Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kooky Canuck

The Kooky Canuck was once called Big Foot Lodge. Here's Andria's review...

Big Foot Lodge
97 S. 2nd St.
Downtown Memphis

Lately, Miss M (age 4) has become obsessed with downtown Memphis. I'm not sure what draws her to the area - the architecture, the musical heritage, the chance to see dogs and horses in the same carriage - but just the mention of downtown gets her little urban heart aflutter. So when my parents flew in for my birthday weekend, half-starved because they got to the airport three hours early but refused to pay airport prices for food, I asked Miss M where we should take them to eat, and her immediate response was "Downtown!"

It was fairly early on a Thursday evening, but I wanted to avoid anywhere too grown-up. I was already trying to suppress my early pregnancy crabbiness (because I wasn't allowed to break the news to my folks until the Admiral got home from work later that night), so I picked what seemed like the easiest option: Big Foot Lodge. I figured anyplace that offers 4-lb. burgers and 18-scoop ice cream platters couldn't take itself all too seriously.

At first glance, I thought I'd miscalculated. The dim lighting, the tables full of reveling accountants, an occasional glimpse of high heel - maybe we were in a grown-up restaurant after all. But the tables were cloth-less, they had a kid's menu and Miss M's drink came in a lidded cup without us even asking, so clearly they knew the drill. Although they did seat us next to a prep area, so we had to do some maneuvering to keep Miss M out of the stacks of napkins and alluring collection of fresh ketchup bottles.

My parents quickly settled on the catfish sandwich, since when they visit Memphis they're incapable of consuming a meal that doesn't include either barbecue or fried bottom-feeder. I ordered a kid's meal for Miss M that contained a hot dog, sweet potato fries, and a "cereal" (read: knock-off Rice Krispies) treat. I wasn't all that interested in eating, but I got the four-cheese burger for cover.

I'm not sure if the wait for our food was really long or if it just seemed that way because Miss M kept dragging my fatigued butt (and her newly potty-trained one) to the bathroom. By the third trip, Cha Cha had mercy and took over the duty. They quickly discovered the lobster tank, which Miss M found enthralling until a well-meaning employee picked one out and offered to let her touch it (is that cool with the health department, letting toddlers handle the food?). After running away from Lobster Man, she was hardly in the mood to eat, so when our food finally did arrive (yeah, it really did take a long time), she took one glance at her hot dog, a sniff of her fries and crumbled off some of her cereal treat before announcing she was done and, oh yeah, had to use the bathroom. I tried to distract her with a piece of hot dog bun slathered in mayonnaise (that in honor of my birthday, she re-gifted all over my bedroom floor at 12:15am), which lasted about 14 seconds.

Fortunately, that's the same length of time it takes Cha Cha to eat a full meal. They ventured back to the lobster tank while I looked back over the menu and figured out that we'd spent $5.95 on her uneaten meal. For shame, Big Foot Lodge! I could have saved some money and just ordered off the appetizer menu. The fried pickles or corn-brat probably would have been more successful.

Pops and I finished up our meals and the grandparents prepared the exit strategy. I'm pretty sure this involved some sort of bribery relating to the contents of Cha Cha's purse. All I know is that Miss M left quietly and we had a new Madeline book when we got home. In all, a pretty underwhelming experience. Mediocre food, slow service, and an insanely priced kid's meal make it pretty unlikely that Big Foot will be on our short list anytime soon.

Kooky Canuck on Urbanspoon


Karen said...

Well, it's been a long time since you left your review, but I have to say it sounds mean spirited. What is wrong with letting a kid touch a live lobster, and exactly how did that prevent her from eating later? The lobster is going to be cooked, which is going to kill any germs.

And you think $5.99 is a ripoff price for a kid's meal? HAHAHA! In a nice place where they cater to kids? You really need to stick with Krystal when you take your kids out. Get'em a $.39 cent hamburger. Or take them to Burger King and get a free crown. Sounds like more your price/style.

I'm a grandmother not at all associated with the food industry, but I really think your review was unfair. I'm taking my two granddaughters to the Dora show at the Orpheum's Saturday matinee, and I'm going to take them to Big Foot Lodge first.

I'll write my review when I get back. And I promise to be honest.

If you're right, I'll apologize.

Karen said...

Okay, been there now! It was FUN! The place was full of Go Diego Go parents and kids, and I saw a couple of those huge Sasquatch burgers pass our table.

The waiter was GREAT! He had a lot of patience with the girls, who were all into anything but eating.

The food was okay, not great. My daughter and I shared a BL(FT)T and the Asian salad. The salad was terrific and not overdressed. I'd get it again. The waiter left off the fried green tomatoes on the sandwich, but was quick to bring a piping hot order to the table to dress it.

The girls shared a hotdog plate and seemed to like it.

Next time I'm going to go for a burger. Their fries are killer. You can't go in the place and see/smell them and not order them, trust me!

I was disappointed that there was not a live lobster tank. Or even a dead lobster tank...

Anyway, service was very good and food was okay and prices were acceptable. I will definitely go back since they are so kid friendly.

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