The Dive Bomber: Getting Educated at Mimi's Subway Bar and Grill

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I went to college at the University of Missouri - Columbia, where I experienced the only period of timidity in my life. On my twenty-first birthday, I had to get up before dawn to stand in line to register for three in-demand classes. I'd like to think I celebrated getting my classes and attaining legal status by walking across the street to the Heidelberg for a pitcher of beer with friends. Since I didn't have friends, I didn't go. I went home and hung out with my cat.

Loser.

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Robin Wheeler
I'm making up for it now, starting with a trip to Mimi's Subway Bar and Grill in the revived section of Ferguson. Not that Mimi's has gotten all gussied up. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it building, set back from the road. It looks more like a shed than a bar, which is in the basement.

I went for lunch at the beginning of the new school year, hoping to find students taking a break from the books. There were none. In fact, I was the only person drinking alcohol; everyone else had soda. From loser to drunk: That's the progress I've made in 16 years.

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Robin Wheeler
Maybe UMSL students are more responsible than their Mizzou counterparts circa 1993. Or maybe Mimi's is too far from campus. Whatever the reason, the kids today are missing out. A frosted mug of Busch, four sliders and a mountain of fries for eight bucks is better than any dining-hall deal. It's also a great combination for inducing the mid-afternoon class snooze.

I know I'd never make it to class if I'd eaten lunch at Mimi's because I made friends with the bartender and another woman. We talked for an hour after I'd finished my beer and given up on the pile of fries. In that hour, we covered political science, economics, geography, military science, anatomy and women's studies in more depth than most of the classes I took back in the day.

I may have slept through economics lecture, but I know that's a bargain compared to the student loans I'm still paying.

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom. She also has a strange attraction to drinking establishments with jars of pickled -- or possibly fossilized -- eggs. She reports on these dives for Gut Check every Thursday.

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