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A Cheesy Experience

What is it about people who think they are "in the know" about a great hole in the wall restaurant that you just have to visit during a weekend getaway? Since we are a "restaurant family" we decided to take one friend's advice and visit a place that we hadn't yet tried this summer. And so, on a Friday night at around 7pm in the pouring rain, we walked into the back entrance of the restaurant, which appeared to have a few tables open and attempted to get a seat. Unfortunately, even though there were a few empty tables, we were told to go to the other side of the restaurant to put our name on their waiting list. And so, we fought our way through a crowd of people ordering takeout, only to learn that the wait to get inside was 30 minutes and we were starving. We decided to hit the road and visit one of our favorite restaurants in the area and were quickly seated, waited upon and had a great experience. Fast forward to today. Another rainy day spent watching movies and shopping for school supplies. At 3pm we decided to give that hole in the wall one last try and this time, we got a table. But, there's something about "hole in the wall" restaurants and service. They don't feel the need to rush to your table to take your drink order or hand over the bread basket. It took a good 10 minutes for us to be waited upon (after my husband asked the hostess to find us a waiter), and then we learned that there was no kids menu, if you wanted pizza you couldn't order it by the slice and if you wanted to substitute anything on the menu or ask for something like "fresh garlic," that was completely out of the realm of possibility. Plus, my husband had a hankering for steamed mussels, which he quickly learned were already sold out and so, when he asked if he could order fried calamari, the waitress advised that they only start serving that delicacy at 4pm - Incidentally, it was 3:30 pm when he asked for the calamari - you'd think they'd bend the rules since they ran out of his first choice but I guess the guy who cooks the squid doesn't come in until the late afternoon. When the food did finally arrive, it was good but not amazing. The pizza, which came fresh out of the oven, didn't even have time to cool down so when we lifted our slices to take a bite, the cheese came flying off. And, they couldn't even give us regular plates for us to put the pizza on. They handed us flimsy paper plates that became saturated with oil and cheese from the pizza that wasn't quite ready for consumption. So why does a place where the service is sub par and the food flexibility choices non-existent, still have people lining up in droves to sample their fare? I guess it's that crazy word of mouth syndrome. One guy discovered this diamond in the rough way back when, he told two friends and so on and so on. Too bad now that the place is teeming with people all day and night, this old gem has become a bit worn around the edges. I guess the take-out crowd has it all right - order the food, bring it home and serve it up any way you like!
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Posted in: Blog, Undercover Mom on 09/02/2006

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