To begin, I must admit I feel a little out of place writing about Dubic's Palm Cafe. I'm a girl. In fact, I never really knew where the guys all went Saturday mornings when they "called George to get a good number." Dubic's is a ritual. A right of passage in Youngstown. It is a corner bar in a town as tough as it's street name-- Steel. Family owned by fellow Croation George Dubic and his beautiful wife Anna-- you'll find him pouring shots of slivovitz to his regulars, talking politics with local businessmen and exchanging x and o's with players past and coaches present. At the Palm, there is no separation of class. Everyone waits in line. Everyone gets their number. The best you can get is your name scribbled on a table-- but that's if you call in with a large group. That's how I made it to the Palm. For the last few years our family has been booking recording sessions at Gary Rhamy's Peppermint Studio in Y-town. We start at the Palm-- eat, drink and suddenly, we can all sing. Let's circle back to the food, the foundation of the Palm Cafe. Out back, in a tiny shed, you will find a whole stockade of lamb, pork and chicken. George's son John, in a crisp white bloodied dress shirt, carries in each spit and lines them up on the stainless steel cutting table. At the same time, the next crop of patrons line up for the show-- and their plateful. The pigs are the most entertaining. First the head. You're lucky if you get it-- either you asked for it or Anna found you deserving of the tribute. The electric band saw is wonderful background music to the glasses clanking, the arguments growing more heated and George's laugh. Young John wears only rubber gloves. All watch and worry as he slices the meat through the 2 foot blade and hold their breath when a pretty girl walks by-- they all catch his eye. Paper plates and metal trays overflow with the moist and tender meat topped with the crackling skin browned perfectly. On a fold out table you can pick up you scallions, sliced bread and pepperoncini for the lamb. You won't find ketchup at the Palm. What you will find is a lot of people standing to eat and more at the bar. Booths are filled with generations of men-- young fresh faces laugh with weathered ones. Fingers are the preferred utensil with ice cold beers and of course-- the slivo. The Palm Cafe offers a few hours of familiarity. It's like stopping at your Grandma's house after a hard day's work. The arms pull you in and welcome you. The sounds stay with you all week. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do at the Palm. No one cares, as long as you eat the food and tip the waitresses-- Marie and Rose.
Dubic Palm Cafe
301 Steel St Youngstown, OH 44509