For about seven years, or so (half of my daughter's life), we ate almost weekly at Red Robin, a nationwide gourmet burger chain. The restaurant in Columbia, MD, was where we met Melody's grandparents, as well as family and friends, just about every Thursday evening. We got to know the staff pretty well, and they became a part of our family, sharing stories from their lives as much as we shared with each other about ours. It was a fun gathering, and it helped Melody and me as we dealt with the loss of my wife and Melody's mom, Teresa.
The food was good, if pretty basic, and there was enough variety to appeal to everyone who gathered with us week to week, though I know some of the family got tired of going to the same place all the time. But it was more about the time spent together than the food.
As folks moved away, and Melody got older, we stopped going weekly, then monthly, and then we stopped altogether. We lost touch with many of the staff, too. Other restaurants became popular with us, and we gathered for other reasons, mostly to celebrate special occasions. Red Robin was still in the mix, but we really didn't go more than maybe once every six months, or so.
Melody told me this afternoon that she was craving Red Robin, so we had an opportunity to meet my parents at the Annapolis store. Many of our old favorites are still on the menu, and I got the Souper Sandwich combo: a cup of chili and a barbecue chicken wrap. I used to get this dish often. I was kind of astonished at what I received this time, however.
The chili was served, not in a cup, as in the past, but in a small, square, shallow dish. The amount of chili was barely half as much as what I used to get. The wrap was even worse. The tortilla was wrapped so tight as to be almost an inch less in circumference than what I was used to. All in all, it was significantly less food than what I received in the past. And it was a lot more money, too.
Now, one could argue that I really shouldn't be eating so much food anyway, and that perhaps the restaurant was doing me a favor, but it was so ridiculous. I was so disappointed.
There were other things, too, like the fact that sweetener for our iced teas was not on the table and had to be requested, and even something as simple as extra napkins had be asked for.
I wish that all of these things were all I had to complain about. I wish I didn't have to complain about anything. But our server tonight just wasn't on the ball. He forgot about us several times. I also don't understand why his demeanor changed so much when he forgot to bring a requested item, Splenda, and when we reminded him to bring it, he stopped being friendly.
Oh, well, I guess you can't go home again. There's still much to like about Red Robin, and the food was good, overall. We won't be rushing back, but it was nice to have that familiar taste again.
Have a great evening, everyone.