When I was a kid, I went to San Antonio to visit my aunt. She took me to Luby's Cafeteria. I was an instant Luby's fan.
A couple of years before she died, when I was on another visit, we went to Luby's again. That was at least 50 years after the original visit. I could be wrong, but I believe the cafeteria was in the same building as it was when I first went. It was for sure pretty much the same menu, served in pretty much the same way.
But something happened. The Pappas brothers have bought an interest in the old cafeteria chain, and they've started doing things differently. Naturally the prices went up. They've kept going up, in fact, that that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about changes.
The first insidious change was to the menu. My favorite dish (and, I thought, the favorite of many), the cheese enchilada platter, was dropped.
After a while, the warming trays disappeared. Yes, "presentation" has become important even in cafeterias, so the food is in platters and bowls now. It's not as warm as it was when it came from the trays, but the presentation is classier.
More recently, the little carts with coffee and ice water and tea disappeared, too. Instead, a person in a red coat rushes up to your table and says, "I'll be your waiter today." Waiters? In a cafeteria?
A geezer such as myself can accept one change. With bad grace, naturally, but still . . . Two changes is pushing it. The third one's the charm. After more than 50 years as a Luby's customer, I won't be going back. There's only so much an old guy can stand.