There are a couple of restaurants in the La Frontera shopping area in Round Rock that I felt compelled to write about, for drastically different reasons. One of them has consistently provided superior service, and the other one….well, let's just say that we haven't returned in a long time after a truly bad experience there.
Schlotzsky's Deli specializes in sandwiches, and my kids also really enjoy their individual pizzas. This has become a mainstay for us after church, since it is a bit less crowded than some of the other "sit down" restaurants on Sunday. During the week, I enjoy meeting with my agents there sometimes, or with clients or friends. They offer free wifi, which is a nice bonus.
Although I am not close friends with the managers there, they do know me now, and two of them always make an effort to greet me when I show up, and they are VERY good with the kids, too. Not long ago, they brought out a free platter of cookies and handed them out while we were dining. Good service? No – GREAT service!
Schlotzsky's is also exceptionally clean, including their restrooms. The employees are constantly moving around cleaning, and they appear to be happy and well-managed. Basically, I have yet to have had a bad experience there, after probably 30+ visits to this establishment.
Meanwhile, in the place right next door….
Applebee's has a salad that my wife and I both really enjoy, and on occasion we used to take the kids there UNTIL…
We showed up one evening, and we were greeted by the hostess, who seemed confused that we had five people in our party (me, my wife, and our three children).
As a side note, I have noticed that restaurants have very limited table sizes in general. Typically, they have:
- Table for two
- Table for four
- Family Reunion Size (seats up to 12)
Why is this exactly?
At any rate, sorry for my digression. After the hostess realized that we needed the gigantic corner booth, she proceeded to seat us without bothering to clean underneath the table. THIS WAS A RED FLAG. I wasn't too worried about it, since we would probably make it even more messy with three kids.
We requested a high chair for the baby, and waited while she went to retrieve it for us. My wife put the baby in the chair, then began to buckle her in. It was at this point that things went further awry. The high chair and straps were absolutely filthy. They didn't have another one available, so we asked to speak to the manager, who took a good while to get to our table. My wife explained that the high chair was really dirty, and she said (verbatim):
"They get detailed every night."
Every night? I used to manage a restaurant for several years, and I required these to be cleaned after every USE. Do you realize how often they are used through the course of one busy day?
My wife, with extreme calm, said to the manager, "I want you to just touch this strap," as she held it up for the manager to get a closer look.
WOW! I couldn't help myself at that point.
I blurted out, "You have just proven our point. You aren't even willing to touch it, but you want us to put our child in there?"
We stayed and ate for some reason (sans high chair), and the food was actually decent. Later, before we left, my wife took our older daughter to the restroom. Now, to fully appreciate this part of the story, you must understand that I don't have kids that are obsessive-compulsive or even generally all that worried about cleanliness. My daughter, who was barely six at the time, complained that the restroom was dirty. MY daughter! My child who would probably be cool using a truckstop bathroom. My wife said that it looked as though the faucets and mirror had not been cleaned in about six months. There was buildup there that would/could have been easily rectified with a cursory cleaning, but someone had been sadly remiss there. Gross!
So, needless to say, we will continue our loyal patronage of Schlotzsky's and we will continue to be silently repulsed by the thought of returning to Applebee's, or at least the one in Round Rock.
To reiterate, do go here:
Schlotzsky's Deli 2700-B Parker Dr., Round Rock, TX 78681
Do NOT go here:
Applebee's 2700 Parker Rd, Round Rock, TX 78681