Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An awful meal at Denny's

Although we managed to avoid fast food on our 3,750-mile road trip, we couldn't completely avoid lousy food. Our July 6 lunch at the Denny's on Route 53 in Madison, Fla., was the worst we had on our two-week trip. As we exited the interstate, my 12-year-old son offered from the back seat, "Let's stop at that Wendy's." But recalling Denny's TV ads, which focus on breakfast, I ignored him.

I ordered chicken-noodle soup and a "garden salad," each $1.99. I should have known from the price that the food wouldn't be any good, but the low quality surprised me. The soup was gummy as if it had been prepared a couple of days before. The salad was 98% iceberg lettuce. My wife's "breakfast prime" looked like warmed-up, pre-cooked beef with scrambled eggs. Did the name of this dish suggest this was prime beef, the highest USDA grade? For $8.49? My son had trouble getting his shrimp off the skewers and they were overcooked and hard.

As we ate, other people walked through the door of the half-empty restaurant, but had to wait because of uncleared tables. The bus boy was unshaven and his shirt was wet; was it perspiration or did he get caught in the rain? After we returned home this month, I called Denny's headquarters to complain and ask for a refund. Today, I received a certified letter containing a $35 gift card -- for use at Denny's. I guess we'll go for breakfast. How can they screw up eggs, sunny side up?

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