Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Thanks, I'll just have The Door, with a side of . . . Nothing."

Saturday night.

Downtown Beaver.

7 of us needing dinner (my father and brother in law came in today), and me not really ready to cook for the masses.

The goal. Find a place in walking distance, as they had just been in a car for 5 hours.

Mario's? Packed. As expected.

The local diner? Closed. Unexpected.

We head to another restaurant I think my Dad will love - the "one which shall not be named" (as, once again, if you are a consistent reader here, you know all about my mechanic/trans guys blog post incident of last summer).

It took a while for the waitress to come over. I'm being gracious. We give her our drink orders.

"I'm sorry. We're out of root beer" she shares, after the kids order their drinks. Not a good start. She goes to the kitchen to make sure that this is the case.

Upon her return, which took a bit too long, she confirms that they are indeed out of root beer, and we continue the process of ordering drinks.

"I'm sorry, we don't have Sprite or 7-UP. Just Coke, Diet Coke, Gingerale, Pink Lemonade and Raspberry Iced Tea."

Um, ok. The kids order Gingerale, a few of us get some water, and there's a Diet Coke in there somewhere.

She returns with the Diet Coke and one water.

George's jaw begins to square.

She leaves and returns with the remainder of the drink order. As we order dinner, it is abundantly clear that something is just not right. She seems as flustered as we are.

"I'm sorry, we're out of meatballs."

Ok, is this a joke? How can an Italian joint run out of meatballs?

The dinner menu has antipasto salad listed. I order it.

"I'm sorry, but our deli is closed so we may not have antipasto. I'll have to check." I'm afraid for her to check, as it seems the kitchen is like a mile away. Each time she goes to check on something she doesn't return for close to 10 minutes.

Breathing. Breathing. Breathing. George's jaw locking. Locking. Locking.

The waitress shares that she is filling in for someone who had to leave early due to a family member who had an accident. We realize full well that the restaurant being out of items has NOTHING to do with her and she's just trying to keep it together. Throughout our entire time in the place she must have apologized close to 10 times. Ask my brother in law for the final figures. I think he kept count.

She reports that they DO have enough meat for the antipasto. Yeah! So, we order. The pizza take up to 25 minutes, ("I'm sorry"), so we nix that idea for the kids, as we've already been sitting there close to 20. All this time we've been struggling to find something for them on the menu. She then mentions "kid's pasta."

"Wait", I interrupt, "is there a kid's menu"? I flip the menu over and back in an attempt to find the dishes that she is verbally mentioning to me. They aren't listed anywhere as far as I can see.

"Yes. I'm sorry. He he didn't print them up."

At that point, George decides to take Zane, and himself, out for a little walk outside.

We finally get the order set. She repeats back everything. Check. All is correct. Ready to get that order into the kitchen.

As we are waiting. She returns. Again.

"I'm sorry. Our credit card machine is broken. I'm so sorry."



I'm sure the order was already in and beginning to be cooked, but there were 7 of us. My Dad was footing the bill. I was quite certain he didn't have that much cash on him. I was right. I felt badly for leaving (she had disappeared in the back again), but it was about the straw. And the camel. And the camel's aching back.

On our way out, my Dad left money for the drinks, and I flagged down another waitress and asked her to please convey to ours that we were leaving, as we needed to pay by credit card.

"You could write a check" was her response. Very friendly, but not really getting the point.

As we were leaving, our waitress came out from the back.

"He's going to try and fix the machine for you."

It was too late. My hungry family had already vacated the building.

We will call this "he", whoever the "he" is, on Monday to share our non-dining experience. We will be direct, and polite, as we convey our frustration.

China House won our business tonight. Their General Tso's chicken ROCKS THIRD STREET. (Ok, in all honesty we did have one teeny tiny issue with an egg roll, but that was quickly rectified.)

I'm sure we'll give "the one which shall not be named" another try at some point. And honestly, it's fine that there aren't a ton of choices of places at which to eat out in downtown Beaver specifically, as there are some awesome places all around us that to which we can drive (Lockhouse 6, Back Door Tavern). Plus, we are planning on curbing eating out in our budget once I get my pantry stocked.

Just wondering if tonight's experience was a fluke - a restaurant having a bad night - or does it have a bit of "small town" drizzled on top?

Anyone else have an interesting dining experience to share?

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