I turn the ignition off and sigh slowly with relief. The ride was smooth I think. I didn’t break too hard, I kept the conversation light and most importantly, I didn’t stare.
“So, are we getting off?” She says and breaks my train of thought.
I shake my head up and down, “Oh yea for sure!” I take off my seat belt and get out of the car quickly. I try not to run to the other side as I reach to open her door.
She pokes a head out and I still can’t believe she agreed to this date! Carol is the coolest, prettiest girl at school. Her hair is a mixture of honey and brown sugar and I love that it’s so long. It compliments her warm skin and short frame. Her large brown eyes stare up at me as she blinks quickly with her long lashes.
“Oh!” She says surprised, “You don’t have to do that! I could have opened the door.” She steps out of the car carefully, I guess she doesn’t want her dress to ride up. Classy.
“Nah, its fine!” I say hastily, “My mom always told me to treat a lady with respect and open the door.” I just brought up my mom. I wanted to bang my head against the door to shut it. Keep it cool, man.
I turn around and she smiles at me. I gesture to the door and walk beside her.
I thought a lot about where to take Carol on our first date. I didn’t want anything too fancy because it’d look like I tried too hard, but I also didn’t want to take her to the movies. I’ve been wanting to talk to this girl since I moved here 2 years ago and I wasn’t about to take her to a theatre where we just sit for 2 hours in the dark not talking. I figure I take her somewhere my dad used to take me; Monkey Burger.
It was unique, it was chill and I knew this place like the back of my hand. Maybe I could impress her with my ordering skills!
I open the restaurant door for her and let her pass first. She immediately sees the monkey statue at the entrance and giggles. Phew, laughing is a good sign!
“That’s hilarious!” She looks at the rest of the place, “Wow!” She turns side to side and walks toward the painted walls. “Look at these paintings! This monkey’s eating a burger and this burger has wings! This place is so fun!” She whips around toward my direction and grins.
“I guess you’ve never been to Monkey Burger before?” I ask as I grab us some menus.
She shakes her head no and walks back to me to take a menu. I let her take her time to read it since I already know what I want.
“I just can’t decide!” She squeals, “Everything sounds so great!” She presses the menu to her face and lowers it to look up at me with those long lashes again. God, can she tell how nervous I am?
“What are your top choices? Maybe I can help you decide.” She smiles at me and I feel my palms getting warm with nerves.
“Well,” she begins excitedly, “I was thinking of The Monkey Burger, it has to be a staple right? That’s what this place is called so it has to be magical!” She looks at the menu again and I can’t help but smile at her happiness, “But then again, maybe I should get the Kitchen Sink because it has pickles and I love pickles!” She bites her lower lip while reading over the menu. Adorable.
Time to make my move! I stand next to her and look at the menu. Am I too close? I can smell the sweet perfume she put on. She doesn’t move away, so I think I’m okay.
I point at a burger on the menu, “I think if you like pickles you should get the Kitchen Sink and if you want, we can share some fries.”
Her eyes grow big, “I’d love some sweet potato fries!”
“Good because I think this place has the best ones in town!” I smile at her and she looks genuinely happy and I can feel myself getting warm again.
I let her pick a table while I wait in line to order the food.
Okay, I think this going good! She is smiling, even laughed a few times and I think she likes it here! God I hope she likes the burger. I love the burgers, but maybe she won’t? She’s gotta love the fries tho! Those fries are bomb!
I walk over to the table she chose and ask her what she’d like to drink and set down the order number.
“Oh I can get that!” She stands and takes her cup from me. She’s so independent; another reason to like her. I decide for a simple Coke and she chooses the tea.
We sit down again and as I begin to take a sip of my Coke, she says, “So what’s the story behind this place? How’d you find it?” She leans into the table towards me and I get a whiff of her perfume again.
“Uh,” I try to shake off the effect she has on me and say, “I used to come here with my dad.” I look away and try to think of a way to change the conversation.
“Oh yea?” She takes a sip of her tea, “Do you guys still come here?”
She beat me.
“Well,” I start, “My dad passed a few months ago.” I avoid eye contact. I don’t want her to feel sorry for me or anything.
She puts a hand on my hand, “Daren, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” I find the courage to look back at her and see that her eyes are just as big with only compassion in them.
“It’s alright.” Don’t move your hand! “He was sick for a while. He really liked the monkeys in this place and we used to come to share the sweet potato fries.”
I look passed her and say, “This was our spot you know? We used to come here to eat and talk about life and stuff. He wanted me to go to college, make something of myself and just enjoy life.” I look back at her and she squeezes my hand.
“He sounds like he was a pretty cool guy.” She lets go of my hand and it feels oddly cold now. I stare at it for a few seconds longer.
“Yea, he was great. I miss him a lot.” Then the waiter comes with our burgers and fries and I’m happy for the break in the conversation. Nothing is more romantic than talking about your dead dad.
“How are you liking Monkey Burger so far?” I say to change the subject while taking a bite of my burger.
