Bennigan’s: NEVER AGAIN!

bennigansWe paid our final visit to Bennigan’s on Friday night.  We’ve said never again before, but this time we mean it:  NEVER AGAIN!

We were pressed for time, because the older hooligan had swim practice, and we weren’t prepared to cook anything for dinner.  None of us wanted pizza (yet again), so our quick-but-cheap options were limited.

The frustrating thing about Bennigan’s used to be their inconsistency.  Sometimes it was pretty good, but often wasn’t.  And in a moment of weakness it was easy to roll the dice.  They’re nearby, not very expensive, and there was a reasonable chance we’d be served something halfway decent.

Unfortunately, it’s been tilting shitty of late.  They have some improving to do, if they want to get back to where they were.  Because wildly inconsistent was the good old days…  Now it’s consistently bad.

We knew better, and were groaning in anticipation as we passed through the doors.  As we were being seated by a girl with a single BB attached to the side of her nose, I thought, “We should’ve just gone to Wendy’s…”

I considered having a burger, but my body was screaming for something fresh and at least semi-healthy.  So, I ordered one of those gigantic salads with chicken on top.  It had probably been a few days since I’d had a real vegetable.

Toney ordered soup and half a sandwich, and the boys went with chicken fingers (or whatever) and fries.

And what’s the story with food taking longer when a restaurant is less-busy?  If it’s packed, you can count on your meal appearing quickly, but if it’s dead it takes forever.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

So we waited and waited, while classic rock (Shakedown Cruise!) ricocheted around the almost empty building.  It was about six o’clock on a Friday evening, and the joint was nearly abandoned.  Apparently most people arrived at their NEVER AGAIN! moment before we did.

Finally, our food came, and both boys had drained their Cokes, but the waitress didn’t offer to bring them refills.  I had to make a special request, and our server rolled her eyes in aggravation.  Yep, that was one dollar off the tip, right there.

Toney used her spoon to push aside the cheese seal on top of her French onion soup, and no steam escaped.  What the?  She put the tip of a finger into it, and it was roughly room temperature.   What the crap, man?

I went in search of our waitress, because I had a feeling she wasn’t the type to check back often.  I found her talking with BB nose, and told her I needed to have a word.  And the exasperated sigh she unleashed was one more dollar down.

She snatched away the bowl of soup, without even a hint of an apology, and disappeared with it.  This place was pissing me off.

Finally I administered the dressing to my huge salad, and took a bite.  And something was rancid…  At first I thought it was the Thousand Island, and asked Toney for her opinion.  She smelled the little cup they’d brought it in, and said, “It’s vinegary, probably old.”

So, there was that, but I also believe there was something wrong with the lettuce.  Like it should’ve been in the dumpster behind the restaurant, not being served to me as a dinner entree.

It didn’t taste right, but wasn’t completely nasty, so I choked it down.  The chicken on top was so hard and sharp, it sliced-up my gums, and got shoved to the side.  The shit was covered in a concrete-like breading.

When Toney’s soup returned, it was obvious the bowl had just been shoved into a microwave.  The cheese seal had collapsed and was now fully submerged.  But it was hot…  Sweet Jesus, there was no denying its hotness.  A pillar of steam connected our table and the ceiling.

The boys had no real complaints about their meals, but it’s pretty hard to screw up fried chicken that gets delivered in a sack through the back door.

Toney and I, on the other hand, were irritated and sick about the whole thing.  This garbage was going to cost us thirty dollars, and wasn’t worth ten.  “We should’ve just gone to Wendy’s…” Toney said, echoing my earlier sentiments.

Needless to say, the waitress took forever bringing us our check, and that was another dollar off.  She was a surly girl, who didn’t give a shit — straight-up.  In the end we gave her two bucks.  It had started at five, and the rest was up to her.  Two dollars, I felt, was generous.

The youngest Secret wanted to turn, as we were leaving, and scream, “This place sucks!”  And for a second or two I considered endorsing his plan, but finally decided it might not be responsible parenting.

But he was right on the money.  It most certainly did suck, and with much vigor.  Which is why we won’t be returning:  NEVER AGAIN!

Have you had any recent bad restaurant experiences?  Tell us about it, won’t you?  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be recent…  Just whatever ya got.  Use the comments section below.

And I hope you guys are having yourselves great day.

See you again tomorrow!

Now playing in the bunker.

104 Responses to “Bennigan’s: NEVER AGAIN!”

  1. While I’m not impressed with Bennigans, I do enjoy their bleu cheese burger. They also have a decent wine selection.

    Am I first today?

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  2. I’m number one!

    How appropriate…haha

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  3. 2????

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  4. FIRST???? WTF!!!

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  5. 2nd !!!!!

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  6. OK not 2nd – but right up there.

    ;-)

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  7. Hiya!

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  8. I stopped by a got-damn Hardee’s the other day. My shoes were sticking to the floor as I walked to the counter. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger. When it finally came the bacon was raw, like it had been dipped in boiling water for a few seconds then slapped on my burger. The top bun looked like it had been used as a sponge to clean the countertops. I just tossed it in the trash and walked out, I didn’t even bother to take a bite. This was one of their newer locatations – I think it’s been open for less than a year. NEVER AGAIN. I’d rather use a straw to suck nourishment from a public restroom floor than eat at Hardee’s again. Nasty bastartds.

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  9. As for bad experiences, the only bad one I ever had was when I worked as a waitress.
    A woman threw her salad in my face because I forgot and put cheese on it. She said I’d ruined her lunch and her entire day because of it.
    Isn’t it funny how I attract that kind of thing?

