Wednesday, September 27, 2006

San Francisco Bread Company (closed)

San Francisco Bread Company
990 Germantown Road

Last week I got an email from one of the lovely women behind Memphis Loves Kids. Since I knew Warren would be gone for several weeks, I immediately became obsessed with their Kids Eat Free list. I decided to alphabetize it, reorganize it by day, do some research of my own, and see if I could come up with a schedule of sorts to get free meals for the monkeys (Satchel, 4, and Jiro, 2) on a regular basis while our chef was in the field.

Unfortunately, none of my favorite restaurants was on the list so I had to think hard about whether the "free-ness" would be worth going to place that I knew very little about. Chains and franchises in the ‘burbs are not usually my first picks. However, I planned to take the monkeys to a “fitness” class at the Germantown Center on Wednesday, so I figured I should check out the San Francisco Bread Company.

According to the list, kids 12 & under eat free (1 kid per adult) Monday-Thursday at the San Francisco Bread Company. I had taken the monkeys to a similar type place, Firehouse Subs, (after swimming) with good results, so I figured it was a safe bet. The idea of not actually having to pay $3.99 for a PB&J or grilled cheese sandwich also appealed to me.

Jacked-up and hungry, we rolled into the SFBC at 6:30ish. It was very chain-like but in a west coast sort of way. The place was pretty deserted except for one dude (and his laptop) in the lounge area and one other family happily eating in the corner. Looking at the glass enclosed counter, Satchel said, “Do we get to pick out our own food?” Before I could answer, he and Jiro bolted over and started fingering the pastries through a one inch slit at the bottom of the glass.

The one guy behind the counter, the owner I presume, already loved us. I could just tell.

After perusing the menu for a second, I said, “Kids eat free, right?”

The man looked at me and shook his head and said, “No.”

Okay. It wasn’t like I could bolt at this point. We were hungry, we were here, and I didn't have the energy to answer 500 questions about why we had to leave. “I’ll take a cheese pizza kid’s meal, a PB&J kid’s meal, and a roast beef sandwich,” I said as non-grumpily as possible before forking over $14.83. (That was with me getting a sandwich and water, no fancy combo or anything.)

The man handed me three empty cups and I proceeded to fill them while barking at Satchel not to touch the fancy computer they had for customers. I was so frazzled that I acquiesced to Jiro’s demands for orange Fanta instead of pink lemonade. (I doubt the actual sugar/nasty ingredient content differs all that much anyway.) We sat down at a table and surprisingly Jiro happily got in the highchair after discovering that he was too short to comfortably tilt his straw into his mouth from the table. Satchel was excited by the postcards of the Bay Bridge on the table. “Hey! We’ve been there!” he squealed.

The monkeys managed to get primo spots and I was left with the setting sun blinding me through the front window. It must have cast a glow on my water glass because Jiro looked at me and asked hopefully, “That beer?”

Since it seemed to be taking a long time for the food, I decided to do a pre-emptive bathroom run with Jiro. Satchel asked if he could wait at the table and I agreed. (He’s actually very good about staying out of trouble when no one is watching.)

The women’s room was out of order, so we used the men’s room. It was pretty basic and the trip was uneventful. Jiro was happy to sprint back through the restaurant to his orange Fanta. The man arrived a few minutes later with our food. Satchel looked at his plate and said, “Is this all?” I had grabbed his cookie, so he was left staring at a mini pizza and a bag of chips.

“That’s all,” I said.

He looked at Jiro’s PB&J and said he wanted it. I suggested doing “halfsies” but he decided he did want all of his pizza after all. (With some negotiating, I was able to get a piece of it for Jiro.)

As Satchel took a bite of his pizza he said, “This is yummy.”

Jiro took a bite of his and said, “No like that,” followed by “I need to go poop.”

Once again I left Satchel at the table while Jiro and I went to the men’s room.

When we returned, Jiro proceeded to slowly lick the jelly off of his sandwich. “I’m done,” he informed me two seconds later. I did what I had to do. I got him a refill on the Fanta.

My roast beef sandwich was pretty good as far as sandwiches go. I liked the bread and it was a decent size. Sandwiches for dinner are just sort of anti-climactic for me though. I was about half-way through when Satchel said, “I need to poop.”

There was no way that I was going to leave Jiro unattended, so we all set off for the bathroom. My third trip! I notified the guy behind the counter so he wouldn’t throw away our food while we were otherwise occupied. Thankfully Satchel was quick and we were back at the table in no time.

By now the dude with the laptop was gone and so was the other family. The owner came out with his vacuum and went to work. My first thought was, Did that family make such a mess that the guy was counting the seconds until they left? Then He must really hate kids! And finally, Why do they have carpet in here anyway? Once he was done cleaning their mess, he headed our way. Can’t he just wait ‘til we’re done? Then I noticed that the vacuum was actually keeping the monkeys occupied, so I commenced eating while I could.

With most of their dinners still on their plates, I handed them their cookies in an attempt to squash any notions they had about going to the “ice cream store” for dessert. Once in possession of their desserts, both monkeys got up from the table and began exploring. I quickly got a box for the leftovers and hoped to make a break for it before they did any damage. Satchel had discovered an oversized checkers game by the sofas and wanted to play. I didn’t see any harm in it, and decided to try and teach him.

He and Jiro were both very interested for about five minutes. Once Jiro lost interest he started climbing on the back of the sofa to set up a jump.

“That’s it guys,” I said as the owner stared at me from our previous table. I smiled and picked up Jiro and herded him and Satchel out the door. As it swung shut behind us I noticed that they closed at 7:00pm. I looked at my watch. It read 7:30pm.

Oh my god, we totally suck!

No wonder they don’t do free kids meals.


Lori said...

This was a cute post. Thanks for sharing your life with us. At least your meal. : )

Michael Roy Hollihan said...

I was at the SFBC a couple of weeks ago with friends and the staff came out about a half-hour before closing (8PM that night) and just started cleaning up around us, vacuum and all. Not a word said. They very rarely seem to talk to their customers.

The food is good, but "East Memphis" over-priced.

Stephanie said...

East Memphis is cheap! Oh you meant food, not housing.

So did you find out why the kids didn't get free food? Did they just change their policy or what?

Memphisotan said...

Ooh, you do sort of suck. Post-closing monkeys is a bit much to ask of anyone.

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