a Zuzus burger is the standard by which we measure all other burgers.
Last week we headed downtown, mostly to walk along the pier and see what had changed. January is usually the quietest month on the island, so it is a good time to eat at the restaurants. This January is much busier than usual, which seems to be because people are renting more vacation homes. We have had record attendance at Fort Frederica most of the month. We are especially glad to be seeing international visitors again.
Most of downtown looked about the same. The same restaurants and shops are open and the pier is the same lovely walk out over the ocean. The large container ship, The Golden Ray, that turned over in St. Simons Sound has been largely removed. There is still a huge crane in the middle of the sound because so many of the automobiles in the container ship feel out during removal.
Because we were downtown and it was close to suppertime, Tom wanted to get a burger at Zuzus. But Zuzus was closed. It didn’t look like it was closed permanently, but they don’t have their days or hours posted on the door. The owner of Zuzus reminds us a little of the Soup Nazi on the old Seinfeld show, so it wouldn’t surprise us if he had days he works and days he doesn’t feel like it. But Tom was so concerned that the went into the Bait Shop next door and asked. The woman in there said Zuzus was closed on Wednesdays, and it was, indeed, a Wednesday.
That was good news, even if it meant no Zuzus for us that day. The restaurants on the island rotate days off with each other so they aren’t all closed on the same day. Zuzus and Southern Soul BBQ are both closed Wednesday. Brogen’s North, which is another place we like, was also closed Wednesday, but not because it was a normal day off. Brogen’s North is under new ownership and is being remodeled. Those are our top three supper places on the island, so we decided to have supper at home.
But the next Monday Tom, again, wanted a burger. So we headed back downtown. Zuzus was open! We were both pretty excited about that. Tom parked and I went in to order two burgers to go. However, once I got inside I had to wait a while before I could talk to owner. Every booth was full and there was a line to be seated. Tom and I aren’t comfortable eating in crowded places right now, so I wasn’t concerned about the wait for a booth. But when I told the owner I wanted to order to-go burgers, he said “NO.” What? Shades of the Soup Nazi! I repeated “No?” and he explained. The restaurant was too busy, they weren’t doing take-out orders. He suggested I come back in a couple of hours or try another day.
I returned to the car and told Tom “no Zuzus for you!” After I explained, we shrugged and discussed other possibilities for lunch. There were two problems with eating someplace else. First, we really wanted a Zuzus burger. And, second, all the other places were also really, really busy. Tom and I may be eating more off the island than we have in previous years.
We will hit Zuzus another time. Or not. Who knows? The world is full of uncertainty.