March 19, 2005

Perkins Reloaded

Being as that we're back in Cincinnati and Anna had never been to the Perkins of Legend, it seemed appropriate to give it a visit. My best friend Tim, a fellow veteran, was understandably reluctant to revisit the home of the worst restaurant service available in Cincinnati, but that reluctance, as always, was tempered with the anticipation of another exciting Perkins episode. Thus, it didn't take me too long to sell Tim on the idea and so we went, with Ben in tow.*
I began anticipating a good time when I arrived at Perkins and noted that the parking lot was parked 3 cars deep in some areas, as opposed to the common American practice of parking 2 deep and leaving access aisles such that there isn't a middle car that is potentially prevented from exiting. In light of this entertaining parking scheme, Tim pulled through one spot and I followed him so that I would be able to leave at the proper time. What's more, upon exiting we discovered that this mystical "third row" wasn't a row at all but rather a mechanism of parking in the access aisle unilaterally adopted by the presumably disoriented (and potentially inebriated) customers of Perkins.
Upon accomplishing the marvelous feat of parking, we set out to go in, only to pause at hearing noise emanating from the adjoining dumpster. Tim managed to mutter "dumpster diving" just in time for us to note a man climbing up onto the dumpster and sitting down upon it. Then, instead of rifling through it, he discarded several boxes into the dumpster, hopped down, and dashed into Perkins. We thought this slightly odd, commented such, and proceeded into the restaurant where, lo and behold, this same employee was standing at the front counter, handing a customer her take-out food. This level of sanitation should have discomforted me, but I was distracted at that moment by a man sticking his head in the women’s room.
Pausing to attempt to figure out what was going on, I noted a couple of "Caution: Wet Floor" signs on the floor, that the man looking through the door was wearing a Perkins shirt, and that the peeping tom and the man at the counter both appeared to be managers. Oh... and the man at the counter appeared to be agitated and, well, gay.
As we stood there waiting, Peeping Tom darted from bathroom to bathroom and into the back, at which point the counter manager paused to shout after him, "I've already dealt with it!" Noting that he wasn't being acknowledged and affecting more flagrant mannerisms by the moment, the dumpster-diver turned to a heretofore-unnoticed Perkins employee sitting in the waiting area and said, "You'd better get him out of here or me and him are gonna have to fight!"
The employee looked up from where he seemed to be trying to hide and responded, "I don't work here any more James, leave me out of this."
At this point the manager emerged from the back and James interjected, "It's all deatlt with! I've been on my hands and knees wading, through 6 inches of water for the past hour to get the water up, but it's dealt with! Get out!"
The manager turned to James and told him, "I'm just doing my job!" and then turned and retreated into the back, where James followed him after barking at the camouflaged employee. It was at this point that our waitress emerged from some side door and escorted us to our table.
After being seated, I had to know what was going on. That, combined with the apparent unprofessionalism of both the restaurant and the waitress prompted me to inquire, "What's been going on in here?"
The very question seemed to be all that the waitress needed by way of encouraging to unload the ever-increasing burden of the goings-on of the evening to somebody. "Well," she began, "this isn't even the first of it. It all started earlier this evening when a group of drunk guys brought this girl in and she decided at some point to go sit with a different group of guys. Now, they were also drunk and we could smell the alcohol from over there," she continued, pointing over to the kitchen. "There was almost a fight and the manager had to come over and break that up and we had to hurry up to get them out of here."
"What about the manager who's here now?" I prompted.
"That started a bit later," she answered, leaning over conspiratorially, "when the toilet in the employee bathroom plugged up. Water poured everywhere and there was, like, two inches of water everywhere in the kitchen and all of the bathrooms. And our manager is gay, so he was all exaggerating when the general manager came in. And now he's checking up on our manager and they hate each other so I just hope we get the general manager out of here because they're back there screamin' at each other right now."
After a bit more colorful dialogue wherein the waitress informed me that I looked like a stoner friend of hers whose hair she used to braid, she wandered off to find somewhere to hide or something. It was at this point that a group of 6 young teenaged girls, sporting a good bit of attitude, was seated at a nearby oversized booth. One of the girls was given a chair and was sitting in the aisle, which was promptly noted by James in the kitchen. He came storming out, looking very agitated and very gay, and tried to calmly tell the girls that they couldn't have a seat out in the aisle due to the fire code. I must admit, I was really hoping for an explosion, but the girls moved into the booth together with only minor grumbling.
It was at this point that my coffee arrived, complete with a suspicious layer of sludge on the outside of the carafe. I didn't ask, I don't want to know, and all I can say for the food was that it was barely tolerable, and without the company it wouldn't have even acheived that. Sadly, the rest of the evening was largely uninteresting with one exception:
Roughly 10 minutes before we were to leave, the waitress came back by our table to check on us, and inform us that she hoped her TV wasn't going to burn. Apparently she was renting-to-own a 64-inch plasma television and had spent roughly $4000 on it. For reasons that weren't explained, she was remodeling her apartment or something and the television had just been moved to James' apartment for storage earlier that evening. Apparently, James had just received a call to tell him that his apartment had just caught fire. Thus, the manager had rushed off to his apartment, leaving our waitress to hope and pray that her television wouldn't be burned. I suspect and hope it had some sort of insurance... but this was just one more oddity to top out a rather entertaining, and surprisingly well-serviced Perkins run. Come to Cincinnati with me and I'll hit Perkins with you, too.

*note: This was more of a risk than it sounds because Ben is a notorious over-tipper and supporter of the International Brotherhood of Waiters and Waitresses, no matter what a bunch of hacks they are. We've had to steal Ben's tip back from him in order that we can under-tip for execrable service on numerous occasions.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at March 19, 2005 01:11 AM | TrackBack