Friday, May 18, 2007

The Salty Parrot

Riverfront Park
North Little Rock, Arkansas

You know, this restaurant/bar has so much going for it, it's hard to imagine how it could go wrong. It's on the water of the Arkansas River, it's outdoors in the fresh air, you can smoke, you can drink, there's music and food. What's not to love?

When we got there about 6:00 p.m., there were only a few people there. The Captain of the Arkansas Queen riverboat greeted us at our table and warned us that when they leave on their cruise at seven, they have to blow the horn and to hold on to our drinks because "it rattles the roof on this place." Turns out that was the least of our worries.

I ordered a beer when I got there and the bride ordered a mixed drink. Her drink arrived in about ten minutes, but no beer. I asked the waitress if she had forgotten it and she assured me that she hadn't. I assumed that she had and that the gentle reminder would quickly rectify the situation. It didn't. It was still another fifteen minutes before my beer finally arrived. By this time we were ready to order food.

A little about the food. It's all grill fare with a few salads and soups mixed in with the appetizers, elsewise pretty much sandwich fare. I ordered a hamburger and onion rings. Hard to go terribly wrong with that, which turned out to be correct. The burger was somewhat overcooked and dry, but had a nice flavor and was edible. The onion rings seem to be made on the premises and not frozen. A couple in our party got the catfish sandwich and I've never seen such an anorexic fish in my life. Someone commented that it was the best bun and piece of lettuce he'd ever had. The hotdog looked good, but who wants a hotdog when you're dining on the river. Food: lackluster and worth passing up.

The drinks were extremely slow in coming with the last beer that I ordered not coming at all before my bill was presented. Everyone in our party had extra drinks on the bill that had to be fixed. At first I thought it was the waitperson, but as I watched it became painfully apparent that the bottle-neck was at the bar. I watched as our waitperson stood at the bar with a customer's payment in hand waiting to cash out for more than thirty minutes, tears streaming down her face as the bartenders ignored her and waited on patrons at the bar. Keep in mind that I still didn't have my beer I had ordered nearly forty-five minutes prior. She assured me it was coming. Everyone was trying to cash out and leave but nobody was taking care of the cash register. Finally the bartender tells her that they've run out of change and sent someone to get some. What kind of idiot management runs out of change at 7:30 on a Friday night?

Finally I walked to the end of the bar and asked the bartender just how long he figured it should take to remove the cap from a bottle of beer. And informed him that I had been waiting for him to do just that for nearly an hour. He popped a top for me and I walked back around to check on the status of my bill, at least with something cold to drink while I waited.

Still no progress on the payment front and the lady in front of me getting no help either. So I asked the waitress if it was alright with her for me to take matters into my own hands. I assured her that it was obvious to everyone where the problem was and that she shouldn't stress over it. Didn't seem to stem the tears much, but she nodded a meek assent. I then informed the bartender that he was going to handle cashing the lady in front of me and myself out before he did anything else. And made it very clear that I wasn't going to take no for an answer.

Finally getting the woman ahead of me taken care of, I finally told our waitress that she could get the bill fixed later, keep the change (which gave her about a thirty percent tip) as long as she promised that the bartender would not get a cent of it.

Prognosis? Stay away from the Salty Parrot. It is so poorly managed and the food so mediocre that no amount of ambience and atmosphere could overcome the aggravation of trying to be a customer here.

No stars.


At 1:06 PM , Blogger Bob Joe said...

It's one thing for a restaurant to fail, which happens more often than not. But it's another for a restaurant to be choked to death by an asshole.

-Bob Joe

At 5:29 AM , Blogger txprthead said...

The one and only time I went there 4:30pm NO cold beer. The service was slow the bartenders were playing more than working and the beer was warm.


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