MMSMINY and MMSMIB Sandwich Bill Evans


A few weeks ago I received an email from two ardent Bill Evans fans—James Farber and Larry Goldberg. They wrote to say they had interviewed Evans back in 1976 on a radio station in Madison, Wis., and asked if I wanted to hear it. I said I’d be happy to and, if I loved it and the sound was clean, I’d be most interested in hosting the clip and sharing their story at JazzWax.

Marc Myers on JazzWax

I hope you will listen to the interview above. The stars that aligned to make it happen are chronicled on JazzWax. Incredibly sweet story.

When I first met James (My Main Sandwich Man in New York) he was playing piano in a quartet by the name of Regalia. At the – this a name that does not roll off the tongue – Brathaus. It was the mid-70’s and I’m proud to say I was loving jazz and tending bar you could call it. The drinking age was 18.

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When I first met LRoy (My Main Sandwich Man in Boston) he was hanging around Madison post college, a childhood and best friend of James. No doubt he put in his time at the Brathaus, the Cardinal Bar, all the joints. Plus sharing air time with James at WORT (Stick it in your ear.), a Pacifica station, where they logged the midnight hour and through on to the wee parts of day.

The – such a clunker of a name, as a mother-of-a-son I’m mortified – did serve some fine fine sandwiches. Only only only after a series of steps. An order. Could be shouted to you over a crowd, say it’s a Thursday or Friday night and Regalia is playing, or a Saturday and the Badgers are playing. Shouted. Okay, I got it. A burger/brat combo to go, 3 steaks 2 with cheese, 3 brats, 3 orders of fries to stay. Kay, that’s simple. We don’t write it down here, we don’t ring it up, we call it, we hear it back, we grab it, reach for your money, big smile, tight t-shirt, cash drawer bangs open, in we go. Next!

To call that order, ok, here we go. 3 BRATS, 3 STEAKS, 2 WITH,  A BRAT COMBO TO RIDE, 1 FRY TO RIDE, 3 FRIES, ORDERING! And then you hadda listen, hear, and also listen and hear the pile swarm pushing crowd calling for food. Those on the grill, they called it back 3 BRATS, 3 STEAKS, 2 W CHEESE, A BRAT COMBO TO RIDE, 1 FRY TO RIDE, 3 FRIES, no name, you knew it was yours by memory and you grabbed it. Then push it forward, reach for the money, big smile, tight t-shirt, cash drawer bangs open, change returned, all math in your head, and SHUT, tip? tip? tip?, aww we pool em, in we go. Next!

That system was silk. Prescribed by Shorty and Lammy who owned the joint. They built it too and built its parts – the amazing slicing machine, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, the rolls in half half half. Nice rolls they were.  Every other Tuesday, a stint in the basement, smokin brats with a partner, a boy and girl brat-smokin’ match-up.

Every Thursday and Friday, Regalia.  And a packed bar.He/she who booked ’em deserves a medal and a plaque. Brats to the max. Peaches and Regalia. Ordering!

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13 responses to “MMSMINY and MMSMIB Sandwich Bill Evans

  1. You write like the wind, girl!
    When you say you were smoking brats I the basement, is that a euphemism?

    My boy and I are keeping the tradition alive with a weekly meal of brats and tots (Johnsonville and tater that is).
    Juicy and sweet. I wear the tight t-shirt, but you look way better in it.

  2. Thank you, LRoy. I will take that as a compliment.
    Nope, not a euphemism. The drinking age was 18 and drinks were my vice of choice. Seriously. I liked to be out in a crowd – then and now.

    Really, you are having brats once a week. Hooray for that! I think you may have to switch to a new brand – Hans. They are fabulous! Homemade tots or packaged? And if packaged, are you brand loyal?

    As for the t-shirt, I may look better in it, but – no offense to you – you set the bar low in comparison seeing as YOU ARE A GUY.

    Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. Let’s set a Jersey Joe date with JAF.

  3. From MMSMINY who wishes to remain anonymous:

    Never heard of those guys. I always thought Gary “Jet” Jackson was the owner. I remember him and his sidekick, goofy Canute (Knute?).

    Funny reading this NOW … as I just had 4 reel-to-reel tapes of Regalia at the Brathaus transferred to digital files and have been listening to them over the past couple of days to the point where I imagined that my hair started to smelled like smoke brats!

    I remember once going up to the bar and jokingly ordering a “coffee with” and someone, maybe Canute, put a slice of cheese in a coffee cup and poured hot coffee over it. An unforgettable Salvador Dali like image.

    Regalia actually played that “hot dog stand” every Thursday (as you mentioned) AND Friday.


  4. Brat with ordering!

  5. Tots. Not just in school cafeterias anymore.

  6. IN baseball a homerun is called a “tater.” So a rookie who hits a lot of homers could be called a “tater tot.”

  7. I believe Tater Tots are strictly found in T-ball.

  8. Thanks for that blast from the past! Anybody know the name of the sax player in Regalia? Back in the 70s I thought he was great, and I’ve been wondering what became of him.

    • Jeffrey Ernstoff was Regalia’s sax player. He is currently active in NYC as special events producer and musician among other things.

      Thanks for reading and for being in touch, Scott!

  9. Ah, quite the career! He provided me many nights of entertainment and inspiration, so I’m glad to see it’s worked out well for him. And since I suppose you may have served me a brat or 20, I’m happy for your success as well!

  10. I bet I did serve you a brat or two, Scott. I was there many of the nights when Regalia played. Over the years I have maintained friendships with several of the members. They are all still involved with music and doing really well. I have very happy memories of the Brathaus – now called State Street Brats – and of Regalia.

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