Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

24 June 2007

Bravo Bennigan's!

It is just a fact of life that chain restaurants are never going to have that level of service you associate with a local place. The staff is simply not all that invested in the establishment, but while returning from Pittsburgh the Bennigan's off of I-81 in Wilkes-Barre revealed a new low.

Now I believe, with all sincerity, that you need to treat wait staff right. My wife has even more strict rules than I do because she worked as at Friendly's when we were in college. With all that in mind, a big pet peeve of mine is when you ask "What kind of beer do you have?" or "What's on draft?" of your waiter and receive "Everything!" as a reply. Even the famed Bukowski's in Boston does not have everything! With proportionality in mind, I have started to reply with some extremely rare beer, say Thomas Hardy Ale or Otter Creek Hickory Switch Smoked Amber Ale. Honestly, "everything" normally translates into three kinds each of Miller and Bud, which leaves me ordering iced tea. The scene is now set for...Bennigan's.

We had just finished the drive from Pittsburgh to Wilkes-Barre and stopped in for a rather late lunch. Since my big drive was over, I decided to opt for a beer with lunch. This was, with all seriousness, the dialog which resulted...

Me: "What do you have on draft."
Waitress: "We have, like, twenty kinds of beer on draft. What do you want?"
Me: "Um."
(I paused with the hope that she might have a list.)
"How about any wheat beers?"
Waitress: "We have Sunset Wheat and Yuengling."
(Sunset Wheat stinks and Yeungling is not a wheat beer)
Me: "How about anything German?"
Waitress: "Yeah. Uh. We have, like, Killians and Guinness."
(Wow. Keep in mind here that "Bennigan's" is a faux-Irish chain. IRISH! For God's sake the name of the first beer is Killian's IRISH Red.)
Me: "I guess I will have the Sunset Wheat."

What followed was, without debate, the third worst dining experience ever. Poor woman, I hope there is a better life ahead for her than being a miserable, grouchy waitress. In any case, steer clear of Bennigan's in Wilkes-Barre.

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At 26 June, 2007 13:19 , Blogger Alto2 said...

First of all, did you wave to my old house when you drove by on I-80? Second, you're a nit. I could have given you the name of a terrific little sushi restaurant in downtown WB that would have been way better than Bennigan's best day. And finally, we're talking NE Pennsylvanians: they know Yuengling and that's all.


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