Thursday, March 31, 2005

feeding tubes

In light of the recent death of Terri Schiavo, I thought it might be advisable to convey a few thoughts. I'm not sure a feeding tube is fair game for a restaurant review column, but this blog sometimes follows a meandering protocol. Here we go...

The manner in which the right wing, Christian pro-life fundamentilists portrayed Michael Schiavo was absolutely disgusting. The way half our US Senate tried to use this dreadful incident to increase their political capital was even more abhorrent. Some idiot Portugese Cardinal or high-up in the church (I really don't care or honor the distinctions that make someone a pope, bishop, cardinal or whatever - those are some pretty embarrassing discrepancies) said today that the death of Terri Schiavo was an "Attack against God". What on earth qualifies this as mainstream news?

Wouldn't it be the ultimate irony if the pope, who appears to be in the process of getting his own feeding tube, undergoes similar "life-preserving" procedures and ends up totally incapacitated? Sometimes things really do come full circle on this planet. Considering the FACT that the pope encourages and is largely responsible for the denial of womens' rights on an unprecedented scale all across the globe, I think it would be a fitting tribute to his legacy to end up in a similar state of existence. I secretly hope (well I really don't keep it a secret) that they end up wheeling the pope to his window for mass hooked up to a ventilator, feeding tube, and whatever other medical contraption they can find. Then, he could be the one blinking, belching and farting as millions find comfort in his "wisdom". Wait a minute, isn't that pretty much what he does right now.

Although this may sound like a tirade against the Catholic Church and the pope, it really isn't. I assure you that I'm an equal opportunity basher of all the worlds' great religions. Don't despair and don't take offense. I have respect for most people, but absolutely no tolerance for the organized religious brainwashing process that starts from day one. Holy water???? Give me a fuckin' break. I'd much rather be doused with Dewars.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Charlie Chan / Panda

There used to be a fast food Chinese place at the Ohio Valley Mall called Charlie Chan. They closed down for a few months and reopened as "Panda". Oddly enough, the menu and the set-up remained exactly the same. Panda closed down a few years ago and I'm not sure what it is these days. It might be a pretzel shop or something.
Charlie Chan was notorious for bringing bad Chinese food to the people of Belmont County. Fortunately, the good people of Eastern Ohio are not able to discern what constitutes good or bad "Americanized-Chinese food" - a blessing in disguise. Spring rolls and egg rolls are the same thing. Those little fried noodles that accompany Wonton soup are properly referred to as Fritos. Over half the patrons do not understand the term MSG. If you ask, most will stare blankly and say uhhh, Madison Square Garden.
One of my biggest gripes about any Chinese restaurant are the placemats. They all have that Chinese zodiac which dates all the way up to 2060 - just in case you're big on advance planning and don't want your future daughter Shameka to be labeled a turtle. OOOOhhhh, you are friends with the rabbit, your enemy is the dog. Do not trust the rooster. I think this is where George Bush derives his diplomatic skills when dealing with foreign leaders. I'm not sure, but I'd be willing to bet that Osama is a snake.
Anyway, the menu had some really dumb names. The combos were all called, Number One Son, Number Two Son, Number Three Son, etc. As if saying those names is not humiliating enough, you could always say "Mmmmm, I'll have the Chicken Chan." This was a some of the whitest chicken breast meat I have ever seen. Served on a stick, it probably had more steroids pumped into it than Barry Bonds.
The seating was interesting. There was a triangle table in the middle which sat 3. Then, there were 5 stools on the side. The strange thing was that you had to eat facing the wall with your back turned to everything. You were forced to sit and stare directly into the wall. You rarely see a restaurant with maximum seating of 8. Makes you wonder what the maximum occupancy for the firecode would have been.
Another thing, none of the cooks (there was only one "cook") were Asian. You'd place your order at the counter and then you'd hear somoeone dumping the crap into a deep fryer. There was none of the traditional Chinese music in the background. Instead, you get the Rick Dees American countdown. Coming in at Number 3 was Nu Shoes... I Can't Wait.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Who among us does not enjoy a fresh baked loaf of bread? Bread was a staple of the Israelites. It's high in carbs but that probably wasn't a concern when they were fleeing the evil Pharoah. Speaking of religious tales, I have some complaints about organized religion and biblical nonsense that need to be told.
First of all, here's the big one. One of the most embarrasing aspects of religion is that it's SO fatalistic. Everything is always in "God's hands". This sickens me, not because I don't believe in gods, ghosts, and goblins, but rather because it serves as an all-purpose excuse for the horrific actions of man. Rather than blame the leader of a country for the senseless slaughter of millions, people can always say "Well, it's up to the Lord. He will guide us." What kind of inexcusable gibberish is this? How can an educated person get away with crap like this? Where's the culpability? Where's the rationality? Why do people instantly become such absolute dumbfucks when they invoke the higher power?
When you think about it, the existence of organized religion is surely the CRUELEST HOAX EVER PERPETUATED ON MANKIND. It's main function throughout the ages has been to serve as a divisive killing machine. Why is it a hoax? It's a hoax because there's no CREDIBILITY.
The worst possible scenario is when you come across a biology professor who teaches evolution and professes a belief in the supernatural. ANYONE WHO DENIES THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND IS A FOOL.
My favorite is when someone says, "Don't you understand that evolution is just a theory?" How come there currently aren't apes "turning into man?" How do you reason with such idiots?
I realize that a lot of this may seem like argumentum ad hominum - that I'm not justifying my statements and just lashing out, but every once in a while this stuff really builds up.
I'll try to avoid these future tirades. After all, this is supposed to be about restaurant reviews.
One more thought, people either believe in the existence of a supreme being or they don't. I think an increasing number of people really don't care either way and an even greater amount will simply say "I don't know" - When people ask me, "Do you believe in God?" I respond by not only saying, no I don't, but I attempt to explain that I think the question itself is very humiliating. You're basically asking me if I am a complete moron. At least that's how I interpret the question these days. It's time for people who reject religious nonsense to become more aggressive and assertive with their contempt. There needs to be a better balance. It currently tips way too far in the other direction. Everyday people get away with spewing absolute nonsense. I'm just saying that it's the RESPONSIBILITY of the non-believer to take a stronger stance. You do the world a disservice by remaining silent.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Lebanon Bakery

