It’s 1968, I’m seven years old and I’m thrilled to be going out with the rest of the family dinner for my birthday tea. My mum and dad are taking me to the Cleveland Grill in Morecambe, which they tell me is ‘the place to go’ ….. I feel privileged!
Even though we arrive quite early, there is already a small queue forming outside, for the restaurant doesn’t take reservations but no one seems to mind. It’s a warm summer’s evening and the sun is making its slow journey to what will be another glorious Morecambe Bay sunset.
My Dad complained that he was starving and spitting feathers, my brother encouraged him similar grumblings, but my Mum, in her ever-positive way tells me that it will be worth the wait – and it was! I had spotted the menu and was now working my way back from my dessert – Knickerbocker Glory!
The menu at the Cleveland Grill can only be described as simple, well-cooked food of titanic proportions. For many, particularly the men, the starters of prawn cocktail, melon boat, pate and the like, were merely there to pass whilst the main courses were being prepared and the very reason why an even bigger queue was now forming outside – the famous EOGOF mixed grill – a very clever and extremely successful marketing gimmick, which meant that if you cleared your plate then you got one free the next time you visited. Proper caveman stuff!
Whilst I tucked into my T-bone steak (no chicken nugget infested children’s menus in 1968, you had to eat like a grown up) my father, a seaman, navigated his way through a plate of Titanic proportions. A cholesterol raising assortment of grilled meats garnished with fat chips, tomatoes, mushrooms and onion rings, topped off with a couple of fried eggs.
I struggle to remember whether or not my father managed to clear his plate and leave victorious, but there was photographic evidence around the restaurant bar of those who did. If the Cleveland Grill was around today it would most certainly carry a Government health warning, but in 1968 we didn’t even know what cholesterol was!
Did you ever manage an EOGOF challenge? I would love to hear from you if you did.