Spring Street Grill & Catering - Food Review
Monday, June 6th, 2013
By Frank Elder of NowThatsCookin.Com
Located: 101 Spring Street, Springdale, AR 72764
Need directions? CLICK HERE
Type of dining experience: Casual / Family Dining
Their web site: http://springstreetgrill.com/
Monday 7am - 2:30pm
Tuesday 7am - 2:30pm
Wednesday 7am - 2:30pm
Thursday 7am - 2:30pm
Friday 7am - 2:30pm
Saturday 7am - 2:30pm
I found myself in Springdale, Arkansas today and decided to ask my Facebook friends for a suggestion of a restaurant to stop by and try. After a few minutes and several suggestions I decided to go to Spring Street Grill & Catering.
Upon entering the establishment I noticed there was only one other table seated at the time, and asked to be seated at one of the tables next to the front window. The waitress had wanted to seat me in the back section of the front area of the restaurant, and seemed to be a little irritated that I asked to be seated in the front. After getting seated I decided to check out their restrooms, and on my way back to the rear of the restaurant I saw something that worried me a bit, which was a huge roll around dispenser of institutional sized cans (sauces, veggies etc...). Now I knew by the name of the establishment that they also do catering, so I was hoping that these were for their catered events and not for the actual restaurant itself.
Then I went into the bathroom and was a bit shocked at the lack of cleaning. This is their public restroom for their customers as well as the restroom for their staff. And when I see something like this, it tells me two things. First, the staff really do not put any importance on a regular cleaning of their facilities. And second, that management doesn't put any importance on it either and doesn't hold their staff accountable. Whether they want to admit it or not, this is an example of the level of pride that they take on their facility. This just sets a very bad example overall for the restaurant.
Once I got back to the table, I told the waitress this was my first time there and asked for a suggestion. She highly recommended the Reuben sandwich. When she came back I told her I would go ahead and get the special of the day. I asked her about the onion rings and if they were made fresh or already battered and frozen. She said they were not fresh. So I asked about the Breaded Mushrooms and she said those were done there, but they were out.
Then I asked her about the soup of the day which ended up being broccoli and cheese, but was informed that it was not made from scratch. Asking another waitress that was passing by, I did find out that the meatloaf was made from scratch. And then I asked about the Toasted Ravioli appetizer, and was told it was not made from scratch.
Within 10 minutes of receiving my plate of food she had returned with my check. To me, it felt as if I was being rushed out and that it was "time to go". My interactions with this waitress thus far were not impressive, no smile, no real sense of customer appreciation, it really just felt as if I was a bit of "trouble" for her.
Now on to the meal!
I love some good homemade meatloaf, and this meatloaf was great! Very moist and well seasoned. But then came the sides. The carrots were undercooked and in fact a few of them were luke warm, with a good amount of crunch left in them. And as if they couldn't get any worse, they were not seasoned at all. To be honest, I doubt they even had salt added. Bland would be an understatement.
Then the potatoes upon tasting them had the same issue of not being cooked completely. Not quite as bad as the carrots though.
There was also a blueberry muffin, which turned out to be nice and moist, but lacking flavor all together. I had been told that their orange rolls were to die for, perhaps I should have ordered one of those instead.
When I asked if the carrots and potatoes were fresh or from the can, I was told that the potatoes were definitely from a can and the waitress said she was pretty sure that the carrots were from a can as well. I told her about the carrots being undercooked and crispy, her reaction was basically "ohhh, ok" and then she walked away . The potatoes were definitely from a can, but the carrots actually looked from fresh due to the cuts. Either way, they both missed the mark completely!
I went ahead and ordered a slice of their pecan pie, as I was told that the pies were made from scratch. When it came out the waitress asked if I wanted her to box the left over's, and I told her no. So she just took it.
Knowing that I was unhappy with what was left on the plate, because I had told her, she didn't offer to replace them with other sides or do anything for me. At this stage of the game, to me it feels like they just don't get the meaning of "customer service" at all. She had a customer in front of her that she knew had never been in before and that was unhappy with a portion of their food. And I purposely did not demand anything from her just to see what she would do. And she failed that test! You have to listen to your customers and be proactive not just reactive. A restaurant only gets ONE chance to make that first impression, and mine thus far was not good.
And just to let you know, the pecan pie rocked! It was great all the way around.
On their web site they state "Fresh Home Cooked Food". I am sorry to disagree, but fresh does not come out of the can. And when I am being told that the majority of what I am asking about is primarily out of the can (usually in these instances you see veggies from the can, but the soup also?) and also frozen, how in the world can you actually say its "fresh"?
Too many items from the can and from frozen. To me they seem to be in the "catering" mind set, and feel that those patrons of their grill deserve nothing better. I heard some good things about them from some of my Facebook friends. But I also noticed a comment about consistency. Having not been there before, I really can not address the consistency concern, but feel that statement probably holds a lot of merit.
Once I got home I went onto their Urbanspoon page to check out reviews from other local foodie's, and there were three. Two were good and the most recent actually brought up one of my issues I had during my visit, and that was service. This guy tried to order a slice of pie when he was paying his tab and was shrugged off and told "Talk to your waitress!!". So he left, and he would have bought pie for all of his employees.
My advice to the ownership of that restaurant would be to fire those wait staff with poor attitudes, there are too many other people looking for jobs that will treat your customers the way they deserve to be treated. This restaurant was founded in 1987, so it has been around for awhile, but they can not take for granted that customers will stay loyal if they run into bad service. And not only that, but where will the new customers come from? In this day and age of Urbanspoon and Yelp, people will spread the word quickly when they have great food experiences, and they will spread the word like wild fire when they have a bad experience. Check out their Yelp page HERE.
My other advice would be to cook from scratch more, and with fresh ingredients. Cans may be ok for the catering business, but it is not for the restaurant. And on top of that, you have to put into place some checks and balances to make sure food is cooked properly and seasoned properly as well. Had anyone tried the side that I had with my meal, they would have known the issues and not sent them out to me. Quality control standards! They weren't there the day I was. Part of what is so confusing is when I check out their Urbanspoon rating, it is very good. Perhaps this was just a really bad day for them? My gut feeling is that this may be a fairly recent turn of events for them, and I hope that is not the case because if it is, their restaurant business will suffer. Maybe they want to just cater only now?
I just can not suggest this restaurant to my readers, unless you are going there for the pies. That seems to be what everyone raves about the most.