In an effort to try to stay on top of all that’s happening in South Jersey, and that’s quite a task, I’m always reading. Thank the internet gods for news feeds and readers, otherwise it would be too daunting a task. Anyway, I was doing my usual sifting through the hundreds of articles that are sent out daily when I came across this one from http://www.nj.com/. In a list of topics, the article heading tells it plainly: Dill’s Seafood sold.
Dill’s Seafood?!?!? Oh **** me!
You never want to see well-loved and regarded places like Dill’s disappear from the scene…and you especially hate to see it happen when you never got the chance to eat there. Yes, that’s right – the fancy-schamncy South Jersey food blogger never ate at Dill’s Seafood. I hang my head in shame.
And what smarts even more is that Dill’s was a Bridgeton institution, and Bridgeton was my second home growing up. I still remember the days going to see Mom Mom and Pop Pop Wuzzardo and their house on Spring Street, playing croquet on their slanted backyard where one badly malleted hit would send you several yards down the hill into the neighbor’s bushes. Mom Mom and Pop Pop passed on some years ago, but I still have relatives that live down there.
So, how come I never ate at Dill’s? Simple: as much as I try, some places just slip through your mind. And with a place like Dill’s, you would figure that they would be around for a long long time. It’s a reminder that, like anything in life, you simply can’t take something for granted.
Now, for those who had never heard of Dill’s seafood, I want to direct you to an article written in the New York Times back in 2000. Yes, that’s right: a seafood joint in Bridgeton was featured in the New York Times. And I remember when this article came out, because Lisa and I used to get the Times back then when we were still living in North Jersey and still in ‘shun South Jersey’ mode. I distinctly remember opening up the paper and finding this article, and a little smile came across my lips. I couldn’t help but a feel a little pang of pride, buried under my stuck-up facade. I look back at that moment now, and I realize that the seeds of what we’re harvesting now were being planted then.
I wish I could be writing a different blog post; the one where Lisa and I finally made our pilgrimage to Dill’s and enjoyed a wonderful meal thanks to the love and care of the Marino family. But that story will never get written. It’s too late now.
I wish the Marino family well in their future endeavors. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t experience their place in person.
If you had the chance to eat at Dill’s, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to comment about your memories.