Friday, June 22, 2012

Restaurant Redemption: Tudor's Biscuit World

For the past year, I have posted a ton of restaurant reviews. Some good, some bad, many indifferent. When my blog began to pick up some momentum, some restaurants that I've graded low, or maybe not so low, have contacted me in various ways. Some are angry, and some want to know how they can improve my experience.

Restaurant Redemption is a small series I've created that will allow me to give those restaurants who are keeping up with their social media (notably, my blog) and have made an attempt to rectify a poor or mediocre dining experience. For the restaurants that have contacted me, I'm giving it another dining go. For the most part, I will try a different dish and make note of the previous observations about the experience as a whole.

My grading of Morgantown's Tudor's received quite the feedback. I got emails, direct mentions, comments online and in person about the blog. People love this place. I think that's proof enough that my opinion on it isn't that important. The step that made me realize I had to try it again was a personal direct mention from Tudor's Biscuit World's Morgantown twitter handle (@TudorsMotown). It was quite a while ago, but it was something to the tune of - "sorry you had a bad experience, please let us try to serve you again in the future" or something of the sort. I marked it down as a note to try it again at some point in the future.

That some point came recently when the original Tudor's Twitter handle (@TudorsBiscuits) opened a competition for a coupon for a free bigger better combo meal. All you had to do was retweet their tweet, and they picked a winner. Simple. I won.

I don't know if it was strategic or luck, but regardless, I received my coupon for my free bigger, better combo meal and headed to Tudor's. Their promotion is essentially promoting their lunch options. I don't think their breakfast ones need the help. This restaurant (as well as Gino's, which is under their PR roof) is amazing with their PR. Best I've seen a West Virginia restaurant have. So that deserves a second-chance, right?

I've had the breakfast a few times, and I must say - it's not bad. Is it better than comparable breakfast places? I'll plead the fifth. I enjoy the bagel sandwich as opposed to the biscuit. And lots of cheese.

But I was here for their bigger, better $5 combo. That is their menu of a sandwich, fries and a drink for $5. The options are pulled-pork, stacked ham, a hamburger, two hotdogs or hot bologna. I had already reviewed the pork sandwich, and I could get a burger anywhere. I went outside my comfort zone and opted for the stacked ham.

I had actually came around 1 p.m. on a day they closed at noon. So I had to fit time in my schedule to get here before 2 p.m. a different day, which meant a weekend for me. The hours here are difficult. But I drove around back to the drive-thru and once prompted, I said I had a coupon for a free bigger, better combo and I'd like to get the stacked ham sandwich. She asked me to repeat it. So I did. Then she said "One more time?" So I repeated it. Again. She quoted me a price and told me to drive around.

This tells me a few things: 1 - she didn't listen to me tell her that I had a coupon for a FREE meal. 2 - their speak system must not be the greatest. I don't mumble; I've never had this problem anywhere else. I only had to repeat myself three times this time, as opposed to the six times on my first visit, so I suppose reduction by 50% is good.

I pulled around to the front and handed my coupon. They seemed confused. I waited for a good while before the girl at the counter handed me my drink then asked me to pull around to wait for my "fries and stuff" - meaning my one sandwich and fries. No "hi" or "sorry for your wait" or "thank you." So I pulled around front. I saw on their front glass a poster for the bigger, better combo promotion, so apparently they are familiar with it.

After waiting for five minutes or so, the girl came out to my car. She held out the brown paper bag for me to grab while she was still taking an order via her headset. No words were exchanged.

Itook my bag and drove home. Still not ideal customer service here, folks. I waited quite a while. When I say "thank you" when you hand me something, the least you could do is say "you're welcome."

When I got home, I took a bite of my sandwich. It was surprisingly better than I thought it'd be. I liked the salty, thinly sliced ham. The crisp, fresh lettuce, but I think it was missing their "special sauce." Some sauce, some cohesive element was missing to pull all these together. I assume their sweet, "special" sauce does that, but it appeared mine was at a loss for it.

The fries weren't bad - not crisp - more potatoey and less grease than, say, McDonalds. The food isn't bad. Had it had the sauce, it probably would've actually been pretty good. The workers at this location seem to need some more practice. Or maybe the tow times I've gone have just been coincidental. Regardless, the food isn't bad. The PR here is phenomenal, and if this is something that is near and dear to your heart, you don't need me to tell you what to like anyway. Everyone who has grown up with this restaurant has their opinions.

Tudor's Biscuit World on Urbanspoon