    Thank goodness she hadn’t put the dressing on it before she tossed it at me…

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  10. HeeHee, she said tossed salad

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  11. My own Bennigan’s never again moment came around 1998. Our experience was roughly the same as yours- brown salad, soup that looked like partially warmed gravy and an almost comically obnoxious server. I spoke to the manager, carefully explaining all the issues we had with their service and food. His solution? Charge us for the full meal, offer free desserts and a coupon for . . . wait for it: another fine dining experience at Bennigan’s. “Never again!” I shouted as we exited. Well, I should have anyway.

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  12. Went to KFC the other night to get some of that “Grilled Chicken.” We had a coupon and our kitchen is torn up as we are getting it re-done.

    I should have known by the reform school dropouts that were manning the helm, but when I got home and opened the bucket, there was no grilled chicken in it, just extra crispy. Still delicious, but how do you screw up “A bucket of grilled chicken please” and give the customer extra crispy. Plus, no sporks! Life sucks.

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  13. Hey, there’s something in my cottage cheese!

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  14. Just today, I had a bad restaurant experience, what a coinky-dink.

    The wife and I had been doing yard work all morning, me on chainsaw duty cuttin’ up some firewood, her on the clippers getting the small stuff ready to compost. Hot as hell day and the chainsaw shit the bed right about lunchtime, so we headed to Burger King.

    Haven’t eaten at this one in about 4 years, but we venture inside and it’s EMPTY. The drive thru is doing brisk business but there is no one inside at all. Of course it takes forever to get our food, which wasn’t even special ordered.

    Then we figure out why the place is empty: all the seating is under a huge sunroom and it is 8 billion degrees at every booth. Only two ceiling fans running at low speed, blowing hot air around. Why build such a structure in NC, and operate it in June when it is 90 degrees out?

    Weird thing is that the order counter and kitchen area were fine. But we couldn’t eat there – no seats. So we chose the least hot booth and ate everything in 4 nanoseconds, then got the hell out of that sauna.

    Never again, at least not inside.

    My worst “food” experience was at the Quarterdeck in Jupiter, FL – a bad chili dog kept coming up and made me so sick I couldn’t walk – eventually I had to drive 4 hours back to Tampa to catch a 6 am flight home. I remember having to pull over on MLK Blvd in Tamps to barf on the sidewalk, hoping I wouldn’t get killed. I got three hours sleep and then what do you know? Southwest treated me to a nice bumpy ride home the whole way for 2 hours on my tender, still empty stomach. Thanks Quarterdeck. and thanks, Southwest.

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  15. I have never been to a Bennigan’s. A few years ago we took the little one and a friend to Longhorn (her choice) for her bday dinner. Because of the bitchy and ignorant waitress the night was lousy. The food was good, though. i complained to the main office and the store manager called me and fell all over himself to make it up, and boy did they. Longhorn remains one of our favorite places. I think you should send an email to benny’s main office. The only thing is, they will probably offer the 4 of you a free dinner, which is probably something you arent interested in at this point. Hey! You could recycle it as a present of some sort.

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  16. I try my best to avoid the Bennigans, Ruby Tuesdays, Applebees, Chili’s and Fridays chains. They are all basically the same; Expensive bar food…

    my co-workers go to those places all the time and love it. I just can’t do it.

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  17. I’m with currage — I avoid those dumps at all costs. The few times I’ve been dragged there, the food has always been disgusting. It’s all high-fat, high-salt, low-flavor crap, designed to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator diner, formulated by a “food science engineer” or somesuch at the home-office in a lab, and the cooks at the restaurants are anyone hired off the street who can follow the directions to heat the crap up. I live in an area where there are hundreds if not thousands of independently owned, real-chef operated, restaurants of all economic levels, so there’s just no need to resort to a far-inferior chain.

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  18. Chain food, in general, is like a giant salt lick to me. Can’t take it. And I’ve tried – Lord knows, I’ve tried. Have to drive 50 miles to see my mother who invariably want to chow down and a PF Chang’s or and Elephant Bar, or, Gawd forbid, a Cheesecake Factory. After eating there I have to down a gallon of water.

    Never Again. Never Again.

    Happy Monday, Surfers!

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  19. @Swami Bologna where about do you live…I’d love to visit those kind of places. Unfortunatley, where I am only has a couple of those places and they get a little boring after awhile.

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  20. Southeastern PA. I think just about any large metropolitan area has tons of independent chef-owned or -operated places. I do have sympathy for people in rural areas or small cities / towns, where the choices are more limited, and the chains are often the only option.

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  21. Jim Dandy’s had awesome French Onion Soup. :(

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  22. My “Bennigan’s Moment” came back in 2000. It was July or August, and I was about 7 months pregnant. I got some bizarre craving for a Jamoca Shake and curly fries from our local Arby’s…at around 10 pm. It was only 2 miles away and open until midnight, so I wasn’t concerned.

    My husband returned home precisely 45 minutes later, carrying a small bag and wearing a horrified grin. I attempted to eat the curly fries and shake, but…the shake was curdled/room temperature, and the curly fries had apparently been warmed in someone’s sweaty armpit.

    I haven’t eaten there since then.

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  23. Jeff, keep some Mrs T’s pierogies in your freezer and forget the chain restaurants. Watch as your entire family becomes authentic Pennsylvanians (saying stuff like ‘Youins’).

    For the most part, this equation holds true:

    restaurant food = garbage

    These days, I find it to be a major triumph when I manage to identify a restaurant that actually serves palatable food. In the city I currently live in, I know of a German deli that has really good plate lunches, an excellent Pho place, a mom and pop Thai place that is as good as any I’ve had, a pizza joint with a respectable NY-style cheese slice, and a good family-run Indian/Nepali place. Also, there are some good, authentic Mexican joints and push-carts around town. I have only lived here 5 months, so I am still discovering a new place here and there. But usually when someone recommends a restaurant to me, I end up finding out that they don’t know shit from shinola regarding food. Chain places: fuggetaboutit. If I am on a road trip and want some fast food, I know that I can still get a baked potato and (now flavorless) chili at Spendy’s or find decent enough belly-filling at one of those Panda Express chinese joints. Those Chipotle burritos aint that bad either.

