We were visiting family in Las Vegas and got dragged to Claim Jumper last night because of a $50 gift certificate. I admit I was curious. You see, I have never been to a chain restaurant except some burgers 10 years ago, a Kentucky Fried in the early 70's and a Pizza Crud in the sixties. My expectations rose as we were pleasantly greeted at the front desk, in a very large rustic looking lodge type structure, I was amazed at the crowds (another good sign?), given a red plastic buzzer, told of a 30-45 min. wait and went to the bar for some Fat Tires. I looked around the bar and noticed a fairly young, well dressed cosmopolitian looking crowd and my hopes rose, The buzzer sounded and like Pavlovian dogs we were herded into a cavernous dining hall and seated at an immense table. Our server was very pleasant we were given these over sized menus, our drink orders and a request for calamari for an app. was taken. After leaving the west 30 years ago I was very much looking forward to a chicken fried steak and my Yankee wife was about to try her first one in a restaurant. We ordered and in fairly short order, the food began to arrive. The huge plate of calamari was the worst we have ever eaten straight, bland and a terrible batter crust, left unfinished. My wife's small order of country fried steak was huge, and mine immense and one look down and alarm bells went off and I was not salivating, The slab of meat looked like the sole of a size 18 shoe and very dark brown. I took one bite of the end and sure 'nuff, tough and over cooked. I summoned the waiter and told him I had waited 30 years for this and it was inedible and not a chicken fried steak.. He apologized and said this had happened before w/ people from Texas. I ordered a burger instead and was given a complimentary glass of wine; fair enough. Our friend's fish and chips app. was meager. A couple of dog turd looking fish fillets and some limp looking greasy french fries. My sister-in-law's chicken pot pie was large and looked decent and the burgers were good, but w/ insipid flour crusted shoe string fries. My question is, was this experience true of most of the other chains? Large fancy structures, housing very large portions of, mediocre at best, food? Newness is goodness, but bigness is better the credo? Take me back to small town Maine and my forests, mountains and the sea and small restaurants w/ home cookin'.
Proud to be a Bumpkin