I ate there today. I don't give many favorable reviews, but I really like The Lebanon Bakery. It's probably one of the healthier places to dine. Great salads, questionable wedding soup, decent meat pies, good desserts, etc. Nothing negative to say. I even like the building as well as the location. Speaking of the location, it's located right next to the infamous MY CLUB. For those of you who don't know, the My Club is one of the oldest, proudest strip clubs in the area. It closed down about 9 months ago and rumor has it that the city is going to purchase the building and an adjacent lot. Appraised at $40,000, the city (in its infinite wisdom) is apparently offering $110,000.
My favorite My Club experience happened in the early 1990's. I did not witness this particular event - I read about it in the Wheeling Today section of the newspaper. Apparently, a woman (probably a prostitute) was being assualted by 2 men, so she "picked up a dead raccoon and started flailing it madly at her attackers". The alleged assailants quickly fled the area. This is all we know.
Although they rarely advertised, the My Club had a wide range of events...
Monday - C Section Night
Tuesday - Dental Improvement Night
Wednesday - Bring your 2 kids to work
Thursday - Celebrity bartenders! Featuring the clients of Russell Nesbitt
Friday - Amateur night (this could feasibly apply to every night)
Saturday - Special guest appearance by Sally Struthers. Meathead will be signing autographs at the bar.
Sunday - Menstrual Night

Speaking of menstruation, I had this corpulent neighbor in Oglebay Village. One day, she looked at me and said, "Eric, I'm not menstruating, I'm marinating." True story. I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kroger Salad Bar

