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Friends, know that I am an easy customer to please. I enjoy life and the many delicious foods within. It’s also difficult for me to have a bad experience when eating out with friends; enjoying humorous or thoughtful conversation while somebody else slaves away making a meal for us simply can’t be beat! So when I say that I recently had a bad experience recently at Ruby Tuesday, I hope you respect the gravity of that statement!

Ruby Tuesday, an American corporate restaurant chain founded in 1972 and then later formed in 1996 as a reincorporation of Morrison Restaurants Inc, offers little in the way of adventurous dining or new experiences, but what it does offer is predictability. You enter a Ruby Tuesday knowing what you are going to get, probably some kind of hamburger deal. It’s a little known fact that I have a personal history with Ruby Tuesday, as I entered the working world as a dishwasher at my neighborhood Ruby Tuesday back in 2000. At the time, I never wanted to eat there, or spend any time there that I wasn’t professionally obligated to, but since graduating from the kitchen and moving elsewhere in the business world, I never had any qualms about returning to the other side of the kitchen door to enjoy the usually respectable quality of food to be had.

Recently, when a friend of mine (Tom) and I were out and about we found ourselves each with an appetite growing! As indecision is a common trait among my circle of friends, Tom left the decision of where to dine up to me. I thought back to the places I had been lately and remembered fondly a trip to the local Ruby Tuesday full of laughter and plentiful dinner plates and delicious complementary salad, so I suggested we revisit there, and so we did.

There was no wait to be seated, which was a nice surprise, as it was around 7 PM on a Saturday night, which is usually the prime time slot for eating out. After sitting down I made another familiar observation, or actually, an unfamiliar one, if that makes sense! The menu had changed again! One thing that always bugged me is that the menu is constantly changing! I do not exaggerate when I say that every time I patronize Ruby Tuesday the menu has changed. This time, the menu had changed for the worse!

“Am I reading this correctly here?” I asked our server, “The salad bar is NOT included with entrees any more?”

“That’s right sir, the Fresh Garden Bar is now extra and can be added to your meal,” the server replied, obviously upset that I mangled the name of the now premium source of produce.

“SOUR about that salad bar!” I yelled, throwing my hands up in the air and rolling my eyes. I had to express my opinion about the salad bar, and I wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction of referring to it the way they wanted!

“Listen, I really want the salad.  I’ll add it to my meal,” I reluctantly asked, a defeated man. I completed my order with a bacon cheeseburger, which the menu claims was famous. Bah! I’ve had famous burgers, so I knew this was a bit of hyperbole.  When it was time to choose my side item, I noticed I had a choice of two, most of which were potato products.  I saw that the “Sweet Potato Fries” were a “premium side”, so I asked if I would be able to eschew my choice of two sides for one premium side.  Our server seemed disgusted by this very suggestion, so I resigned myself to Normal Potato Fries and the steamed vegetables.  I think that was a fairly honest and reasonable request, don’t you?

Now that I had paid extra for it, I made sure to get my fill of the salad bar, breaking the rules I’ve set for myself previously in my discourse on buffets and over-indulging.  I was hoping for more time to digest, but our meal came rather quickly, which is normally a good thing.  The first thing I noticed was that my hamburger and fries were served on this odd, small, rectangular plate. Fries were on the cusp of spilling off, and burger toppings were precariously balanced on the edge. It was like playing a game of Operation trying to figure out how to pick up my food without it spilling onto the table, being contaminated with an unknown supply of germs. Eventually I figured it out, and I have to admit that everything was rather tasty; quite the surprising contrast to the rest of my experience that evening.

We left rather disappointed. I felt I had spent way too much money and effort trying to get Ruby Tuesday to meet my expectations, when they should be working to satisfy me, the customer! There are certainly worse places to try, that’s for sure, and who knows, maybe the next time you go this ever-changing restaurant will be better again, but for this humble eater, it’s “good bye Ruby Tuesday.”

FINAL REVIEW: 2 out of 5 Stars

Pros: Food was adequately tasty, good service (for the most part)

Cons: Price was a bit high, salad bar is no longer included, unwillingness to budge on fascist side item policy

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