Hook and Bullet Club - Remembering Vertins

Vertins was the hot spot to hang out on a Friday night in my high school days in the early 1980s. Whether you were standing on the corner or taking up space in a booth, Vertins was where we spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights.
This past week I took Evan and Megan out to lunch at Insula, the latest iteration of Vertins.
Grabbing the handle on the front door triggered memories right away. Like shaking the hand of an old friend after 20 years.
The look inside is different and a great improvement over what it had been the last time Vertins was open as a restaurant. The new owners have made their mark in a most positive manner.
But the memories will continue. And people will call it Vertins.
My earliest memories of Vertins were going out to dinner with my grandparents in the back room - the formal section of Vertins.
I remember the tray of goodies brought out before the meal was served. Sliced carrots, celery, crackers and mini bread sticks in plastic sleeves and my favorite in a small bowl - pickled herring.
To this day, every deer season my brother-in-law Mike and I make sure there’s at least one container of pickled herring at the shack. We don’t have to worry about the kids getting into it - they haven’t acquired the taste yet.
For now Insula uses the front section of the building, the old pub and the back room will have to wait for now. But the memories will continue.
We sat at the bar in the pub back in 1989, debating if Ely was starting to turn into two communities, old Ely and new Ely.
And there were many meetings held in the room downstairs - famous for daytime card games that went on where money may or may not have changed hands.
But the front section was our hangout in those teenage years.
We’d get four or five of us (or however many we could squeeze around a table) and order up a serving of french fries and Cokes all around. In the middle we’d put an empty plate and pour out most of a bottle of ketchup to dip the fries into.
Everybody would chip in to pay for our scrumptious meal and then we’d head out to the corner to watch the older kids cruise by in their cars and trucks.
Music would be blaring, screams could be heard from inside and tires would squeal as another vehicle turned onto Sheridan.
This week I tried to relate some of those stories to Evan and Megan but I don’t have the Vulcan mind meld ability to transfer the sounds, smells, images and feelings that flow with them.
I’m glad Insula offers a Vertins Special, that was my favorite sandwich back in the day and their version is just as delicious.
Now if they open the back room someday and offer pickled herring, we’d really have something!