Half the people in the U.S. incorrectly refer to Kroger as "Krogers". I am one of them. Maybe it's not a big deal, but what if one day, everyone starts saying "Giant Eagles" or "Food Lions". Then again, many among us say "Piggly Wigglies" even though I'm pretty sure it's just Piggly Wiggly. I hope that place went bankrupt - I find it disturbing that anyone would purchase food at something called Piggly Wiggly, with the exception of people from Mississippi and Alabama.
On the average, the Kroger produce dept. is pretty bad. I suppose it's ok if you want to buy a stalk of celery or a bag of carrots, but have you ever checked out the area on the left. Mangy zucchini, limp snow peas, discolored mushrooms and my personal favorite - a lone basket of 5 artichokes reasonably priced at $3.99 per choke. I know, I know - it's not artichoke season.
As for the actual salad bar, it's probably the best place to assemble your own salad. In Ohio County, not many options exist for those who want to add beets or chick peas. After all, beets tend to be red, and the color red is an instrument of Satan. I'm sure the typical Kroger shopper would agree with that assessment. Radishes also symbolize the bitterness one might experience if condemned to eternal damnation. This is the hell where godless sodomites gather and cast aspersions upon baby Jesus, Moses and even Ezekial. Don't believe me... then just hang out by the salad bar on Sunday after church lets out. I once spoke with an elderly woman (I believe her name was Harriet) - she was terrified by broccoflower. I tried to explain the concept of a hybrid vegetable. She said, and I quote, "If God didn't make it, I don't eat it. What are they going to clone next? Humans? I don't vote for anyone who wants genetic engineering. You should move to France!"
Some of the people in this town are also terrified of "cutting edge" lettuce. This would include, but is not limited too, Romaine, Escarole and even Spinach. Spinach is sometimes ok if it has been chopped and presented in a frozen block. Spinach reached the mainstream in late 1998 and was given its rightful opportunity on the salad bar. Edlerly locals staged a vehement protest at the Kroger help desk but opposition gradually waned. Shortly thereafter, iceberg and spinach would stand side by side.
One important note, there is a pile of pre-packaged pickles - these could be the absolute worst pickles ever produced. I think they're called Freestone or something. This reminds me of a sour experience I had back in 1995. I was living in Oglebay Village and for a short time, I was on this "I want to get free stuff kick". Anyway, I started calling 800 numbers on the back of food products. I'd complain and they'd send me a coupon for free canned asparagus, or whatever. Anyway, I once called the Claussen people and complained about their pickes. I actually like Claussen pickles - so when they asked me what the problem was, I stuttered and mumbled that there was a nail at the bottom of the jar. The woman on the other end of the line was flabbergasted and said they'd immediately look into it. Anyway, the next day a man in a suit showed up at my door from somewhere in Pittsburgh (he had PA plates). He said he was a quality control specialist with Claussen and asked to see the tainted jar. I immediately knew the gig was up. I started sweating profusely and yelled at him to get the hell off my porch. Then I ran back in the apt. and slammed the door. He knocked a few more times as I hid in my apartment. This is the true definition of cowardice.
Anyway, Kroger Salad bar isn't great, but it's the best we've got to offer. On a scale of 1-10, it gets a 7.1.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

TJ's - WHY?

Why is this place filled with human beings? There is only one reason why this place is a viable business. Allow me to attempt an explanation...
LOCATION. If you can dodge the never ending construction on National Road, I'm sure we can all agree that TJ's is in the best possible location of Ohio County. Speaking of the construction, I hear that National Road will be fixed by October of this year. Yeah, right. This project is being presented by Savage Contruction - the same people who took 3 years to build the new S Bridge in Triadelphia (aka deep Elm Grove). And although the new bridge is up and running, the old one is still there. At least its remnants are still there. I might go by and take some discarded concrete for some outdoor steps I'm putting in. I predict the National Rd project will end in early 2007.
Anyway, why do people eat at TJ's. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. Just about everything on the menu is poor. It kind of reminds me of the food they serve in a public high school. That's the most apt comparision. By and large, I think fast food is better. Some people choose to eat there because of the televised sporting events. What's odd is that there's no volume so you can't hear any of the commentary. Actually, this is not true. When they remodeled (due to the flood) they installed a bunch of flat screens at some of the tables. These Samsungs replaced the original "noise boxes" which were there for mainy asthetic value I guess.
The saddest thing about TJ's is the clientele. Avid sports fans will go there to drink pitchers of over-priced crappy beer and eat there "famous" wings. They also have "famous" cole slaw which is equally poor. These sports fantatics will aggresively pace the floor and shout at the silent wide screen. These people are pathetic. The most embarrassing part is when they try to befriend others who are routing for the same team - Half way through the introduction it becomes apparent that one of the people is either A. mentally retarded or B. has no life. This is not good.
Another injustice is that the average TJ's waitress makes about $12.00 in tips + an hourly wage of $2.45 per day. How do they get away with this shit? However, most of the girls who work there are pretty hot. One of those Wheeling oddities I guess.
You might ask, "Saf, isn't there anything good to say about TJ's?" The answer is yes - the free popcorn. That's about it.
Oh, I forgot. When you walk in the door there is a collage of smiling faces on the wall. Most of these humanoid things are smiling or in some mild state of ectsacy becuase they are celebrating the existense of the local minor league hockey team. Not the fact that they are winning - I don't think they've ever won the championship. There mere existence is a tribute to the prosperity that Wheeling has to offer. I hope they don't ever win the championship - if they did, they'd have a parade through the streets of downtown Wheeling. Then, surely all the freaks and "bandwagon fans" would gather. If you think the bandwagon fans of the Dallas Cowboys are bad news, then you wholly underestimate the bandwagon nonsense that Wheeling could possibly offer.
Anyway, on a scale of 1-10 (all things considered) - TJ's gets a .8, not an 8, a .8.