    I really miss those Deep South meat-and-three joints! Anyone ever had smoked mullet? Don’t ask for it at a barbershop, mullet is a Gulf of Mexico shore-caught fish.

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  24. I ate chili once at Village Inn. It had mushrooms in it, and all kinds of other things I couldn’t identify. I guess I was asking for it, ordering chili at someplace like that.

    Last week I had a craving for chicken strips, so I went through the Carl’s Jr drive-thru. I was disappointed that they switched from a chicken strip made from a real piece of chicken to some spongy Frankenchicken product. That was the only thing I liked there, so I guess that’ll be a Never Again.

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  25. @currage

    Or as I like to call them, “TGIMcChiliBees”.

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  26. I experienced the “empty restuarant – slow service” phenom Sunday. There were just four of us and when our food got to our table, my kids stuff was boiling hot and my stuff was cold. I gues they could only make one thing at a time, so whoever’s stuff got done first got cold waiting on the rest.

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  27. Recently, against better judgment due to several bad outing, I took my wife and kids to Applebee’s. I had gotten a $25 gift card from my job, so I figured it would cost less than cooking at home. I also have learned in the past not to tell them you have the gift card until you have finished the food. If you tell them ahead of time, they give the secret high sign to Miguel Torrez to spit or worse, in your food, since their sales will be lower. ANyway, Jm J. Bullock came to our table and took our order, smelling like the girls at Mons Venus and giggling like a little girl the entire time. I could smell the trace of pot on him and he was relying on his own memory with our order—not writing it down. We should have left right there. Jm J brought us soup, with salad dressing….we ordered salads. He left the swill soup on the table and brough us salads and my kids their drinks. He forgot our drinks. I too, follow the shrinking tip scale per mistake and the flaming douchebag was already down to three dollars. Then, he brought us the table next to ours food. They looked at their food, we looked at their food, we called Jm J back, but he ignored us, they looked at their food, we looked at their food, I asked the emo waitress in the next station to get the manager for us. She left and we never saw her again, or the manager. I came back and the table whose food we got, got our food. We traded with them, ate and I told my wife to take the kids to the car and I would speak with the manager. No fucking way. I bolted directly from the bathroom to the curbside pickup wdoor and never looked back. Applebee’s is my never again place. I sold my gift card to a co-worker.

    Did you know…..a cat has 32 muscles in each ear?

    IPOD right now- M1A1 by Gorillaz

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  28. I just got back from Johnny Carino’s with another occasional surf reporter, Erika, and while the food was as good as usual the service sucked. Normally we get a pretty energetic waiter named Justin who has a blond head resembling a porcupine… he’s good, maybe a little coked up, but speedy and friendly. Today we had a future contestant on the Rue Paul Drag Show or whatever that tomfoolery is called. Not only was he a little creepy, he was slow and as a result my unlimited salad that usually gets me going was just 1 small salad instead of 3 small salads. I’d like to say, “NEVER AGAIN,” but am afraid it’s just going to be, “Can we be seated in a section served by someone straight, white, and on uppers please?”

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  29. A few years back, I got food poisoning at a local brew pub. Multi-colored fluids coming out both ends. Nasty. I called the bar to report what I had eaten and suggested that the manager go check the expiration on the sausages. He questioned me repeatedly, suggesting that I had eaten something somewhere else that made me ill, that I had had too much to drink (2 beers is too much!?), or that I was trying to shake them down for free goods. Complete jackass.

    I hadn’t asked for anything other than that he check the expiration date. My boyfriend and I had eaten the exact same thing that day except for the fancy-pants pigs in a blanket, and he was fine. Hence, my ability to pinpoint the culprit. After I threatened to report them to the health dept., if he continued to blame me, the jackass finally admitted that they had been having problems with that particular dish (reassuring?) and that they were planning to take it off the menu.

    In the end he tried to bribe me with free food, but I declined and told him I had no intention of returning, even if the food were free! (Click) Never again, indeed.

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  30. DaveKY, you’re from Kentucky right?

    I just learned about that the other day.

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  31. LMFAO

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  32. Yep, hence the KY

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  33. Bwahahahaha. I’m going to look for some webcams.

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  34. We have at least one of every shithole chain know n to man here where i hail from. Luckily, we are close enough to a big city that we have decent, locally owned, real chef employing places too. And there are enough of those that as long as you don’t eat out every single night, you don’t get bored. Cheers!

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  35. i’ve had pleanty of never again moments…. a few of them are really bans from the place that’d embarass the angrywhiteguy…

    in no particular order:

    the cargo cafe…. trendy hipster place. went to sunday brunch and it took us 20 minutes to get mimosas and muffins and an extera 90 minutes to get the food. which was ok but would’ve been good if it was warm. we were a table of 4 and the place was empty. bill was like $35 and we paid 30.

    aesop’s tables… food was ok but took over an hour and a half to get served. they were busy but still….

    i’m not allowed at the deli by my job since it took them 15 minutes to give me acup of coffee (no.. they weren’ty brewing it it’s a dunken donuts) and i had to repeate my order 7 times. i left knocking over their candy display on the way out.

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  36. I once had service so bad at a Friday’s that I paid for the meal in cash (so they wouldn’t have my CC number) and left the waitress 1 cent as her tip. I scribbled a little note for her too, which basically indicated I’d have left 1/2 a cent if that were possible. Wotta biatch she was. That was like 10 years ago and I’ll never forget her.

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  37. You know Bennigan’s parent company went into bankruptcy months ago? Terrible.

    @Tammie – and what is the finest wine that Bennigan’s excellent wine list boasts?

