Yesterday, in honor of our first entire weekend off together in months (and having a gift card from Christmas), the hubby and I attempted to go out to lunch at a local Applebee’s. Lately, millennials have been accused of “killing” old school casual dining chains like Applebee’s, but I’ve always enjoyed going there…until now. Also, I don’t really consider myself a millennial anyway. I was born in ’84 and I’m old enough to remember rotary phones, Atari, VCRs (still own one), riding a bike with no helmet, sitting up front in the woodgrain station wagon when I was 6, and just generally being a kid without my parents wrapping me in bubble wrap until my 18th birthday. So I can’t relate to the generation that’s typically referred to as “millennials.” But anyway, I digress.
Our Applebee’s experience started out well enough. The hostess was friendly and we were seated promptly. The server was nice enough and took our orders within a few minutes after that. I didn’t even suspect it was about to go majorly downhill. Maybe it was a bad omen that we were seated next to a framed photo of a Carolina Tar Heels team from the 1920’s. My husband is a diehard NC State Wolfpack fan (Carolina is the enemy, for anyone who’s unfamiliar with NC college sports), and I hadn’t yet adopted a NC team yet when we met, so I started pulling for State too. To be fair, he also began supporting my Cleveland Cavs as a result of our union, so all is fair in love and sports.
About 20 minutes later, our drinks finally arrived. Twenty fucking minutes for a water, a strawberry lemonade, and a peach sangria. The server was completely disconnected at that point, just setting things on the table without saying a word or acknowledging the wait, and the restaurant wasn’t very busy. We had also ordered chips and salsa as an appetizer, and those still weren’t out. Really? How hard is it to put some chips and salsa in bowls?
Another 15 minutes or so later, hubby and I were still sipping our drinks with no food, not even those damn chips and salsa it would take about 5 minutes to make. We were getting really irritated at this point and talking about leaving, but we already had drinks so I didn’t want to be accused of stealing. Our server hadn’t acknowledged us in a long while and there was no sign of any of our food. After giving it a few more minutes, we decided to ask for the manager. He was apologetic and tried to get us to stay but we just weren’t feeling it; it was too late. We said we would pay for the drinks but he comped them, which was the one highlight of the trip.
We left hungry and irritated, and didn’t really have a plan B until we thought of the trusty old Carolina Ale House. It’s our spot; we went on our first date there about 3 years ago, and we always know we can count on them for great food, good prices, and quick service. We didn’t have a gift card for the Ale House, but it’s affordable without one.
My takeaway from this experience (besides half of a delicious turkey and bacon wrap from the Ale House that was a great snack) is that millennials aren’t killing Applebee’s; it’s probably just the terrible service. We still have that gift card and will try another location, hopefully with better results.
Thank goodness for our trusty old Ale House, the spot where we sat together for the first time 3 years ago, drinking beer and watching basketball, and having no idea we’d be married someday. Thanks Ale House!