Friday, March 11, 2005


There's a relatively new restaurant on the distant perimeter of Ohio County. It's located off the Jill's Lounge exit of I-70. Continue through the interesection and start your descent toward rt. 40. It is located on the left. The parking lot is mildly disturbing. Tons of mud and gravel. There's an upper lot as well but it consists of about 20 storage sheds. When you enter Ruttenbucks you'll see a sign that says "SEAT YOUR D*$% SELF". In many ways, this is an omen of things to come. The place is one of those "down home redneck party" bar/restaurants. The bar is kind of small but has a nice feel to it and there's a pool table in the back. The menu is pretty big for such a small place. I had something called "Beef Dippity" on the advice of our waitress. I asked her what she would get - she replied without hesitation, "The Beef Dippity, in fact, I'm turing into the beef dippity." With all due respect, she did bear a slight resemblance to the sandwich. The sandwich was decent but don't get the chips - they suck. Substitute something in their place.
The decor is consistent with one of those "hip" steak houses. Lots of stainless steel pots and pans on the walls. Horseshoes everyhwere and of course, the entire Nascar schedule just in case you've forgotten where the Sunday race is - this week it's in Vegas!
I have never been a fan of these kinds of restaurants - It's a scaled down version of West Texas Roadhouse which I passionately despise. There's even peanut shells all over the floor to give it that added rustic look. The management always seems to encourage the staff to say things like "How ya'll doin" or "What'll it be for you'ins today". What's really bad is when they get the foreign exchange student from Taiwan who decides she wants to make a few extra bucks, even though her parents have stashed a quarter million in her checking account. I actually went on a date with the person I'm describing, except it was an Iranian girl named Fareeba and she worked at West Texas Roadhouse. She also claimed to be a virgin although that's largely irrelevant. We went to West Texas for dinner on our first date (her suggestion) and she got up from the table and line-danced with the staff (even though she wasn't working). She must have felt it was her obligation to participate. Surprisingly, we didn't really hit it off. There's just something inherently wrong when foreigners decide to embrace redneck ideology.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stone's Tea Room

This place thrived during the Carter administration. In many ways, the Stone's Tea Room kind of symbolized the malaise of the late 1970's. I think it finally closed its doors in the late 1980's, but I'm not really sure. It was suitably located in the basement of the Stone and Thomas building in downtown Wheeling. Once bustling with non-stop activity, business slowly dropped off when they built the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville. There was usually a large line at lunch time and you had to wait an exasperating 2 minutes to get a table. They may have had a non-smoking section. I can't seem to remember although I do remember the place was always filled with smoke. I recall one time when my father was annoyed at the woman sitting next to us puffing on a cigarette, blowing smoke in our direction. He always claimed to be allergic to cigarette fumes, but I think this may have been an exaggeration on his part. I was about 9 years old at the time and told him, "Don't worry, I'll take care of it." Before he could say anything, I got out of my seat and dumped a little water in her ashtray thus extinguishing the cigarette. She was pissed off but didn't say anything. They just got up and left. Little did I know that this event would foreshadow a future of heinous acts and generally dissident behavior.
I can remember that the menu had some interesting pricing discrepencies. For example:

Egg Salad on toast, 63 cents
Egg Salad on bun, 67 cents
Egg Salad on bagel, 72 cents

I'd like to speak with the micro-manager/bean counter who came up with this shit.
As far as the food went, it was your basic Mel's Diner type food. Nothing too special. They may have been open for dinner, but if they were, they closed at 6pm.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