“Oh, it’s amazing!” She says. Her eyes get big again as she says this this. I love it when her eyes get big. “These sweet potato fries are truly perfection tho!” She takes another bite into the crosscut fries and I can tell she really does like them!
“Yea?” I answer taking a fry for myself, “These were a staple must have when I’d come with my I dad.” I wince. Did I just bring up my dad again?
“I would totally come just for these!” She takes another fry and giggles to herself, “I’m going to eat these all!”
“I don’t mind! Take as many as you want!” I push the cup of fries towards her and start to eat my burger again. Grateful that she didn’t push me about my dad anymore.
We talk about her cheerleading and her application to Stanford. I tell her about my robotic competition and how I’ve applied to multiple tech schools. She didn’t seem bored at all and asked me about how I got into robotics, what I wanted to do with it and even asked if she could play with Jimmy, my robot.
“Jimmy is a pretty complicated piece of mechanics. I don’t know if you can handle his cosmic power.” I smile at her as she eats the remaining fries.
“I can handle Jimmy, Daren,” she says licking the remaining salt from her fingers, “the question is, is Jimmy ready for a woman’s touch?”
I nearly spit out my soda.
God I’m an idiot! Keep it together!
She laughs out loud to my reaction and I think it’s okay.
“Yea, I don’t think Jimmy can handle you just yet,” I start to pack up the empty plates and used napkins to toss out. She slumps her shoulders and sighs.
“Is it over?” She says propping her chin on her palm while leaning on the table with her elbow.
This catches me off guard, “Uh, what do you mean?” I manage to say.
“I mean,” she rolls her eyes, “that I’m not ready for this date to be over!” She clasps her hands together as she props her head up, “Let’s do something else!”
“Oh!” I say surprised, “I only planned on dinner just in case…” I trail off. I can’t tell her! She’s gonna think I’m a total loser!
“Just in case what?” She repeats slowly.
I take a second and hesitate, “I just,” I stammer, “I honestly didn’t know if you’d like me enough to be around me longer than an hour.” I gulp and look away. If the car ride back wasn’t going to be awkward before, it sure as hell will be now.
“Daren,” she says softly and I force myself to look at her, “I want you to listen to me very clearly. You are a smart, kind and very generous person. Any girl should be lucky to be taken out by you!”
I have to blink a few times to let this register.
“Besides!” She says while rolling her eyes, “I have been waiting for this date since you moved here 2 years ago!”
That brings me back, “Wait, what?”
She nods excitedly, “I saw the way you looked at me and you seemed so sweet and shy! But you never came to talk to me! I even tried to talk to you when we had a chem together, do you remember?”
I nod slowly, registering what she’s telling me. “You asked to see my notes from the day before because you were out sick.”
“And you told me…”
“My handwriting is terrible. You don’t want my notes.” I nod in agreement remembering.
“I thought maybe it was just me and you didn’t like me at all! But then you randomly came up to me at lunch last week and asked me out, I couldn’t resist but to say yes!’
“And now here we are, at the end of what I thought was a great first date and it’s about to end! I’ve been waiting 2 years for this date and I’m sad it’s about to end!”
I am stunned and speechless. She has been waiting for this date too?
“I feel like an idiot, honestly Carol,” I shake my head and run my hand through my hair, “I was just shy and I didn’t think someone as amazing as you want to date some robotic nerd like me.”
She takes my hand, “Daren, you are so much more than that,” and just like that I feel as if a huge weight is lifted and I wasn’t nervous anymore. I smile and decide to hold her hand back.
“This is all I have for tonight, but if you give me a chance, I promise to take you out again next week and we’ll do something else. Hell, we can keeping going out until you’re tired if me!”
That made her smile and I finally feel like I did something right the first time.
“Deal!” She smiles up at me as we leave Monkey Burger still holding hands.
I have no idea what I’ll plan for next week, but damn, Monkey Burger is now my favorite place for 2 reasons! And honestly, I think my dad will approve.
My Personal Review
The ambiance alone is what really sells Monkey Burger! It’s just a fun place to be in and I really enjoyed my time here! I ordered the Monkey Burger without mushrooms and raw onions. It had raw onions and cadmelized onions. I didn’t need that much onion in my burger. Now, I can picky about my burgers. I like the meat to be prepared with favors instead of relying on fancy condiments. With that said, I wasn’t completely impressed with my burger here. The meat was simple, not a lot of flavor and it honestly didn’t live up to my high expectations.
Now the sweet potato fries really were absolutely AMAZING! I’d go back just for those fries! And you get a lot of fries for your buck! I will go back to Monkey Burger and try another burger just in case. But I like it when the simple beef patty can be just as impressive as all the other layers in a burger.
Go and try it for yourself and see if you feel the same or disagree! But do yourself a favor and get those sweet potato fries!
5350 East Broadway Blvd., Suite 128, Tucson, Arizona http://www.monkeyburgerrestaurant.com/index.html