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  38. @renn – When every I hear of Arby’s I think of a Simpsons episode where Automan drives the school bus off a cliff and all the kids are stranded on an island with no food. The twin girls say ‘I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s’. I wonder how the show got away with that.

    Sorry – not a food story but a friend of mine and her boyfriend were staying at a chain motel in a small town. She woke up with tons welts from bedbug bites and complained. The motel people apologized and offered her 25% off her next stay….My next what???

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  39. Oh, I remember another great experience after reading Angry’s. Four of us were in a Japanese/Sushi place. Me and another guy ordered chicken or beef of some sort. The girls ordered sushi. After a ridiculous amount of time…like 60 minutes or more…the hot dishes came out. We waited a couple minutes more for the sushi to come out. When it did not, the ladies, urged us to eat. We did. And we finished our meals and still no sushi. About 15 minutes later, it finally came. We were all more than mildly pissed by this point. The girls ate, and we attempted to get our check shortly thereafter. When 15 minutes and two additional requests for the check passed, I decided that the entire meal was going to be on the house. So I stood up and led my fellow diners out the front door. We walked off without a look a back, and nobody bothered coming after us. Asshats.

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  40. @Tammie- I’m from TJ (Tijuana). DO NOT CONFUSE THIS WITH TROJAN!!

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  41. The Evil Twin and I ate at Subway not long after they started the $5 foot long deal. Well, I guess that they had to change distributors for their meat products because my roast beef sub was nothing but gristle and it left my entire bun soaked with a light pink tint. Ack. The Evil Twin had the Club Sub, which he reported also was full of gristle. SO GROSS. We decided right then: NEVER AGAIN and it’s probably been a year or more – we’ve never been back!

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  42. I went to a restaurant once upon a time that is part of a 4 link local chain around these parts. The place is fairly high end, the food is consistently good, as is the service. I had high hopes. i ordered the Chopped Chicken Salad…a monster sized salad teeming with yummy BBQ chicken & cheese and …stuff. On this particular evening, the service was fast and efficient, and the salad looked great… so far so good. On roughly bite #10, I bit into something of the not-so-yummy variety. i spit the offending morsel into a napkin and inspected it closely. It was a cleanly, diagonally cut tree frog. I called the manager over and explained the situation, and produced for him the partially masticated beast. He declared that it could not possibly have come from the salad, and the lettuce is “triple washed at the factory, and also tree frogs don’t live on lettuce.”

    I and my companions walked out without paying. I believe my friend gave the manager the proverbial finger on the way out. NEVER AGAIN!!

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  43. My Bennigan’s moment was at, you guessed it, a Bennigans. A friend and I were in a hurry, had a coupon, AND liked the idea of the timer they set on your table to guarantee your lunch gets there quickly. Shoulda known those three things were actually were the trifecta of death. Slooooooooooow…raw meat……….cold…………..fries arrived with the check…………..drinks never refilled………..but free (they didn’t beat the clock). It was so bad the “free” wasn’t even worth it.

    All the Bennigan’s here have now been closed and reopened as Shenanigans. Not this chick.

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  44. Mmmm….gristle subs. My favorite.

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  45. Am I the only one here who thought of the movie Waiting and cringed when Toney sent her soup back?

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  46. Gee Ashton, I said the wine list was decent…not excellent.
    It’s been awhile since I was there but I had a glass of Merlot, (Blackstone I think).
    My friend had a glass of Chardonnay…not sure which one she chose but she was happy with it.
    I was pleased with my choice and though it was worth mentioning.

    And Bill…no worries about me getting THAT wrong. I have been educated…

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  47. Bennigans went tits up around here not long after it opened. No loss, I’m guessing.

    Wake Forest and adjacent areas are a mecca for chain eateries. I make an effort to not go to any of them. I’d rather cook ‘most any night than play roulette with the food-service grub.

    However, if you’re talking Steak and Shake, that’s an entirely different matter. Chili 5-ways…mmmm.

    (and now I’ll go all Jorge and mention that once long ago I was at a cafeteria-style place where I saw a bum puke into his own plate, then fall asleep on top of it.)

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  48. Don’t we have a Surf Reporter that actually works for Bennigans(Nazi)?

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  49. @tiff – whydja have to put that picture into our heads…. (I admit it did make me laugh having not been there)

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  50. DropOfKim – I’m with you. I fear the “special sauce” or “light dusting” I may get on the return product. Any complaint I make has to be a clear mistake (such as very undercooked chicken) where the chef can see that the food is unfit for human consumption. Otherwise, I eat around the problem, choke down cold food, and mutter something about “never again” to myself.

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  51. i have a great bennigans story. about 4 years ago we went to the circus. prior to going, we loaded the entire family, my ex, our son, her parents her brother and sister, my sister, two family friends, and grandma, oh and me, into a bennigans. it was, like your experience, a slow agternoon, and we figured we would get good service. instead it took a while for them to seat us (i assumed because we were such a large crowd). then we never had a waiter. instead i was forced to walk across the restaurant to the bartender to place our order. someone brought the food out and we never saw them again. refills were handled by the bartender on the other side of the restaurant. eventually we got our check from anonymous food delivery person, who scurried away immediately while i pulled out my wallet. at this point there were more servers walking around so i figured i would attract attention by sitting there with 300 bucks cash in my hand looking bored. i was wrong. i waited almost 20 minutes to pay, at which point grandma had to leave because she needed to get her meds in the car. i sent the fam out while i attempted to find someone to pay. i went to see my good friend, the bartender but he was missing. i stuck my head in the kitchen, it was a ghost town. i went to the hostess desk where there were customers waiting to be seated, no employees. someone asked me if i knew where everyone was. i said nope, good luck getting a seat, pocketed my money and walked out to rejoin my family. bennigans closed up last year around here, and im surprised it took that long for the axe to fall.

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  52. Am I correct in thinking that the full price was paid for the meal?

    This seems charitable to me.

