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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lunch Report: Red Robin is Open...

No, not the new Red Robin that has been threatening to open in Alamo Ranch, but the one at The Rim. We have been before (several times, actually), but there was some little incident that I could have sworn caused it to close down at least briefly. Something health related. Anyway, whatever that little issue was, they must have gotten it resolved because they sent my wife one of those e-mail coupons for a free burger, and we can't let something like that go to waste, now can we?When we walked in, they had this poster up advertising the Burnin' Love Burger. Ignite my taste buds? Well, why not? From the looks of the poster, it seemed to have some sort of grilled jalapenos on it, and I am happy to report, that me likey! In fact, if you ever go to What-a-burger and don't have them throw some grilled jalapenos on your burger, you are missing a good time.

We were seated in the front of the restaurant, almost in the bar area, and instead of a booth, we had this tall wobbly table with really uncomfortable wooden bar stools. The place was packed, as usual (I guess nobody else had any concerns about that minor health issue) and we had to wait several minutes for our waiter. In that time, we were able to decide what we wanted, thus when the guy made his way to us for a drink order, we'd get the entire order going all at once. You know, with a plan like that, how can you go wrong?

Did you know that Red Robin has this little deal going where they give you bottomless french fries? We had several different waiters try to hand us baskets of fries during our visit, and each time when we declined, they looked at us like we were nuts, "But they're free!"

We did have a great waiter, Levi was his name if I recall, and he was the first waiter we have ever had that told us we could substitute onion rings for the fries for an additional 99 cents. This is actually a good deal because, if you recall from my previous report, they serve onion rings on this tall ring stacker thing. That little puppy will cost you $8. I know, outrageous. If you add up the rings that we got with our burgers for a combined $1.98, there were just as many. So if you go to RR, just do the substitution and save a few bucks.
In the corner of the area we were in, there was a group of young guys, probably high school or college age, who knows, and they were having a nice time doing the goofy things teens are supposed to do; messing with each other. They had those fruity kind of lemonade drinks where get actual chunks of fruit in it, so one of the antics involved taking a straw and attempting to suck it from one end through the straw. While waiting for more baskets of bottomless french fries, one kid (the second one from the right in the picture) put his head down almost as if the strenuous work of sucking fruit through a straw had caused need for a nap. His cohorts immediately went into action with one kid first taking the salt shaker and shaking a bit into the sleepy kid's lemonade. Not to be out done, another friend grabbed that Red Robin seasoning they have out on the tables, and poured a substantial amount into the drink. This was followed by a third kid reaching over and stirring the new concoction so the specialness of the drink would be distributed evenly. That's important in a high quality lemonade, you know.

When the tired kid lifted his head, the others were doing everything they could to mute giggles and not give away that anything was amiss. Now if you are a cool kid and they spike your lemonade, you should just drink it and pretend you don't even notice. In fact, I'd suggest holding up the glass and stating loudly, "My God, this is the best lemonade I have ever tasted. I wonder if I can get a gallon or two to go?" In doing this, the young pranksters are denied their enjoyment at your expense. Instead, the victim here just said, "Real nice." Then grabbed the iced tea from the kid next to him and drank most of it in a single suck of the straw. That kid has some good lungs.

I'm not so sure while I found the whole episode entertaining. Perhaps it was because these yout's weren't vandalizing the restaurant; just each other.

For some reason, it took an extraordinarily long time to get our burgers out to us. You can always gauge things based upon how quickly people around you are getting their food. Plus, we have been to this pace before and I once commented that their staff was like a well oiled machine. Nobody sits around and waits for anything, they are always busy doing something. So I was surprised at the wait. And sure enough, when some guy from the kitchen finally came out with our burgers, he apologized for the long wait. At least they were aware of it.
My wife went with the Whiskey River burger. We've both had this one before and it is a wise selection. It has the little fried onion things and some sort or sauce. She cut it in half, then went to town on it.My Burnin' Love burger sucked. Do not waste your time on it. I think what they did was get a regualr burger, pour a little bit of Taco Bell salsa on it, and called it Burnin' Love. I'm sure Elvis would be proud. Oh sure, I ate it, but I kept thinking that I could have had one of those Red Robin burgers that comes with a fried egg on top of it. I hate missed opportunities.

So there you have it. Neither of us got sick, so whatever health issues they had experienced before must have been corrected. Our particular waiter was great, and Johnny-on-the-spot with tea refills, an absolute requirement for me. The wait was a bit longer than normal - okay, a lot longer than normal, and other than me not liking the fraudulaent Burnin' Love burger, all was good.

You may now safely return to Red Robin.


Anonymous said...

No thanks. I won't be returning to that Red Robin, and it will take a while til I visit another one. Something about roaches makes it difficult to enjoy my meal!

And if the burger sucked, why would you want to go back?

But hey - good review!

Dave said...

Okay, so I didn't want to specifically mention the roaches, but having worked a few shifts in a burger place myself, I am pretty certain that even the cleanest of restaurants will encounter some "situations". I am betting that the negative publicity was enough to force these people to get their act together.

Honestly, I am less worried about roaches than I am the cooks flicking boogers into the Burnin' Love burger.

Q said...

I agree, after something like this they are on their best behavior...It's safe.

And I too have worked in many a restaurants and if this is overly concerning you might want to stay home and cook.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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