Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nightmare at Chili's: Two-hour dinner with a toddler in tow

In the nearly 17 months that we've been accompanied by a third person (a very tiny person) when going out to eat, we've found it amazing how quickly you can actually get in and out of a restaurant. Hosts are anxious to get you seated so your child isn't wreaking havoc in their lobby. Servers cannot wait to get your order in, delivered and cleared to minimize the mess that is quickly accumulating under the high chair.

Unfortunately, that was not the case tonight. After a bit of shopping at the King of Prussia mall, we decided to head over to Chili's for dinner. We should have known it was not going to be smooth sailing as soon as the waitress took 15 minutes to bring us our drinks and take our order. But having been in the biz myself during my college years, I always like to give servers the benefit of the doubt. Even when we have to repeat our order three times: Fried mozzarella, cup of chili, chicken fajitas, margarita chicken. Mmmhmmm. Not exactly that complicated.

The nibble is actually quite well behaved when we're out to eat. He's extremely social and loves getting out and about. And what better place to watch, wave and smile at a ton of random strangers than a restaurant? Plus, he's got quite a palate for a toddler, and loves to taste every meal being enjoyed at the table. But two hours at a chain restaurant, most of it spent waiting for food to arrive? That's not even going to fly with the toddler who's been downing margarita mix at Applebee's.

Yes, that's right. We spent two hours at Chili's. Watched our fellow dinners come in, order, eat and leave. And we never even got an explanation about what exactly went wrong. Just a quick, forced apology from the manager who offered us free dessert for our trouble. Free dessert? Do we look like we want to stay for dessert? You're lucky our son isn't hanging from the ceiling at this point.

Plus, the hubby's on South Beach phase one and restaurant dessert is obviously a no-no. But since that is all we were offered and we more than deserved it, we got it to go ... or, more accurately, I got it to go because the hubby and nibble were already in the car as I waited an additional 15 minutes for the check.

But Bumpkin sure enjoyed that raspberry cheesecake with his dinner tonight ...

Chili's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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