fast food

These days I make a conscious effort to avoid most fast food, with the exception of Subway and places that cater to the lighter side of things. I generally don't eat red meat, maybe a steak or hamburger about once every 2 months. Thus, I rarely eat at Burger King. However, I couldn't help but notice that new, truly bizarre commercial they have on tv. Who dreamed up this thing. The setting for the commercial - I think it's the fast food version of what heaven is. There are girls swinging in the clouds and a black guy (dressed like Rumplestilsken) is playing acoustic guitar while singing about the hottest new sandwich (I think it's called the bacon cheddar ranch). The idea of combining cheddar and ranch is pretty gross, but what's really weird is the guy singing. At first, I thought it was the black porn start guy from Boogie Nights, Don Cheaddie or Cheaddle or whatever. He was also nominated for an Oscar in the Hotel Rwanda movie. Then, last night I was watching the commercial and a friend said, "You probably want to eat one of those sandwiches because you can really appriciate the gayness of this commercial." I asked him, how on earth did they get the Don Cheaddie guy to do a Burger King commercial and he replied, "Dude, that's Hootie, from Hootie and the Blowfish." I couldn't believe it. It was indeed Hootie. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I remember when The Blowfish were on the arena/ampitheatre circuit. In fact, I saw a cd of Cracked Rearview Mirror at the Salvation Army for 50 cents a few days ago.
I generally don't like fast food commercials. It seems as though McDonalds is always trying to promote their willingness to hire the mentally retarded or the extreme elderly and infirmed. It's probably not politically correct to address this topic, but they had a commercial on about 10 years ago where this retarded guy was in charge of the fries. He resembled Corky from that horrible tv series Life Goes On. Anyway, during the commercial, he cries out "FRIES UP!" This would signify the end of the frying process. I thought they went a little overboard with the frenzied nature of those who are mentally challenged.
Did you know that McDonalds is the only city in the entire US that had to close two McDonalds? The one downtown and the one in Warwood. This stat may have changed - it was from a decade ago. Interesting though.
Here's some helpful hints about fast food in Wheeling.
Avoid the Burger King in Warwood at all costs. The place does very little business so the food just sits under the lights all day.
The Subway in Woodsdale is decent, but one of the workers found it challanging to make me a deli-style turkey sandwich. He asked what I wanted on it, and I said everything. He looked at me with this blank stare and said, "There's no room." I replied, "Yeah, just do the best you can." He shrugged and said ok.
Rax, the purveyor of synthetic roast beef, is also in Woodsdale. They used to have a salad bar where we'd steal garlic bread from in high school. I'm talking blatant theft - go up to the counter and ask for a brown bag and then casually walk to the back, dump the entire lot of garlic bread and stroll out through the front door. No gimmicks, no distractions. Just straight up theft.
Wendys in Elm Grove is acceptable.
Apparently, the McDonalds in Elm Grove is one of the best in the country. I've gone through the drive through and they always fuck up the order. They have extreme difficulty with condiment distribution.
The Hardees in Woodsdale used to be the busiest Hardees in the country. At first, you'd think No Way, in Wheeling. But yes way, they were. This could be attributed to the long lines of drunks who would storm the place at 3am on the weekends. This one guy Bill streaked the restaurant many years ago and it was none other than the infamous Amy Piko who won a contest, creating the name "Classic Cruisin Hardees." I think she won $1,000 and free food for a year. Not bad.
The Long John Silvers is totally disgusting. The smell from that place permeates the entire strip. How anyone can eat there is beyond me. If you have a fat fetish and truly admire corpulence, LJS cries out, "Hush Puppies" (what the fuck are those things anyway, fried dough?). Just uttering the word "Hush Puppy" is really embarrasing - at least for me.
A couple years ago they built an Arby's in Elm Grove. At the time, this was viewed as a major economic development. They even had to hire a cop to help with the traffic burden. The place was packed for several weeks as everyone in town just couldn't resist the place. I generally like Arby's though. I recommend the deli-style turkey sandwich. Not bad, half-way decent tailgating food.
There are other fast food places, but this entry is getting tedious. Later.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Grove

