Herreford and Cassie, the coolest kids in sunday school. these were a gift to my lovely and talented friends Erin and Evan who were recently wed by horses. I might have mixed up the details, there was an open bar.
For the last 7 months or so I've been spending a lot of time in Patriots Place.
In 2002 the Kraft group opened the 67,000+ seat Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. They plopped the thing down in Foxborough, a comfortable but relatively unremarkable town, probably because it's about half way between Boston and Providence. In 2007, the Kraft's spent $350 Million and built Patriots Place, a sprawling concrete mass of stores and restaurants. This is where we call home. Every day Megan and I park in the vast desert of a lot and climb the mountainous stairs to reach the main level of the shopping center. The whole place is sort of built up over a hill, so on one side of the plaza you can walk straight out into the parking lot and on the other side you overlook this four story drop in front of the stadium. Underneath the plaza is a giant concrete cavern where the businesses use the loading dock and hide their garbage. It's like the bat cave, if Bruce Wayne decided to lease out the space and let CBS Scene drop off their trash there.
Suburbanites flock to Patriot Place from the Massachusetts/ Rhode Island area and beyond to partake in it's eateries and shops. As far as I'm aware, 5 Wits is the only independently owned store in the plaza... everything in the Place is a strange b-level corporate chain. You won't find a Burger King, but you'll find a Five Guys. You won't find an Uno's, but you'll find Bar Louie. People come to the location having heard of our broad selection of establishments they'd expect to find in L.A. or Orlando, not little old Foxboro. The people are mostly blue collar locals, or white collar folks pretending to be blue collar locals. The kids run ahead of mom and dad, excited for their weekly trek to Baskin Robbins after soccer practice. The sound system pumps soft rock during the day, and Nickelback at night. During the day the walkways are dotted with men in Patriots or Red Sox shirts and Khaki shorts, during the night it's aeropostale tweens, and skater kids who don't own skate boards.
Not pictured: black people.
The weird thing about Patriots Place is it feels like some sort of an embassy for a country that only exists on TV. From within the Plaza it is perpetually summer in an MTV teen drama. It's easy to believe that at any point the whole place could just be picked up and dropped somewhere else in America, transplanted as mysteriously as it appeared in the first place. Despite the popular styles and agreeable menus, what do these restaurants say about this place? What do these stores say about Foxborough, Massachusetts? So close to the one and only home of the Great New England Patriots (and Serviceable New England Revolution), what about this place says home? At the far end of the plaza from us you'll find Toby Keith's I Heart This Bar & Grill. When Tobias Keith, country singer and entrepreneur awoke on that fateful morning he decided to create his I Heart This Bar & Grill, I have no doubts that he knew immediately there needed to be a location here, in liberal Massachusetts. TKIheartTBAG is a universal language that can speak to anyone across this great 'merica, be they gay lovin' Harvard educated yankees, or gun totin' "just grabbing a bite on my way to the Bass Pro Shop" REAL Americans. When one eats at... no, experiences TKIheartTBAG, they are there because they appreciate good service.