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The Yankee Express

Back at the one-and-only Carl’s, in Oxford

The counter at Carl’s in Oxford on a weekday morning, just before the breakfast rush began in earnest.


Some businesses don’t change much, over the years, and shouldn’t. They are familiar. Old favorites.
Carl’s on Main Street in Oxford Center is just such a place.
From a parking spot in front of the diner on a recent Thursday morning, it didn’t even look as if the lights were on inside.
Entry from the side, either side, is by way of a sliding door that has stood the test of time.
There was only one person at the counter at 8:30 a.m. Soon, however, more people began trickling in.
The décor is the same as it has been for quite a while. The menu that is posted just below the ceiling is handwritten. The stools are black leather. One was missing a seat. A sunflower was sticking out of the post that would have held the seat. Signage is of a jocular nature. “Danger Men Working.” “No Whining.” A mannequin occupies spot in the middle of the floor. 
Joey Patrock, who works for the Patrick automotive dealership, showed up at 8:45 for a prearranged breakfast. He had issued a forewarning via text message the evening before: “Don’t judge me. I love bacon!”
The reply was, “Carl’s is the right place for that.”
Joey was told of a visit to Carl’s with two brother-in-law’s years ago, how impressed they were with the portions that they received.
“We don’t get that back in New York State,” they said.
The conversation quickly turned to fishing, a pastime that Joey enjoys.
“I feed the bass at the pond at my mom’s house hot dogs,” he said.
“They love them!”
“Really? Raw?”
“My mother said to me ‘they’re not getting Kayem anymore. They’ll get Market Basket hot dogs!’”
After that it was the Celtics and how they had blown Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden twelve hours or so earlier; agreement that Jason Tatum deserves some of the criticism that comes his way for occasional sloppy ball-handling and passing—even though he is a great offensive threat.
Joey ordered eggs, bacon, home fries and toast. With a chocolate milk. I ordered pancakes and bacon. With coffee. Carl’s threw in home fries as an extra for me.
“This is breakfast, lunch and dinner,” I joked, straining to finish what had been put in front of me on separate plates.
Goodbyes were exchanged.
“We’ll do this again,” we said.
A month, a year from now, Carl’s will look and feel no different.
It’s about the food.
Lots of it.

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.