I'm not naming any names, but the restaurant we tried to eat at in Podunk, SD was so bad that I had to blog about it. Keep in mind, we were traveling with some friends of ours, and between the two families we have nine children between the ages of four and nine.
We spent the day driving across South Dakota (with nine kids) and finally stopped for the night around 9 pm to get a hotel room and eat dinner. After walking nearly a mile with nine small, hungry children we finally entered a restaurant that was dead enough to be able to seat 13 people. (The hotel clerk lied, he said all the restaurants were within a few blocks-methinks he needs to get his odometer checked.) So we sat and mulled over the menu as we waited for the waitress to bring glasses of water, giving the occasional "Sit down!" order to our restless children.
The waitress walked up with our tray of waters as we were discussing the availability of tap beer. "Oh, sorry," she told us. "Neither of us waitresses are 21 so we can't serve you any alcoholic beverages."...What?! You mean we just spent the day in a car with these little maniacs and we can't even get a beer to take the edge off? Bad news...Ok, we're adults, we can handle this.
So we start asking the kids whether they want chicken strips or pizza kid meals and..."Sorry, we are clean out of chicken strips, and the oven has been shut down for the night, so no pizza."
It occurred to us then that the place was void of all but three or four customers and that the other waitress had been getting ready to vaccuum when we walked in. So we asked, "Are you closing right now?" Seemed like a valid question to us. But no.
"Oh, no, we are open for another hour. We already shut down the steam table and everything though, so there's no mashed potatoes with gravy and no salad."
"Okay....what do you have?"
"Well, you can have burgers and fries."
Okey dokey. No beer, no chicken strips, pizza, mashed potatoes, or salad. You're kidding me, right? What are we supposed to feed these hungry children if not chicken strips or pizza? Needless to say all four of us adults stood up in unison. "Come on, kids, we are going somewhere else."
So we dragged along our now moaning passel of children and proceeded to walk a few more blocks back through town, eyeing the approaching rain clouds with dismay. We finally hit the jackpot at the local bar, where we were seated on the patio for lack of available indoor seating. The kids were able to run around while they waited for their food, and we drank tap beer while we waited. We ate salad and mashed potatoes with gravy and homemade pot roast, and every last one of the kids had chicken strips. So there, One-Star Restaurant.
You may be wondering why I even gave the first restaurant one star, but I must say that though the lack of food and drink sucked, at least the people were nice. Even after she had gone to the trouble of serving up 13 glasses of water, the waitress still gave us the low-down before we left, telling us where the other restaurants were and which ones had the best meal selections for kids. Then, later, after we finally ate dinner and were walking back to the hotel, one of the older ladies from the first restaurant drove by and stopped to talk to us. She recognized us, (what? nine children trailing down the street at 10pm is not a normal sight?) and wanted to make sure that we had found someplace to eat. So-the One Star Restaurant receives one star for friendliness, but no stars for food-since they didn't have any.