Tower City's Pay-By-The-Pound, an innovator in fattening your ass up, dies

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It’s official: Pay-by-the-Pound is leaving Cleveland. If you don’t spend your afternoons stoned, and you don’t have a truck-scale in your bathroom, you may know the wonder of Natural Buffet, in the food court at Tower City. For the overweight pot-head population, it was the equivalent of Mecca, only you don’t have to wear white and worry about being trampled to death (unless, that is, you’re in line in front of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora). But, sadly, this wonderful phenomenon is leaving Cleveland, another casualty of the slowly fading all-you-can-eat-gorge-yourself-until-you-shart industry. Where else can you pile mash potatoes, macaroni salad, and chicken wings into your fat-ass with no one telling you that you can’t have any more? For anyone familiar with this special place, you know there was a science to the pay-by-the-pound lunch. It wasn’t just about piling food up on a tray, like those celery-eaters over at Subway thought. Rather, it was a fine balancing act. You’ve got nine bucks in your pocket. Is one more crispy Chinese noodle on top of your salad going to tip you over? It takes a true buffet connoisseur to be able to eyeball these things. Now, with Pay-by-the-Pound gone, it looks like it’s back to doing laps around the food court until you’ve taken enough free samples of General Tso’s that the manager finally recognizes you and makes you pay for a meal. A sad, sad day indeed. – Jared Klaus

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