No Shame In Chain
From one food lover to another: It’s OK to eat at a chain restaurant.
It’s one of the unspoken rules that foodies always choose to eat “where the locals eat,” or look for a mom & pop. We don’t talk about the fact that a big percentage of locals are eating at chains every day. Nor do we usually air the fact that eating at independent restaurants can be something of a crap shoot. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s not.
A recent experience brought this home like never before.
We were on the road, in an unfamiliar town. Near our hotel, there were two restaurants, a stone’s throw from one another.
One was an independent with a cool name and vibe and the reputation of having a killer dessert. The night manager at the hotel said he’d heard, “Order the dessert first” from many of his guests. Better yet, it was open for another three hours.
The other restaurant was a chain that closed in an hour.
A Tale of Two Restaurants
We choose the killer dessert place. We went in and waited by the door for some indication of protocol, then seated ourselves. We sat while a server gathered payment from the table next to ours, figuring we’d be next to get attention.
Nope. She headed back to the kitchen without a word.
We waited a little longer, and another server came to take our drink order.
She came back, handed us menus, and said she’d be “right back.”
The clock ticked and we waited. And waited. The band took a break and came back, and we were still there, menus plainly down and necks stretched to see if we could see anyone to take our order.
The server at the next table came back to wipe it down, but never acknowledged us.