It’s 2 a.m. and the General Wong’s that Joe Harvard Student had for dinner some nine hours earlier seems like little more than a bad memory. Joe is starving, but with the Grille gone, Grafton evicted, and Tommy’s shut down for the evening, where can he go to get a decent after-hours bite to eat? As Joe wonders around the Square he becomes increasingly desperate; the nacho cheese hot dog rolls at 7-11 are beginning to look appealing. As his search for sustanence continues, Joe notices a bright blue and red neon sign piercing through the darkness.
It’s 2:30 a.m., and the Quincy Grille is open for business. Believing that he will no longer wilt from his approaching starvation, Joe reaches into his pocket, only to find that he has forgotten his wallet. All this starving student has is his ID card and a few tears in his eyes. Okay, a lot of tears.
Luckily for him, not only is the Quincy Grille open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday (it closes at 2 a.m. on weekdays), making it the latest place open for food, but best of all, it also takes Crimson Cash. So while Joe’s parents think he’s really meticulous about doing his laundry, he’ll be scamming his way to good eats. If only he could also tip the Grille girls with his Crimson Cash, he would be set.
We’ve all been searching for a new place to get some food late at night. The Quincy Grille Café, as it has been renamed after its re-opening, fills that void. Manager Justin Elrich ’03 had a vision for the Grille. He wanted it to be more than just a place to eat; he wanted it to be a place where people come and hang out. And hang out they do, whether it is for the Wednesday Movie Nights at the “Quincy Grille Theatre” or the occasional live performances ranging from poetry to freestylers. With the addition of a new surround-sound speaker system, dimming lights and burger-joint-style booths, the Quincy foyer has never looked so good. “Seeing the tables filled, even if they don’t have any food, makes me happy,” says Elrich, who is also the Grille’s owner.
Elrich, a junior in Quincy house, said that he felt there was no place in Quincy where people could just go and “chill.” Justin knew that Quincy House had great potential and took it upon himself to take advantage of that. Renting the space at his own expense, Erlich is completely financially responsible for the Grille’s operation. Apart from the sign and the furniture, which Quincy House will help pay for, everything else is his responsibility. “It’s not a job,” says Erlich, “it’s an activity.”
With a menu much more expansive than just hamburgers and fries, the Quincy Grille Cafe has its own cappuchino and espresso machine, smoothies, breakfast food, cookies, and even gourmet burgers. “It’s not Grille food, it’s good food!” says Elrich—everything a person wants for a quick study break or to nurse that pesky hangover. The Grille has more than doubled its menu since it opened, as Elrich wanted to make sure the menu would include all sorts of small items that would allow people to come “chill and hang out, but not eat heavy food.”
In terms of time commitment, Erlich says “whenever I think I’m done, there’s more to do”. Having hired six employees, Erlichhopes that his commitment will eventually decrease. The prospects of that happening, however, seem bleak, as the Grille’s fame spreads around campus. As the number of clients continues to increase, Erlich will have his work cut out for him.