    I would not have parted with my hard earned for the experience

    But then, I am working nightshift and am, yet again, not in the best of moods.

    Grrrr!

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  53. We have a chain here called Bonefish Grille. Expensive and snotty. For some reason it’s always packed, and you might as well be sitting at the table next to you because you’re closer to them than the folks that brung ya. The wait staff seem to believe that they are doing you a huge favor by dropping by to serve you. The food was originally excellent but no mas. Which is my response to any future suggestion of going there.
    Bennigans is gone here too, deservedly so.

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  54. Ooohhh….I do miss Steak & Shake. Haven’t had it for years, but I think I used to get the chili 3-way (sounds kinky). I liked their fries too.

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  55. I think Jeff mentioned something about this in his “Rules of Thumb” but in the city I live in you CANNOT get into a new place that opens. It doesn’t matter how shitty the food, or whatever, people flock to it because it’s new. So we wait for a few months before trying out “new” restaurants. There’s a Bone Fish grill here too and I was not impressed. There’s also a Laundry’s seafood place and I’ve given them 3 or 4 chances, but they suck ass.

    I drive up Hwy 53 towards Tennessee sometimes and I pass by this restaurant with a sign over the door that reads, “BEST FOOD YES” and I’m going to get you fools a picture next time I pass it. Maybe I’ll make a smoking fish sighting out of the deal.

    And this concludes the Jorge style posting. Back to your regular programming.

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  56. Sorry, Tammie, I was hoping I didn’t sound like as much as an ass as I thought, but I guess I did. Actually, our Bennigan’s (closed) had a good beer selection as well. Food always sucked though, and we have so much better here. I guess when you said good wine list, I though of all the good stuff we have available. If it’s like their beer, though, it’s probably OK.

    Sorry.

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  57. IMO, we are overdue for a mockable on people who post “FIRST” on a thread. I mean seriously, did you guys just get access to the internet last week?

    What a truly retarded tradition….

    carry on.

    -s

    /thanks I feel better now

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  58. I am sure that I have had some bad dining experiences, but none so bad that I could recite the details. I had a subpar double cheeseburger at the Wendy’s in San Jose, CA where that psycho lady faked the finger-in-the-chili episode. In any event, as several surf reporters have suggested, the best response to a truly horrible dining experience is chew & screw.

    Over here, American chain restaurants are top of the line. Even McDonald’s is considered a dining experience. There is a Chili’s in Tienmu that we frequent, and the food is always fantastic. The service is a bit slow (“we dropped your burger on the floor, so we are cooking a new one”), but attentive and friendly. And we are normally not in a rush, so a tardy delivery is just another excuse for one more marguarita.

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  59. 1st!!

    My local Ruth’s Chris is on my shit list, doubly so considering their prices.

    I used to be regular at the “Wendy’s in San Jose, CA where that psycho lady faked the finger-in-the-chili episode” – when that happened. It was awful quiet in there for a few weeks….

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  60. @ S I’ve wanted to comment ‘long time commentator first time listner’. It’s all just for laughs dude.

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  61. My single-worst meal of all time was at a place called the Texas Steakhouse. It really stands out, because EVERY SINGLE THING about the meal sucked!!! There was a guy that we knew from our old neighborhood who everyone really liked (the rarest of all things – a good neighbor) and he was moving, so about 8 or 9 of us neighbors thought we’d take him somewhere to eat. He chose the Texas Steakhouse. It’s one of those chain places that tries to make you feel all warm and nostalgic by bolting everything from metal street signs to farm tractors onto the wall, only in this instance it was wall-to-wall NASCAR memorabilia. I ordered a steak and baked potato. After what seemed to be forever, our orders arrived. First was my salad, which was warm lettuce – I mean lettuce ONLY – no tomatoes, no carrots, no fucking croutons, nothing – with what appeared to be (and tasted like) warm, runny mayonnaise dribbled over it. I pushed it aside after a few wretched bites. Then my steak and baked potato arrives. The steak was about the size of a compact disc, and it was all gristle, fat and bone. I swear I worked at for about 20 minutes and it yielded roughly a quarter-ounce of actual edible meat. My baked potato was about the size of an egg, and when I unwrapped it from the foil and tore open the leathery skin I was mildly dissapointed to find that it was a dark grey color, and as hard as a rock. I did a little exploratory work and did find a small lump of actual edible potato about the size of an M&M in the center. Just to add insult to injury, my Coke was completely watered down with a few slivers of ice, as if it had sat at a serving station for 20 minutes. I mean, it was so all-around bad that it was almost as if they were intentionally serving me the shittiest meal they could drum up – I was half expecting an emcee from “Punk’d” to pop out from behind a Dale Earnhardt standup and congratulate me for being such a good sport about it. To this day it remains my best story about the shittiest meal I ever had.

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  62. Malcolm,
    You can’t blame southwest for the bumpy ride. They can’t control that.

    never again,
    the subway near work. ass dangler had the nerve to cut my bread open with a mayo covered knife. and then was out of the bread i wanted. and then they only had 3 kinds of cheese.
    every knife was dirty with white goo, as was the counter. he thought he could just wipe it off. everytime i go in there i think the same thing, i hope this was the last time.

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  63. I woulda walked…no food, no check, no tip.
    I’d rather starve than put up with that bullshit.
    I’m normally a polite person, but when a restaurant fails to deliver, for some reason I lose it.

    A few years ago I went to a local Mexican place (which shall remain nameless), to grab some lunch. The place had been slipping but the food used to be LEGENDARY. Anyway, I order a taco and burrito to go. I return to my office, taco…okay, burrito…inedible beyond belief! Back in the car, back to the scene of the crime. I wanted to do an “Iraqi Shoe Number” with the burrito on the guy behind the counter, but I just slammed it down on the counter with a loud “I wouldn’t feed this to my DOG! Gimme my money back!” Ranted at the manager, told him the food here used to be GREAT! What the fuck happened?
    There’s too many great places dying for your business to have to put up with this kind of treatment anymore,

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  64. @ The Evil Twin
    The served you “The Honeymoon Salad”…lettuce alone.

