The Great Beef 'n Cheddar Tragedy of '08 : The Bryant Park Project A search for a beloved sandwich ends with heartbreak.
NPR logo The Great Beef 'n Cheddar Tragedy of '08

The Great Beef 'n Cheddar Tragedy of '08

We had a good conversation this morning about chain restaurant reviews in the New York Times. Here's our talk with David Corcoran, who reviewed T.G.I. Friday's for the Times, and blogger Ezra Klein, who reacted to the reviews.

Working on this segment yesterday got me thinking about Arby's, hands down my favorite chain meal. I lack the literary ability to convey the soul-nourishing deliciousness of the Beef 'n Cheddar, so I don't dare try. Seconds after finishing the day's work, I met up with my girlfriend (I know what you're thinking: a date at Arby's can't be romantic. I also know you are wrong.) and we hustled to the Manhattan Mall, site of the ONLY Arby's in Manhattan. Nothing prepared us for what we found.

My keyboard is soaked in tears as I write this, but Arby's, and the entire food court of the mall, is under renovation. We knew something was wrong when we saw scaffolding and plastic sheeting up. A free-standing sign confirmed there would be no dining satisfaction on that night. I'm sorry Manhattan Mall, but I refuse to pardon this "progress."

Any act that means the closest Beef 'n Cheddar is in Jersey City cannot be called progress. My lack of automobile ownership means I am multiple modes of public transportation removed from the heavenly BnC.

My next trip out of this BnC-free zone is set for later this month. I am a patient man. Until then, I have only these extreme close-ups of Arby's menu items.

My hunger cannot be assuaged now. But I urge you, BPP nation, or at least those of you in the 48 states and five countries (yes, I'm talking to you, readers in Turkey and Qatar) with Arby's franchises, not to forsake the BnC near you. You'll never know what you stand to lose until it's gone.