No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

If you read regularly, you probably saw that my mom called yesterday and invited me out to dinner. The reason why is because last Friday, one week ago, my mom and I were out shopping. We were driving down Radio Dr. and I happened to glance over to where TGIFridays has always been. It is gone.

Not the building, but it is now something called Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon. What? It seems so crazy that a longstanding restaurant is just suddenly no more and I never heard a thing about it.

Fine. So my mom and dad always take my grandma out to dinner on Thursday nights. They decided to go and try the new place, so my mom invited me to join them (plus it is practically across the street from my work). We agreed to meet there. I was a few minutes early, so I went in first.

As I was walking up to the front door, I noticed this huge banner hanging over the entrance, it said, “Grand Opening, Monday, November 21st”. Uh-oh. Yesterday was Thursday, November 17. Crap. I figured they weren’t open yet. But it looked open…

I went inside to ask. The girl at the desk asked if I had reservations. I said no. Before she could say anything else, the manager came over and said he would explain. Apparently, as they are opening on Monday, this weekend is a soft opening. I used to work in restaurants and know what a soft opening is.

Essentially, they invite family and friends of employees to go to the restaurant in the days before the opening and try out the menu, giving the servers/bartenders/cooks, etc. a chance to practice before they are open for business. Soft openings are usually full of problems because they’re still working out the kinks. But. They are also usually free.

The manager tells me they have a limited menu but every item is on the house, except for alcoholic beverages. Yep, a completely free dinner. Most of the night is reserved for family and friends, but they do reserve space for random walk ins, like us. So I sat down and waited.

There was some confusion when my parents arrived, but eventually we were all seated. We ordered our free appetizer. Bleu Poker Chips. French Fries sliced round, to look like poker chips, then covered in crumbled bleu cheese and bacon. Wow were these things delicious. They were cooked so perfectly. Loved them. We didn’t try their wings, but they do have 15 different wing sauces to choose from.

Then we all ordered dinner. We each ordered something different. I got a buffalo chicken wrap and fries. The wrap was fine. Good, even. Not spectacular. I probably wouldn’t get it again. But, they have a big menu, normally, so I’d just get something else. We only had limited menus, but I asked to see the full menu and they brought me the togo menu to look at. It was a good selection and everything seemed very affordable. (Kelly, they DO have a sampler–we’ll go soon!) The fries are crinkle cut, which I love, and cooked perfectly. Whoever does their fry is very good at his job.

My dad had two beers, both on happy hour. Our total bill? $5.42. Yep, dinner for four, with two beers, was less than $6. Guess there is such a thing as a free dinner!

You do have to fill out comment cards, as part of the deal, which is fine with me, I LOVE comment cards. I fill them out whenever I can. The inside is completely different. If you’ve been to the Woodbury Fridays, you won’t believe it when you go in this place. They gutted it and redid it totally. The service was amazing. Prompt, helpful, courteous, and so very friendly. Our server, the girl she was training, a busser, and three different managers all stopped by our table to ask how things were going. But they were all so nice and friendly.

Honestly, I would totally go back to this place again. Woodbury needs some new blood and so far, I am very impressed with Wild Bills.

Bet you’re thinking this story is done, right?

Not with me, I like to drag things on.

I got home from dinner and was home maybe an hour? My phone rang. It was my mom. She asked me if I kept that togo menu. I said I didn’t. What would I keep it for? She seemed upset, and then she told me that she thinks she might have left her purse at the restaurant and she didn’t know how to get in touch with them.

My mom carries a very small purse. Apparently, she was going to tuck it under the front seat of my dad’s car, but for some reason she didn’t, or at least it wasn’t there when they got home. She didn’t remember bringing it in, but she didn’t have it at home.

I offered to drive up there and check. She asked if I minded, I said of course not, because she is my mom, I know how terrible it feels to lose your important personal items, and it is seriously like five minutes from my house. (Okay, I think it is actually seven minutes).

I grabbed my phone and my keys and drove up there. I was in my pajamas and I didn’t bring my purse. I was just running in to grab her purse and then going home. I walked in and asked the hostess if she found a purse, she didn’t know, but said she’d go ask the manager. I was a little nervous, because what if it wasn’t there? The hostess who stayed up front said to me, “I’m sure we found it, I haven’t seen anyone walk out with two purses.”

I actually laughed. What a stupid thing to say. I know she was trying to make me feel better, but come on!

Finally, this manager, one of the ones who came by our table, comes out of the back and he is carrying my mom’s purse. *I* even felt relief and it wasn’t my purse! I said, “oh thank you!” before he even reached me. I reached out for the purse, but he pulled it back and said:

“Do you have an id to prove it belongs to you?”

I said that I did not, because it doesn’t belong to me, it is my mom’s. He then asked if I could prove that somehow. I didn’t bring my purse, so I had nothing on me except my cell phone. I told him that. The hostess said, “can you tell us what table you were sitting at?” I did. I don’t know what that proves, except that I knew what table it was lost at?

The manager still looked skeptical, so I told him, “I can tell you the name, address, and birthdate, on the id in the purse. I can also call the cell phone in the purse, if you’d like.”

He smiled, then, and said, “no, it’s okay, I actually remember you guys, we just have to be sure.”

And he gave me the purse.

I was a little impressed that they go to such lengths. Is there some random group of criminals who goes around to restaurants and says they lost a purse just in case there might be one? Maybe so. At any rate, I got the lost purse back and now we have even more reason to like Woodbury’s newest restaurant!

I think, btw, that the soft opening is all this weekend, so if you are around WB, stop in and see if you can get a free dinner, too!

Have a good weekend!



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