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  65. We’re all happy for ya, Sven.

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  66. I am a salesman and live on the road from Southern West Virginia to Maine. Have about 100 shit restaurant stories.

    About 2 years ago, I stopped at a McDonalds in New Stanton, PA near the PA turnpike entrance to take a pee and grab a Coke. The restroom was the shittiest, smelliest place I had ever seen. Poop smeared on the wall, toilet paper all over the floor, urinals overflowing, stinks like a July latrine.

    So, I go to the counter (elbowing ahead of about 25 other people waiting to order) and ask this fat-ass woman behind the counter if she is the manager. It is obvious that she is, since she is the only employee back there above 20 years old. She spins around with this big smile “Yes, I am. Can I help you?”

    I lit into her about how filthy this place is, bitching and carrying on for several minutes. At one point I told her I wanted McDonalds to pay for my shoes because they were too disgusting to get back in my car after walking through the inch of shit water in her bathroom, and that I will have to throw them in the trash. I threatened to call the health department, you name it. I literally ranted for 3 or 4 solid minutes and accused her of being a filthy pig. She did not say one word, just stood there with her mouth hanging open. When I turned around to leave, there was not one patron left in the place.

    Another time, I was at an Applebee’s somewhere (don’t remember the town). Drank about 5 beers then ordered chicken wing appetizer. Watched the waitress walk out of the kitchen, get bumped by another employee, and dump the entire plate of wings on the floor. She picked them all back up, put them back on the plate, and delivered them to me with a smile, obviously not realizing that I saw the entire episode. I courteously asked to see the manager and explained what had happened to the guy. I could not believe the balls on this guy, he said he would only charge me for the beers. I told him I was leaving without paying and if he had a problem with that he could call the cops after I finished kicking his skinny ass.

    I could write way more of these, but who gives a shit.

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  67. @hardoxdan – lol – what the heck do you sell….

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  68. Cans of whoop ass? I;d love to go for lunch with you & AWG. Ya gotta try to be nice to people though.

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  69. You’re right, Leanne…Hardoxdan definitely sounds like a canned whoop ass salesperson!

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  70. My worst restaurant experience was at a TGI Friday’s in Rochester, NY. I went in there for dinner and the place was dead. I was seated and then ignored. Luckily I had a newspaper with me, so I read for 30 minutes. After that I took one of those little plastic stands with the drink special cards in it and tapped it a few times on the brass rail by my table.

    When the server showed up I invited him to sit down. Then I told him that since he kept me waiting for a half an hour that I would keep him waiting for half an hour. I gave him the sections of the paper that I was done with and we sat together and read for a while.

    He tried to get me to order a couple of times and I just told him that it hadn’t been 30 minutes yet. Some of his friends walked by and laughed at him. The manager may or may not have come by. We waited 30 minutes and when we were done I placed my order.

    My suspicion is that my food got spit on, but I was ammused and what are you gonna do? I still left him a 20% or so tip.

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  71. I’m a fat, fat man, but, believe it or not, I’ve never been to a Bennigan’s. The worst food experience I had was at a hole-in-the-wall place in NY Chinatown. The food was ice-cold (not room-temp, but literally ice-cold). We sent it back, and it came back room temp. We paid, rather than dine and dash, but left no tip (not necessarily the waiter’s fault, but I had to make some kind of stand). The waiter literally ran down the street at us, yelling “You no leave tip! You no leave tip!”

    Joe

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  72. There was a McDonalds near where I used to live.

    I got a cheeseburger with a bite already taken out of it.

    I got a quarter pounder that bled down my chin when I bit into it.

    I was told after pulling up to the window that the debit machine was down, I had to pay cash. I had no cash and told them they should have informed me of that before taking my order. I refused to leave until I got my food. They did not believe me. After 10 min they gave up.

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  73. The Bennigan’s in Charleston serves only two products: Beer and food that is so good it tastes like a bucket of hot buttery fucking.

    So come there, and tip me great amounts…

    I could probably do a blog for years of the stories I have seen, but would likely get fired for it and then I would have to change my internet handle. No thanks.

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  74. Another one I had buried in my mind. There was a Cici’s pizza here. Yeah, I know it sucks, but I had been recently fired by the man, after putting in quality work for him and I was all about all you can eat dinner for $3.99. This was before they gouged the price to $4.99. Anyway, we had a window seat and noticed some ants by the window running around in the sill. Our boof was directly pressed against the sill. We thought nothing of it and began to eat. My son said, II don’t think these are supposed to be on the pizza.” I looked and about thirty ants had crawled onto his plate within thirty seconds. I called over Juan Fernandez, who was cleaning tables and tried to tell him about it. For some reason, he didn’t understand a fucking word I said, so I took the plate to the counter where all the varieties to load up were located and threw it down on the top, causing the busy ants to fall off onto the other varieties and said “I gotta problem over here.” loud enough for everyone to hear. The manager told me I would have to settle down or leave. I told the manager I would leave when I damn well felt like it and I wanted compensation for this. He gave me my money back and SIXTY cards for a free buffet there. I looked back to the pizza makers line and saw the crew there flicking off the stray ants that had fallen onto the fresh pizza and then dozens of people shaped like eggs loading up their plates with them. We left. About a half block away there is a park where homeless Mudfoot Browns (see Fat Albert for reference) hung out and played checkers all day. I distributed the free passes to about ten of them and we went back to the parking lot at Cici’s to watch the show. They handed out some to other friends and a parade of dirty bums began to head through the door. They had to lock the doors after a while. They locked them permanently a few months later due to lack of business and paying customers.

