Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chickie's and Pete's, Warrington, PA

Put the safety glasses and apron on because this could get ugly. We've passed by this place a few times since Chickie's and Pete's, a small, privately owned chain out of Philadelphia, took over this location from Ninety-Nine Restaurant. We tried to eat here a few of those times, but the place was packed and we didn't want to wait an hour to eat so we drove on. A packed house usually means good food so we kept it on our short list. Well, this time as we were passing we stopped and the place was nearly empty. Two other tables and us. 

We sat and were given the canned spiel by the waitress about how amazing their fries are, and that we should order some as an appetizer. We passed, ordered water, and looked over the menus. I decided on the bacon and blue cheese burger shown above and Teresa ordered a cheesesteak sandwich with fried onions. I thought about the cheesesteak with lobster, but thought again about how that odd combination might not be that good.  

Less than five minutes after we ordered the Cheesesteak arrived. It was a bit dry and had no side with it. As Teresa ate, the waitress came by and asked if it was okay. We inquired as to the whereabouts of my burger and she said, "Oh, I must have forgotten to tell you. We serve the food as it is done so it doesn't sit under the heat lamps." I've never heard of this before and I shook my head. What I told her, and if the owners are reading this please listen, is a radical method of ensuring fresh food delivery. It goes like this, when an order comes into the kitchen fire the item that takes the longest first, then fire the rest of the items according to the time needed. That way they all finish at the same time! Now, when you are extremely busy this may not work with an untrained and inexperienced staff, but when there are only three tables this should be easy.

You see, when two people go out to eat they want to eat at the same time. If one dish precedes the other by ten minutes what happens is that one person watches the other eat, and then the situation is reversed. It makes conversation difficult. I was glad I wasn't with a large group or we'd still be there waiting for an order. 

Now when the burger finally arrived it was a bit disappointing. I ordered medium and it was closer to well-done. On top of that, it had no fries, chips or anything that resembled a side. Well, two slices of pickle and a cherry pepper were on the plate, but I really don't think of them as sides. Yes, I did read the menu and it mentioned nothing about getting one, but I assumed there would be something, especially at $9.00. If I added fries it would have been over $14.00. Taste and quality (they claim it to be a half-pound ground sirloin, but I'd say it was frozen) was nowhere near the price point. At best it should have been six bucks, and I'd only consider it marginally good at that price point.

And lastly the waitress presented us with the bill. Unfortunately the bill was for another table (remember there were only two other tables). When I pointed it out to her, she said she never makes mistakes and apologized. Too bad it happened when a food critic was her table. As we passed a table on the way out I saw fries on their table. They looked like frozen fries with Old Bay seasoning on them. I was glad we didn't order them.

About a half-hour after we left I was hungry. The only thing that reminded me of the fact that I'd eaten was the greasy after-taste of the burger. Seriously, I went to a restaurant and I was hungry after I left? 

The bottom line? If I were in my twenties and out with a few of the guys to have a couple of beers and watch the game this might be an okay place. No not really, I'd find a better place, like the Brick House a few miles down the road. For a couple or a family this restaurant is overpriced, overrated and a must-miss. I'm thinking of doing a 'worst of 2012' and Chickie's and Pete's may win.

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