Burst the Bubble: Waterville’s Diners

Burst the Bubble is a new column in the Local News section characterized by pieces of creative writing. It’s designed to encourage Colby students to explore memorable areas in Central Maine. This week’s segment compares Early Bird, Jorgenson’s, and Big G’s.

It’s a lazy Sunday morning, and I’ve just been woken up by three roommates who resemble starving puppies as they whimper, “we’re hungry.”  Where should I take them?  Downtown to Jorgenson’s?  Towards Oakland for Early Bird?  Or to Winslow for Big G’s? 

It has to be said that there is nothing better than a car ride on a crisp fall morning: each leaf methodically plucks itself off its billowing branch, swings gently through the air, and delicately lands on the ground. The wind plays with the leaf’s fingertips, swirling it around until it meanders from grass to road. Then, my car smashes through the leaf, crushing it into dust.

We’re on the way to Jorgenson’s, and I already know what I’m ordering. A breakfast burrito stuffed with bacon, beans, and mild salsa complimented by endless coffee and a copy of The Colby Echo distributed there. I’m sitting at one of the pieces of mismatched furniture after I’ve ordered. Now, I’m tapping my foot waiting for the understaffed café to finally bring us our food. Finally, it comes out, the waiting is forgotten, and my stress melts away. The price is reasonable, and it’s nice to be in the company of Waterville citizens.

The leaf is obliterated to dust again, and this time I’m driving on Rice Rips Road towards Oakland, and pulling into Early Bird’s parking lot. My party walks in the door of the bustling diner just as a separate party of four is leaving. We take their spot, restoring the perfect harmony that is Early Bird. Our waitress comes by and doesn’t even need to hear our orders, because she already knows what we want. Some people like to order something different on the menu every time they go to a restaurant, and those people are banned from Early Bird. The food comes out questionably fast, but we accept it. As soon as we leave the next party shows up. Somehow, a mountain of food costs less than ten dollars. I leave with my brain stimulated by delicious corned beef hash.

I run over the leaf again, and this time I cross the majestic Kennebec River towards Winslow, to Big G’s. We show up to a line and an aggressive menu. Families from around the state come to Big G’s due to it’s numerous commercials on Maine public television. Ironically, the only decorations inside Big G’s are advertisements for Big G’s, as if they need more business from current customers. There are options for breakfast and lunch here, and, once again, they are all affordable. Food comes right on time, and the portions are monstrous. I get the roast beef sandwich, and I find french fries (french fries!) between my slices of bread. It’s a health nut’s nightmare, and a workout for my jaw muscles. I leave satisfied, and with a bloated stomach. 

My car runs over the leaf one last time, and I’m back in my dorm room, still daydreaming about driving to each different diner and thinking of my tires crushing leaves. My roommates are arguing over which one to go to. Each of them keeps badgering me and explaining which diner should be my favorite. One of them wants Jorgenson’s, because it may have the best atmosphere, one of them wants Early Bird, because it’s the cheapest and fastest, and one of them wants Big G’s, because it has arguably the best overall food. Out of pure frustration, indecision, and laziness, I just walk to Bob’s for a free breakfast. It’s mediocre. 

While debates about the hierarchy of restaurants in the Waterville area can render red-faced arguments, most Colby students can agree on one thing: going off campus to any of Central Maine’s breakfast options is a more enjoyable experience on a weekend than staying in a dining hall. Next time, I’m just going to pop a CD into my car, drive though more autumn leaves, and eat at all three.