Joe’s Crab Shack, a Mistake I will not make Twice.

Today we went out to lunch, my roommate and I.  We were passing one of the malls that has a number of restaurants in the parking lot.  Two were newer.  Granite City Bar and Grill and Joe’s Crab Shack.

I mentioned that we should try one of them since neither of us had been to either yet.  My roommate stopped at Joe’s Crab Shack, since it was the first of the two.  I was first in and stood there with a horrified look on my face. The staff was doing a song and dance number.  She told me it was almost over and then only do it about once an hour.   They call it a ‘dance break’.

I should have tried this instead.

My roommate, being a little bit behind me be asked it I wanted to leave.  I figured we could order, eat, and leave in an hour.  They were pretty slow.  I should have left.  Even after the louder music, singing, and dancing had stopped, I still had trouble hearing.  I also got very congested while there.

The waiter seemed nice and pleasant.  He asked if we had been there before.  I said no.  He then shoved a bucket in my face and told me it was out trash can and told us about the drinks specials.  Or told me anyway, my roommate couldn’t hear him very well because of his tinnitus.  He was the bucket and assumed it must be the garbage.

The waiter left and came back 2 minutes later and asked if we had any questions.  We hardly had time to look at much.  I had looked at the specials menu and noticed that it didn’t have a single price listed and had moved on to the normal menu. He proceeded to reach across me to turn the page of the menu I was holding to recommend the steam pots.  He was WAY to far into my personal space bubble.  I also got the impression that he was pushing the steam pots because that was Joe’s Crab Shack’s ‘THING’.

I told him I was still looking and he left.  I looked over at the roommate and said, “Pushy Much?”   While I would have liked to have a steam pot, there were no lunch options.  These were very pricey dishes and not what I want to spend on a Saturday Lunch.  Maybe for a nice dinner.  But not one that could be interrupted by unpleasant song and dance acts by the staff.  If I want dinner theater I’ll go to something like the Murder Mystery Dinner Train.

He was back again in about two more minutes.  He then started telling me about some of the items he would NOT recommend.  Which is not considered good business practice in the food industry.  Recommend what you actually love.  People can usually tell the difference in body language between someone recommending something because it is expansive or recommending items that they truly like.

Somewhere during one of these conversations, the waiter asked if we wanted any starters and we had said no.  Somewhere along the line, he also asked if I liked seafood.  Yes, I do. I’m from the Northwest.  I’m used to good seafood, even if some people don’t think of North Idaho as part of the coastal region.  I do, but I also know that I grew up about a 5 hour drive from Seattle.  We may not have a coastline, but we have access to good seafood.

At this point, I looked at the table and thought about the fact that we only ordered water so far.  I very nearly said, let’s go to Granite City and try them out.  I was less than happy.  I was also getting more and more congested and having a lot of trouble hearing the waiter.  I know Jeff had to have been having trouble.  He thought the waiter was just talking to me.  The waiter had tried to address some questions to both of us but Jeff never looked up or took any notice of it.

The waiter again stopped by after a bare 2 minutes and asked if we were ready.  I asked him to give us more time.  The manager came by after that and left us her card.  The waiter didn’t come back until both of us closed out menus.

We should have gone here.

He took our order and mentioned that the staff and wanted to dance again but that he had asked them to hold off on it a little bit since we thought it was too loud.  Maybe that was why the manager has stopped by with her card?  It had NOT been an hour. It could have been 20 minutes.  We would have ordered a lot faster if the waiter didn’t keep interrupting us as we were trying to read the menu.  It wasn’t just the loudness that bothered me.  It was the entire concept.  I want to have a relaxing meal when I eat out and there is nothing relaxing about a staff that interrupts your meal and conversation with song and dance.

We ordered and our food was out quickly.  Jeff had coconut shrimp and I had fish and shrimp.  The shrimp was good.  The fries were good.  The coleslaw was very good.  The tartar sauce was good.  The fish, not so much.  The coconut was nearly burnt but Jeff said that the shrimp under it was good.

I did not take my leftovers.  Some fries and 1/2 piece of fish.  The larger, fatter half of one of the pieces.  Jeff’s comment was, “I’ve never seen you not take home your leftovers.”  This was a noticeable commentary on the quality of the fish.

We went through Culver’s on the way home.  He got a Sunday and I got a Pepsi.  These items were to help us recover from the trauma of eating at Joe’s Crab Shack.  It is interesting to note that as soon as we got home, my sinuses cleared up.  I think something in the restaurant was bothering me.  Jeff’s take on it is that I had an opportunity, even two opportunities, to leave and go elsewhere.  But since I didn’t, it was my body’s way of punishing me.  I actually didn’t argue with this.  It was a terrible, headache inducing, dining experience that I do not want to repeat.

I started to tell my roommate that if I ever mention going there again he was to slap me and mention Granite City instead.  But then I said that it will not happen because I don’t think I am likely to ever mention them again.  So he bopped me on the head.  He didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity.

I also told him if I ever look like I’m contemplating leaving a place and seem uncertain, just to mention “Joe’s Crab Shack” as a reminder of what happens when I ignore my gut reaction.

4 Responses to “Joe’s Crab Shack, a Mistake I will not make Twice.”

  1. What a hoot! You had me off my chair a few times with your funny descriptions of the crab shack. Brilliant writing 🙂

  2. John Taroli Says:

    Under no circumstances would I ever go there again. The ripped and tattered booths, paper stuffing in the bottom of the buckets to fill up the volume. Untrained, inexperienced waitstaff drove the final stake into the experience.
    The restaurant is a perfect example of poor, out-of-touch, management and I expect it to die a much deserved death. Pity the investors.

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