I was all set to give Suggins a negative review.
Our first two meals at Suggins were horrendous. Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong at Suggins.
They’re extremely easy to make, I mean they’re just fries, cheese and bacon bits. Yet these took no less than 15 minutes to reach our table.
Fifteen minutes. On a cheese fry appetizer.
You may think I’m just being a jerk. Maybe Suggins was busy that night, or this was during their lunch rush. However we went there at three in the afternoon (the dreaded “in between shifts” part of the day) and the place looked like this:
Needless to say we were kind of upset. There was no reason for the fries to have taken as long as they did. I wouldn’t have cared as much if they were worth the wait, but these were the blandest cheese fries I’ve ever tasted. At least they were inexpensive at $6.25, so I guess I got what I paid for.
Less five minutes after we received our appetizer, we got our main courses. I typically don’t like getting all my food at once, but some do. Kat got a chicken club, and I had the open-faced turkey sandwich. Both were easy-to-prepare dishes, so I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by our entrees. Somehow neither sandwich lived up to that lofty expectation. My turkey was bland, and the gravy tasted exactly like something you’d get from a can, mixed with water. The meal was also cheap, so I should have expected it to taste as such.
The second time at Suggins was more of the same: lousy service (Kat was without water for most of our meal), mediocre food and all this during their dead period. I ordered a 1000 Island Grilled Turkey sandwich, and was underwhelmed yet again. The turkey was too dry with not enough sauce, and our waitress seemed more interested in rolling silverware/talking with another staff member than waiting on the one table she had.
The thing is I knew Suggins was a popular location in town. There had to be a reason people kept going back. I decided to give the place a chance during dinner service; maybe the service and food improves when they’re pushed to their limits and constantly on their toes.
So we went back during a Friday night around six. The place was packed but not on a wait. Typically that’s the time you’re practically guaranteed their best effort: on Friday nights you’re getting their best cooks, their best wait staff and some of their freshest goods (on weekends places don’t typically get deliveries.)
We sat down, ordered drinks (Kat got a bourbon and coke, I had an Old Fashioned) and placed our orders. When I got my drink, I was pleasantly surprised. Not many people know how to make an Old Fashioned, and if they do they’re terrible at it. This had just enough bitters and plenty of alcohol for my tastes. Thankfully it too was cheap, as it was only $6 for a tall Woodford Reserve.
It was…surprisingly really good. The chicken was juicy, tender, perfectly cooked and the marinade didn’t overwhelm me. Even the mac & cheese was good. I don’t think they make it from scratch, but it was definitely better than Kraft or any cheap store-bought mac & cheese.
The service was MUCH improved this time around. It still took a while for the food to come out, but she promptly brought us the drinks and was much more attentive to us than previous servers had been before.
This visit made me feel like I had previously short-changed Suggins. Any place can be bad if you go at the wrong time. Very few places give you their best effort mid-shift. In a perfect world, the crew would always care about doing their job and making the customer happy. However we don’t live in a perfect world, and when business is slow at a restaurant, the crew tends to slack off and do a half-assed job.
If you’re going to Suggins, go when you think they’ll be slightly busy. No matter when you go you’ll be waiting for the food, but it’ll at least taste good when the staff is in the weeds.
Overall: D for off-peak hours/B for peak
- John G