    Did you know….that peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite?

    IPOD right now- Stigmata by Ministry

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  75. Hope this works

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  76. Ok, try again-

    http://www.cartoonscrapbook.com/03pics/fatalbert56.jpg

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  77. And this one is for you dieters-

    http://www.jednet.nl/2006birthday/2006morgan_birthday0005.jpeg

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  78. @Sven – I second that.
    The FIRST posters have already been mocked
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciG-Xs7mBwU
    (one of my favorites)

    .. but with the plethora of creative writing/animation over at mockable.org I am sure they can top it.

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  79. Sven,
    Sometimes the retarded traditions are the most fun! And I agree with Citizen X…mockable.org could have a lot of fun with that topic!

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  80. I have a metric shitload of bad dining experiences to share. I will try to limit it.
    Wendy’s – a wall being devoured by ants/termites next to my seat
    McD’s – plastic spork piece in my mcmuffin
    Bakers Square or DQ (cant remember) – glass in my ice cream
    Don Pablos – waited forever, food spilled on floor, mop handle falls on me (while pregnant), and thats just 10% of that story
    Tumbleweeds – i was given the wrong food – late, and told it was my fault for seating myself after the hostess said go ahead and seat yourself… then the manager told me it was my fault too
    Bennigans – crap service and both I have been to, even the 15 minutes or free didnt work, i got free meals… but I was always late returnning to work. Yes its closed.
    Chinese – cant remember its name… they stored the fried wonton/chips that go on each table on top of a trashcan… and put the ones left in one bowl, into another bowl… gag… so I reported them to the health department
    Subway – bitches that dont care, and they were pissed at me that they ran out of Dr. Pepper
    Outback – left the kids to starve after we waited over an hour to be seated, (i.e. didnt bring them anything), brought the wrong food, was rude about it, and their management was rude about it
    Ruby Tuesday – i know their service is always bad, but the food is decent and we were desparate… 80 things went wrong including the totally disinterested workers and manager – i told them i wouldnt come back unless there was an apocolypse and no other way to feed my kids

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  81. C’mon @Bennigan’s Nazi – adopt a pseudo internet name for your undercover stories and let us in. How could you start off with “food that is so good it tastes like a bucket of hot buttery fucking” and just leave us with that? no fair!

    and @CBS – I think it’s kinda sweet? that you won’t give up on McDonald’s even after the missing bite from your burger and the bleeding burger (gag). Do you live in a small town without a lot of options?

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  82. oh… another good one…

    i went out for beers with a girl like 6 years ago… ordered a couple pints of bass and they took a dirty glass from off the bar… and started filling it. i took it, and threw it at the bottles behind the bartender. walked out.

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  83. For you folks that believe that the ‘chef-owned and operated’ restaurants are giving you some elevated dining experience compared to the chain joints selling food off of the Sysco truck: Read Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential”. Just check it out from your local library and flip through it for awhile. Its an eye-opener if you are unfamiliar with the culture surrounding folks that work in this sector of the hospitality industry. You may never eat out again.

    Another thing: I am always surprised at how often the management folks at restaurants do not seem to fully grasp the importance of the wait and host staff in the front end of their operation. The wait and host staff are the face and personality of the entire restaurant! If you get a bad experience in any way shape or form from them, then the quality of the food is virtually irrelevant. I understand that it is a monumental task to find and retain ‘good help’ (i.e. individuals that give a damn about their appearance, demeanor, and are also knowledgeable about the food they are serving), but its pretty darned important, whether its at the neighborhood Applebees or at Chez Panisse.

    Here’s my personal ‘beef’ with restaurants in general (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun): When did it become OK to serve hamburger meat at a temperature less than well-done. When you order a burger from a sit-down restaurant, they ask how you want it cooked. You can tell them extremely rare and they’ll serve it to you that way. People actually die as a result of infections from E coli 0157:H7 (the variety that now lives in a cow’s gut because they are fed grain instead of the grass that they have evolved to eat; they’re ruminants after all). Why not follow the USDA cooking guidelines and serve only well-done burgers?
    Oh well, we’ll probably all die from mad cow disease anyway, food poisoning is probably a quicker way to go.

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  84. That reminds me….I went to the Subway in West Sacramento and ordered a sandwich with extra Avocado. Whilst preparing my sandwich, the guy slices the avocado in his palm, and cuts himself. He drops the Avocado into the Avocado holding pen, and starts shaking his hand in an “ay chihuahua” sort of way, causing blood droplets to spray all over the sandwich board and sandwich, and quite possibly the rest of the ingredients. He rinsed his hand off, wiped the blood off the board with a filthy rag, and then PINCHED a blood droplet off of my sandwich bread and threw it on the floor. i started complaining, and the manager came over and said i needed to calm down as i was upsetting the other patrons in line!! I said they should be upset unless they WANT blood in their food. I was asked to leave.

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  85. Never, but never, eat at Legoland. I am experiencing PTSD just thinking about my “Stew in a bread bowl”. Full body shiver.

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  86. Lee Harvey – sounds like you’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma (or something similar). I haven’t looked at a double bacon cheeseburger the same way since reading that book. According to the blood bank, I already have mad cow disease (or CJD, if you will) because I lived in Europe too long. They won’t take my blood and have lumped me into the “ineligible to donate” group, which includes the likes of those with hepatitis, STDs, intravenous drug addictions, or dubious sexual practices. Raises some eyebrows at company blood drives.

    What really got me going was that after the rejection, the blood bank would call me every 2 months to try to schedule a donation. Each time, I would ask if they had changed their policies and since the answer was no, I requested that they not call me until they did. After a year of this nonsense, I finally lost my shit and yelled that they needed to stop harassing me. Haven’t heard from them since.

    If being an annoying bitch is a symptom of the disease, then I probably have it.

