Over the weekend, I went to the movies to go watch Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. (Great movie, but I’ll do a review in a later post.) My movie theater of choice is the Cinemark at First and Main Town Center. It’s situated in the center of an outdoor shopping plaza surrounded by several eateries and some shopping boutiques. I prefer it for 2 reasons: I really enjoy the Cinemark experience, and it’s a 5-minute drive from my house. My parents had accompanied me on this trip.
Upon arrival, each of us had gone our separate ways for different tasks: my mom to the boba tea shop for drinks, my dad to purchase the tickets and grab seats, and myself to buy fries. We had gone at the 2:50 p.m. showing because it’d end right at dinner time, so we planned to get food afterward because there’d be fewer people inside the cinema. At this time, there were no lines at any of the concessions or ticket booths, so the Cinemark staff was very attentive and quick to help.
After the movie, we decided on burgers and bar food for dinner, so we headed to our usual spot, Bar Louie.
Bar Louie is a restaurant/bar place that boasts a local feel. It’s actually right next to the theater on the second level of the complex, so we head up and enter into the dining area. Two hosts are sitting at the first table and tell us it’s all open seating. My mom and I detour to the bathroom to relieve ourselves and discuss how she had fallen asleep during the movie because she had worked all morning in the yard. My dad heads to the bar to grab a table.
When we head back, my dad leaves for the restroom, so my mom and I peruse the menu. At this time, I’m waiting for a server to bring over some waters and to ask for our drink orders just like every other time I’d come here. A server walks past our table and greets another group that sat down after we came in and then checks on the larger table next to us. She then walks past us to the bar to refill some drink orders.
I become a little concerned because the place isn’t half-filled, and there are two groups of servers, each consisting of about 5 or 6 people, standing around and chatting with one another. The server that checked on the two other tables drops off the drinks for those two tables and heads back to the group of people behind the bar to continue talking.
We decide to leave because we’re all hungry, so we set the menus back in their holder. At this time, we’ve been in the place going on 15 minutes. I know because I checked the time stamps on some texts I’ve sent while there. As we head out, a server from one of the groups says, “Leaving so soon?”
“No one acknowledged us, so we’re not staying. This is terrible service,” my dad answers.
Even though it was a short amount of time, I was insanely disappointed with the service that Bar Louie demonstrated. As I stated earlier, this is a spot that we frequent after our many daytime movie ventures, so we were expecting a certain level of service from the place. Every time we had come to the place previously, we were greeted as soon as we sat down, and the server would engage us in some nice conversation about the movie we had just watched. And the last time that we were there, we learned that one of the servers was actually from my dad’s hometown, so we all ended up talking about growing up there. Last time, our waitress was way friendly and super attentive, and this time, they couldn’t give a shit.
Across the plaza is Rock Bottom, a brewery-style restaurant under the Old Chicago umbrella company. We walk over there and head to the bar. The bar is all open seating, just like Bar Louie, so we quickly find a table, and as soon as we sit down, a guy comes up to introduce himself as our server, takes our drink orders, and quickly brings us water in the meantime. A vast difference to earlier.
Compared to Bar Louie, Rock Bottom was actually a lot busier. Most of the tables were filled, and the place was loud. Throughout the entirety of out stay, the place managed to get busier and a bit louder, but the waiter still check in on us frequently, and he brought our food out in a timely manner. There was one moment when someone else had checked in on us, but I think it was because our server was busy delivering someone else’s food or drinks.
In retrospect, I am surprised we found a table as soon as we walked in. But I guess that goes to show that good food and good service will put cheeks in seats. Yes, I did very much enjoy the atmosphere at Bar Louie during previous visits, but this time it put a bad taste in my mouth. The drinks are good and the food is delicious, but I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.