Sunday, May 1, 2011

the Bad Waitress

Visited on Saturday, April 23 with Rebekah, Rett and Adelaide

the Bad Waitress

Erin's Review
When Rebekah told me that Annie was playing at the Children's Theater, I knew we had to make a family trip to see it! For some reason I thought the theater was in downtown St. Paul near the Children's Museum, so when we went to make firm plans of where to get brunch, I found I was mistaken. There aren't a whole lot of brunch places really near the Children's Theater and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, so the Bad Waitress was pretty much the obvious choice. The show was at 11, so we figured we were giving ourselves plenty of time with a 9:30 reservation.

the Bad Waitress

We all arrived promptly at 9:30 and were taken back to a large, oddly shaped booth in the back. We mulled over the menus and then wrote our orders on a pad, and sent Rett and Ben over to do the business. Finally, after what seemed like a ridiculously long wait, we got our coffee. Most other places get it to you pretty much the second you sit down, which I much prefer. It took even longer to get our food, as Ben notes below, which since we had a show to get to, and two toddlers with us, was VERY annoying. The service concept at Bad Waitress certainly works fine at other places, like Birchwood Cafe and Be'wiched, but on this trip, I felt like they were deliberately making us wait longer than every other table there for some reason. With no set server, no one has any level of accountability either. No one apologized or even seemed to notice that we were waiting. Overall, the service was pretty horrible.

Annie and Adelaide at the Bad Waitress

Annie eventually got frustrated with the wait

The food finally came - I had ordered eggs benedict, which came with asparagus. It was actually very good, but I had to seriously wolf it down so we could leave in time to make the show, and also help Annie eat. The eggs were done a little more than I prefer, but still had a bit of runniness to them.

Eggs Benedict

The pancakes that Adelaide and Annie both got were ridiculous - larger than most adult pancakes and just seemed to be wasteful. I know they are on the younger end of the spectrum for kids meals, but even a grown adult doesn't need a pancake that large. They came with a few berries in the shape of a face and bear ears, which was definitely cute. Annie ate maybe 1/4 of the pancake there and all the berries, and I brought about 1/4 more along for a 2nd act snack during the play which was definitely needed. I also noticed the pancakes sitting at the window for at least 5 minutes, and they only got brought out when Rebekah finally asked about it. Very, very annoying. Every restaurant should know that you can bring out a children's meal as soon as it's ready.

Johnny bear cake

I actually really liked the food at Bad Waitress, and the service at other tables around us seemed to be much faster, so I'd still recommend it and just hope the service is better for you.

Ben's Review
Erin was unable to pass up the chance to go see the play “Annie” at the Children’s Theatre, so we arranged to go see it with Rett, Rebekah, and Adelaide, with plans to have brunch nearby at the Bad Waitress beforehand.

I had heard little about the Bad Waitress other than they don’t really wait on you. I like the ordering concept a lot; you fill out a short order ticket at your table from the menu, then walk it to the register where you place your order and pay. A food runner then brings your food out when it’s ready. I like that you can order at your own leisure, or as soon as you walk in the door if you know what you want.

The menu was varied with nearly every breakfast option you would want for brunch. We sorted out what we would have and got something for the little ones and headed up to order. I like that they have the option to order a carafe of coffee as opposed to individual cups, and carafe refills are only a buck.

I ended up with the breakfast burrito which is made to order with your choice of three ingredients in addition to a couple scrambled eggs. I got chorizo sausage, bacon, and cheddar cheese, but I turned out to be a horrible “short orderer”, as the cashier had to fix several of my entries on the slip. She seemed annoyed with my ignorance, but also appeared as though it was totally expected from a noob such as myself.

Breakfast burrito
We were so rushed I nearly forgot to take a photo

Rett and I ordered, paid, and went back to the table to wait for our food. We waited. And waited some more. Other tables that arrived after us got their food, ate, and left. We still didn’t get our food. We started to worry that we’d miss the start of the play if we didn’t get our food soon. Rebekah went to check on the status. We waited a little longer and it finally arrived, about fifty minutes after ordering. Luckily the girls were good natured the whole time. Annie and Adelaide did great too.

Annie at the Bad Waitress
Annie was quite patient up to a point

Waiting for the food at the Bad Waitress

While scarfing down my burrito I managed to take a second to taste what I was eating, and it tasted great. The burrito was pleasantly full of eggs, meat, and cheese, and it wasn’t all liquidy like my scrambled egg burritos are when I make them at home. The burrito came with a side of American fries which were good and tasted as if they had actually been made fresh.

Annie and Adelaide both had the largest single pancake I’ve ever seen, in the shape of Mickey Mouse, of course. It came with some berries which Annie made sure to enjoy before moving on to the actual pancake.

Adelaide and her Johnny Bear cake
For size comparison

Luckily since you pay when you order we could simply eat and run, and we made the play with plenty of time. One thing I find a little odd about the Bad Waitress is that there are reminders to tip your server. What is the etiquette in this situation? I tipped the same amount I would normally, but I felt like I shouldn’t have to. The level of service you get is, by design, less than traditional restaurants. Being that I won’t be here that often I didn’t mind this one time, but if I were to make regular visits, I think I would feel justified in reducing the tip percentage, what do you think?

the Bad Waitress

Service: The service was fine, the food took much longer than expected.
Food: The food was very good, so maybe the time it took was worth it :)
Drinks: I didn’t see any alcohol on the menu, so I think it’s limited to NA drinks. The coffee was good and they serve real half and half.
Ambiance: Typical busy brunch crowd, there was a good din to the place. It was difficult to have a conversation across our large table, so the sound carries quite a bit.
Convenience: Parking was OK on a Sunday morning, but this isn’t the easiest place to park, at 26th & Nicollet.

2 East 26th Street (at Nicollet)