I must admit I haven’t really had Valentine’s Day on my radar this year. I have seen a growing stream of restaurants posting special Valentine menus, but I haven’t paid much attention, since I’m not eating inside restaurants and most of them seem to be aimed at in-restaurant dining. But yesterday I saw one that truly made me stop and smile.
Yes, it’s outside the Columbia/HoCo bubble but I think this one warrants a mention. Sorrento, established in 1965, bills itself as a casual family restaurant. Here’s a photo from their website.
A glance at their menu shows it to be your basic neighborhood pizza restaurant: subs, sandwiches, Italian and seafood dishes, and, of course, pizza. They have a license to serve beer and wine. Their most expensive menu item is a seafood platter at $24.95. This is not the sort of restaurant one normally sees trying to lure in money-spending romantics on February 14th. That’s exactly why I love this.
Their promotion has the sort of earnest self confidence of the cat in Lucia Heffernan’s painting “Norman Catwell.” (Click on the link above; it’s a great picture.) The basically ordinary housecat carefully scrutinizes its image in the mirror while painting its self-portrait as a tiger. It’s almost a nod to the old advice, “dress for the job you want to have.”
I suspect that the folks at Sorrento know full well the difference between their Valentine’s Day menu and one offered by, say, The Byegone at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. They’re having a little fun dressing up in their fancy clothes and inviting the friends and neighbors in. Maybe you can’t afford $130 per person. Or maybe your idea of romance doesn’t involve all the effort that such a fancy meal would entail.
Heck, maybe you just love your neighborhood pizza restaurant and nothing would suit you better than fancying it up a bit with your Valentine in a place where you feel comfortable.
Something else I love about this offer is that it quite clearly avoids any stereotypes about who you are and who you love. No assumption about who is paying. No sex-role stereotyping at work. It’s a great example of using the word “they” with no awkwardness whatsoever. I like that.
I have never been to Sorrento but I probably should give them a try. They do offer carry-out, and my GPS tells me it’s only an eighteen minute drive. Every once in a while I wonder why I’m even following them on Facebook, and then I remember. This is why: