Friday, September 08, 2006


After numerous threats of bodily harm, RJA has come through with another hilarious review.

Poplar Plaza

Normally I wouldn’t even take the time to review a place like McAllister’s. It’s akin to reviewing an Applebee’s or Friday’s or Burger King, as far as I’m concerned. I’m a firm believer in supporting the small business. As a small business owner myself, it’s something I wish others took to heart as much as I. There are times I think I may go overboard, because when we go to the Ma & Pa restaurants, at some point during the evening, The Quartet will start playing with napkins or straws or toothpicks, and it’s then that they get my lecture on how everything in there costs somebody money. “Even though they’re free to you, doesn’t mean they were free to the owner of this business. Now put that napkin down and wipe your mouth on your brother’s shirt, it’s his turn.” And I normally wouldn’t even choose to eat at a McAllister’s as I find the food incredibly mediocre and don’t understand all the fuss about the sweet tea, but McAllister whispered those three little words to me that everyone wants to hear, every parent of four, anyway: Kids Eat Free. Or don’t eat, as far as my kids are concerned, what the hell do I care? I didn’t pay for it.

Kristy had to work that evening so I had The Quartet all to myself. Because you can’t discern inflection over the internet, let me clarify that I’m not saying that in the tone of “I had the TV all to myself” but more like “I had the stomach flu all to myself.” These kids are good up to a point, and apparently that point is about 6:15, while standing in line at a McAllister’s to order dinner. Since Admiral Jeff had to work as well, Andria and M joined us for an impromptu playdate. Either that or it was the most poorly planned extramarital affair ever.

It all began while in line to order, and it all began with JP. JP. Where did we go wrong? This child used to be my quiet one. He could sit still, quietly taking in everything going on around him without even a peep. He’s gone through some sort of change, though, and the reason is hard to discern. Flying too close to the yellow sun of Earth? Not likely. Gamma rays? Hardly. All the sugar he’s consumed daily over the last five years finally catching up to him? Possibly. All I know is he’s uncontrollable with his gleeful screams and his herky-jerky, Tourette’s-like movements. And there it was, on full display for all of McAllister’s to see. So I held GK, still quiet and still in her car seat/carrier-thing, while holding JP by one hand and trying to take drink orders and simultaneously give our order for dinner. The bright side is I think the teenager behind the counter took pity on me and gave me three kids’ meals free instead of the stated two-per-paying-adult limit. At least I think that was pity in her eyes. It could have been fear. Either way they were all free and it should keep that young lady in the practice of safe sex. One thing about the Poplar Plaza McAllister’s is that, even though there’s no real service in the sense of waitresses or bartenders, the help there is very helpful. I had assistance carrying our drinks to the table (the help I brought with me was decidedly unhelpful) and she was quick to point out the high chairs.

Once on the patio, S immediately refused to eat her turkey sandwich. And then she ate her turkey sandwich. JP ate his PB&J between fits and ticks and jubilant screams. C ate a turkey & cheese sandwich. They then decided it was time to play school. I have never seen these children play school. Why would they decide to organize playtime like this while on the patio of a restaurant? To make my head explode, that’s why. They rearranged their chairs to more of a schoolroom feel, not realizing (or caring) that they included two adjacent diners into their classroom. They took turns being the teacher, which meant standing up on the ledge of the giant front window and yelling out instructions to the others. Apparently these instructions included running to the other side of the patio and, for JP anyway, doing some sort of frenetic modern dance.

M looked on in awe. I’ve heard M can terrorize a Gus’s Fried Chicken or a Pei-Wei well enough in her own right, but she watched The Quartet like a Mormon at her first Rolling Stones concert – a little admiration and a little bit of fear. Andria ate her dinner, completely unaware of the mischief at hand, the words playing over and over in her head inaudible, yet completely readable on her face: “Not my kids. Not my kids. Not my kids.”

As usual, dinner ended with me vowing never to return…until next Tuesday, because, after all, kids do eat free.

Andria also reviewed McAllister's awhile back. Read her review here.


Andria said...

A fairly accurate recap, although you failed to mention the woman at the next table who was looking at the full brood of 5 and clearly thinking, "Holy crap, half of those kids are a year apart! And that mother isn't even paying attention to them!"

Shannon said...

that's what you get for going there--someone had to say it.


Anonymous said...
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Shannon said...
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RJA said...
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Stacey Greenberg said...
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Kristy said...
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andria said...
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