The Grove was located in Morristown, Ohio. It was the victim of an arson attack about 15-20 years ago. It was the BEST restaurant in the entire area. For those of you who don't know, here's what happened. The guy who owned the place willed it to his daughter. She immediately shut it down for a year and decided to remodel. She planned on reopening it as a country western bar. How creative! We need more country western themes in this area. Anyway, she laid off all the employees and a group of them decided to retaliate - so they burned the place down to the ground. I never met this woman but I regard her with great contempt. There's another group of people who interfered with the establishment of a restaurant whom I also despise. They are the concerned local activists of Greggsville. Where is Greggsville? It's that crappy community at the bottom of Oglebay Hill. Anyway, these businessmen wanted to build a table-side Japanese restaurant (possibly a Benihana) at the site of the old radio station on Waddles. These local morons all got together and convinced the city that it do irreperbale harm to their community. These are the people I loath. I don't any of them personally, but let's just say I understand them. Better than they understand themselves. I know what motivates them. Here's an example of the kind of behavior they might engage in. They will call their parents 8 times each day to make sure everything is ok. They will purchase beanie babies off ebay and then try and get a refund when they receieved one that was yellow instead of gold. They eat bologna. They buy t-shirts that cost $19.95 with pictures of angels. Get it...
This place was a wide open bar/restaurant. Your options were limited. Steak, chicken, and ribs (there were a couple other things, but the menu centered around these options). All the portions were gigantic. Did you know that "gigantic" isn't even a word? Anyway, this place rocked. Killer house dressing. A viniagrette loaded with paprika (paprika is the key, but people around these parts are only familiar with salt, pepper and garlic salt). After all, a spice that appears red or maroon could have some affliation with the devil.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

chain restaurants

One might ask the inevitable question, "What about Bob Evans and Outback Steakhouse?" I know he has eaten there. I offer this explanation. It would be an exercise in futility to review the myriad of chain restaurants. Most are relatively decent, otherwise they'd not be able to survive. There is one glaring exception - the entity known as Cracker Barrel. What the fuck is this place? You walk in and there's some half-assed gift shop that sells grandma candy circa the early 1950's and crappy decorative baskets filled with Christmas tree ornaments. I hate this place. I realize that Cracker Barrel is the church-goers number one choice, but let me assure you, I'd rather spend Sunday afternoon recieving a fatal dose of carbon monoxide poisoning. At least that's a "pleasant" way to go. The food at Cracker Barrel isn't good or bad, but rather, dumb and ignorant. They offer things like rhubarb pancakes and molasses oatmeal - what the fuck is that? I realize that they're trying to take advantage of the Southern hospitality niche, but I would encourage you to avoid ordering the hamhocks smothered in grits. This place makes me ill. If you look around, most of the patrons physically resemble John Ashcroft and the women look like Maude (both Flanders and Bea Arthur). Cracker Barrel sucks - if you choose to eat there, you are my enemy.
Anyway, here are some good chains -
Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Outback & PF Changs
Here are some loathsome chains -
Shoney's (not quite sure if there's an apostrophe in that), Red Lobster (half the menu is disgusting - they actually had something on the menu called Lobster Mac & Cheese), and of course the absolute worst, the aforementioned Cracker Barrel.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mehlman's Cafeteria

Some claim that Mehlman's smells like old people. Indeed. The average customers age is probably about 53. However, if you get there for the early dinner rush at 3:45pm, the median age jumps to 88. Interesting discrepancy.
Mehlman's is probably the most profitable restaurant in the entire area. The place is always jam-packed except on Mondays when it closes its doors to the elderly people of Belmont County.
Sometimes a local bar is referred to as a pick-up joint, or meat market, if you will. Mehlman's is a meat market for the elderly. While this doesn't sound particularly appetizing, it's the truth. If I were an elderly widow, it's gotta be the hottest ticket in town.
Anyway, the food is exceptional. I recommend the stuffed chicken breat, green beans and mashed potatoes - how can you go wrong? My brother was in town a couple years ago with his wife and for some reason, he picked Mehlman's. Needless to say, she had this look of terror when the bearded lady (with daunting sideburns) behind the counter dumped a pile of baked steak on my brother's tray. I think it was the low point of her visit.
Mehlman's can be a bit dangerous. Lots of the elderly, some with varying degrees of mobility and coordination, moving in scattered directions, searching for the optimum seating. This place must seat over 300. Then there's this staff of zooming busboys who carry Motorola 2-way radios in order to communicate. The most dangerous area is right by the cash registers. 2 food lines converge with a takeout line and an ill-placed condiment station. This is where disaster can strike - It kind of resembles the pilgrimage to Mecca where all the Muslims converge and throw rocks at the shrine, or whatever they're throwing rocks at. Isn't it odd how every year, hundreds of people get trampled to death in the Hajj? You'd think that if it's the responsibility of all good Muslims to make the trek, they'd be a bit more responsible, ehhh?
Anyway, Mehlamn's is great. Not a good place to take a date though. Scratch that - if you're 78 years old, it is THE place. By the way, don't get any of that crap in the first segment of the line. It's all cottage cheese goop, lime green jellos and some horrible looking salads. And avoid the roll with butter, as well.