Ruby Tuesday is usually one of my preferred restaurants in town. I love their food, the atmosphere, the staff, and I love that Garden Bar. You know the Garden Bar, right? It’s that long bar just as you want into the Texarkana Ruby Tuesday location and glance to your right. It has over 50 wonderful garden fresh, their words not mine, items on it. In case you’re wondering, it actually has 51 items most of the time – we counted. This place can be great before a movie, before a night on the town, or after a movie or night on the town. It’s also great for lunch and Tuesday specials! It’s a wonderful little part of Texarkana. It’s also one of the test restaurants for Ruby Tuesday as we learned that a few years ago from the staff. So, when I received my weekly email with this week’s special listed as a Garden Bar for $5, I was sold and we were on our way for the Tuesday Special!
Now, unbeknown to us, a friend of ours was already at the Garden Bar. He started grazing – yes, grazing is what you do at the Garden Bar because you can go as many times as you like – just before we got there. We joined him, ordered our tea and made our way to the line at the bar. Well, what is usually a delightful, and refreshing, dietary escape into those 50+ items was anything but that this time. We were in for a much different Garden Bar experience than is
The first thing we found was wet and wilted lettuce. Out of the three different types of lettuce varieties and spinach, only the spinach seemed to be any good. We found the cucumbers and peppers had been frozen – at least that is the only way we could explain those little dark spots cucumbers develop when they are frozen and reused or simply about to expire. Most of the rest of the vegetable varieties looked suspiciously like it had been left over from the night, or maybe two nights before. We decided to push on and hope for the best. I got the standard, for me, half a plate of salad and then the brocili casserole, and searched for the other missing noodle casserole that I usually get – it was not there. I settled for cole slaw instead.
Back at the table, we found the Coleslaw and the broccoli casserole both tasted off. One in my party called it “Rancid”. Another couple at the table next to ours also agreed and had set theirs aside. We started to listen to other customers and heard some complaining about the lettuce and others complaining about the taste of the items that would use mayonnaise or another ingredient to mix in them. Finally, we spoke to our waitress and she informed us that the kitchen was making a fresh batch of most of the items we complained about to her. At this point, I had stopped eating and focused instead on my tea. We informed the waitress that this simply was “bad” and was not their usual standards. I overheard several other people stating the same thing to their waitresses. By this time we were already talking to the people at tables around us more.
Eventually, the “New” stuff did come out for the bar. Unfortunately, the kitchen staff placed all the new items on a tray with no guards or serving utensils near the bar. Some asked if they could get the food there and with a positive answer from the staff, they used some sort of forks or something to scoop out servings. With the final insult to food service rules, I was done and disappointed. The waitress, whom we had mentioned our concerns too, brought us a full bill with no explanations or apology. I have no idea if the new items were better since I assumed the kitchen staff would likely use the same mayonnaise or other ingrediants that comes in large containers to make the new casseroles. If that was the case, and the mayonnaise was at the core of the bad taste, then I did not want any more of it.
We paid the ticket, just as many other people did and left like many others dissapointed in the quality of the Garden Bar. It simply fell flat in all areas. As for our party, we moved on down to the local Taco Bell and ordered a couple of tacos and discussed how suprised we were by Ruby Tuesday. I must admit, they usually have a great Garden Bar and if I was the manager, I would certainly not want my promotion day of a $5 Garden Bar to be so poorly reflected. Some of those people will not likely return for the regular $9.99 Garden Bar prices.
Update: Since this article came out, we have heard back from many of our wonderful readers. Some comments were good and some were bad, but it’s okay, we have thick skin and we’re used to different responses. First, to the folks pointing out some of the errors in spelling – thank you, we sometimes do overlook things and our spellcheckers do not catch everything. I’m happy to say, we’re human and we do not walk on water. Again, thank you for the feedback.
We need to also add that while some people echoed our concerns about Ruby Tuesday, others said they had a great experience. A lot of people noted that at various times throughout the day, the experiences with the Garden Bar were positive. While our short time there was negative, and we had others agree, we simply may have hit a bad patch in the road. So, to those sharing feedback – good and bad- again thank you for interacting and helping.
Finally, at least one person indicating that she works management and works at the store commented on the article. Again, we’re happy that someone at Ruby Tuesday is paying attention. Our little article will fade away in time, but we want our local Ruby Tuesday to be the best around anywhere. We still love it and we will be back. We understand that “falling flat” one time, is not an indication of all times – as our readers continue to remind us. Thank you to everyone for giving us feedback and calling our attention to our mistakes and missteps!