When you’re here, you’re family?

I decided to try the new Olive Garden they put in next to the Outback Steakhouse. I headed out for an early dinner, just me and my enormous book. When I got there, around 3:30 PM, it was already packed and I was told the wait was 30-45 minutes. “No problem,” I said. I sat down at the bar and cracked open the book and before I knew it, 30 minutes had gone by and I was being seated at a table. Things went downhill from there:

  • At 4:02, the waiter took my order, which consisted exactly of the bruchetta appetizer, chicken parmesan with salad and bread sticks, and a 22 oz. Bud Light on tap. He then disappeared for more than 20 minutes before I saw him again. When I finally did see him again, he brought bread sticks and promised that the beer was on it’s way.
  • Two minutes later, as if on queue, another waiter arrived with the beer–in a bottle. The other waiter disappeared so quickly that I had to wait several more minutes for my waiter to show up again to get this corrected.
  • Several minutes later, my appetizer and main course showed up at the same time. I hate when this happens, and usually I have them hold the main course, but everyone seemed so overwhelmed that I just accepted what they brought. I reminded the waiter that he still owed me a beer and a salad. Eventually, those arrived as well.
  • When the check finally came, I noticed I was charged for both the bottle of beer and the draft beer. It took another 15 minutes for that to be corrected.

Normally, I leave at least a 20% tip, but this time, on a $23 check I left exactly $3. I was just looking to get out and have a nice dinner and I spent the entire meal wondering what would go wrong next. (I was not the only one either. The people at the table next to me seemed to be having even more trouble than I was.)

But I gave it a shot. I now know to avoid the local Olive Garden. I probably could have figured that out without actually buying a meal.

Strangely enough, I managed to get a terrible stomach ache halfway through the meal. This happened to me yesterday as well, when I went to TGI Friday’s for lunch. It is the first time that I can remember being attacked by a stomach ache at two consecutive restaurant visits and I must say that it was equally annoying each time it happened.