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  87. I gave up Bennigans sveral years ago when I had the fish sandwich it was still frozen in the middle.

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  88. Too many stories to tell about restaurants and some just so happen to be about the “doneness” of my beef-In my opinion rare/medium rare is the only way to eat beef. When I order it that way, thats what I expect to get. I don’t want some brown. shoeleather, tasteless piece of questionable meat. Especially if I’m paying $30.00 for it.
    I’ve been eating it that way my whole life and have yet to contract E-Coli.

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  89. @ Brynhildr – I have eaten so much pork that I must have swine flu then….

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  90. That which does not kill me will only make me stronger.

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  91. One evening when I was headed home, I wanted to stop at the local KFC and get an order to go. When I pulled up to the sqwalk box and shouted my order, I was promptly told “Oh, we’ve ran out of chicken!” WTF, this was KFC, Kentucky Fuckin Chicken, the last name says everything you sell and you are out of it. Next thing you will tell me is that McDonalds is out of hamburgers. I called their corporate office and complained and the bastards told me, “well thats a franchise store and we don’t have anything we can do about it”. WTF, again are these people ludacris or something. Then this Oprah show coupon fiascle just brought the night I visited back to my memory again. There they go again telling people they don’t have any chicken.

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  92. Jeff-What happened to yesterday’s Further Evidence? I wasn’t quite finished with it yet. Need to see it just one more time, please.

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  93. I completely agree that a steak is only palatable at the rarer temperatures. Its fine to have beef cuts other than hamburger meat at whatever temp you like; but its a roll of the dice to eat ground beef that hasn’t been cooked enough. There is invariably fecal matter in ground beef. They make it by combining and grinding together the stuff they pick up off the slaughterhouse floor (meat, fat, etc). To learn more, read “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. Don’t watch the movie they made with that title, however. It was just weird.

    Brynhildr: I am sorry to hear about your CJD-positive result, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will someday develop full-blown disease. You should have thought twice before you shared needles with those European cows (sorry, I couldn’t resist a joke). I also agree that the Omnivore’s Dilemna is a really informative read. Nobody seems to be able to write about food and our relationship with food better than Michael Pollan.

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  94. @Lee Harvey Ramone. Although it a roll of the dice, I’m a gambling kinda gal. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Wisconsin if you go to a Christmas Party or New Years Party, you are sure to have Raw Beef as one of the many foods offered on the spread. Rye bread, raw ground sirloin, and raw onions. Sprinke with Salt and Pepper and it’s purely orgasmic.
    I’m ordering a rare cheeseburger for lunch!

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  95. @ Lee Harvey Ramone – and that is why when I go to the butcher, I select my choice of sirloin, top round or chuck and have them grind it for me. It depends on what I’m cooking. I usually select a combination of veal, pork and beef to be ground up for meatloaf or when I make my meatballs for spaghetti. I don’t trust anything packaged and called hamburger.

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  96. Lee Harvey – tried to watch “Fast Food Nation” a few days ago and ended up deleting it from the DVR after about 25 minutes. I recommend “King Corn” and “The Future of Food” if you haven’t seen them yet.

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  97. @ tadpolegal – alright!!! sushi grade beef…

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  98. [Reply]

  99. The Germans love their Mettwurst, which is uncooked (but cured) pork sausage. My mother is probably eating some as we speak. She’s got an iron gut and can eat almost anything without repercussion, which is a gift she received growing up in post-WWII Germany.

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  100. 100th!

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  101. I, too, love the Mettwurst. My mom’s a German war-bride, and she turned me on to the joys of the Deutsche meat products. I loves me some Bluttwurst, too. The mettwurst here (usually sold under the name ‘teewurst’) isn’t nearly as good as what I’ve had over there, however. It may have to do with what types of meat processing are allowable (and not allowed) under USDA laws. Speaking of the USDA, I think that I am on some sort of meat-smuggling watch-list. It all started when I tried to smuggle in to the country some smoked Hungarian sausages in my luggage a few years back. They apparently entered my personal information into a database of some kind. Now, every time a re-enter the U.S. from a trip abroad, I have to submit to a detailed search of my baggage. Its always a USDA search; not customs. At least it didn’t get in the way of my obtaining a federal-contracting job this year: My background check came back OK.

    I suppose that I don’t have the healthiest tastes in food, but reckon I’d rather die happy with some exotic cured meat on my breath than face-first in a Bennigan’s salad. Do you like how I strung this rant together with Jeff’s original topic?

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  102. To me, Teewurst and Mettwurst are very different things. I never eat either unless they are the original German product, not some bastardized American-made brand. I have standards for what I put in my mouth, dammit! Blutwurst? NEVER.

    My mother smuggles BiFi sausage into the US. It’s a dried salami-like sausage, and she claims she hasn’t found anything as good or with the right flavor in the US. If she gets caught at the airport, the plan is to claim I don’t know her.

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  103. Tadpole gal – I didn’t know anyone else did that!? We ate those raw burger things when I was a kid in Cleveland. Old German tradition I’m told. But if I ever bring up ‘cannibal sandwiches’ I’m shunned. :(

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  104. I am in Virginia and apparently they are closed everywhere here now, no idea why.

    But I read the article here and all I can say is I have never experienced anything like what this article says at my local place(s).

    Food had always been fast and great and the staff was always quick.

    Have a feeling the place you are describing in your town has a severe management problem.

    [Reply]

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Thanks for stopping by! My name is Jeff Kay, I was born while JFK was president, and it's all very embarrassing and corny. Today I'm a suburban husband and father, who is sometimes accused of being a bit tightly-wound. The West Virginia Surf Report! is my creative outlet, and insurance policy against completely losing my shit. I hope you'll stick around and participate in the lively community of geniuses and curmudgeons who hang out here every day. I love a full 87% of them! And while you're at it, please follow me at Twitter and Facebook.

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