Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Dinner At The New Cedar Street Grille
I made reservations for us over the phone after repeated attempts to book them on line at OpenTable.com. Using the site has been a challenge in the past as well. Each time I chose to book a reservation it either told me there was nothing available for 2.5 hours before and after the time chosen, or it would give me a choice of a time far from what I requested. I called the restaurant on the phone and made reservations right away, in fact I had to call back later in the day and adjust the reservations since Mary was getting out of work a bit later than planned. No problem for them.
The parking lot at the restaurant is still quite small, however they do offer valet parking now. I have no idea where they park your car once the lot is full. After we parked, we walked along the wide sidewalk from the parking lot to the entrance. One would assume that this was the main entrance since it led from the parking lot, but it isn't. The main entrance is off the driveway where the valets are stationed. The driveway is not too wide, and with cars using what there is of it I don't recommend it as a pedestrian walkway to the front door from the lot, use the other entrance. However, it's fine if you are dropping off the car to be parked.
Once inside, the new design and renovations are everywhere. It is has a casual bistro look to it. The newly expanded front of the building houses the new bar, and a few high tables for dining. We met the hostess at the main entrance, and although I had made reservations in advance, she chose to seat us at the worst table in any restaurant other than the one by the kitchen door, the one beside the service station for the wait staff. The table was as small as the children's table at Thanksgiving dinners when I was a kid. I asked if we could sit at a larger table like the couple beside us was sitting at. The hostess told us that all the tables were taken with reservations, but we could change to the other micro table on the other side of the half wall.
We took it. It was obvious we were not going to be seated at an adult sized table. We were there for one hour, and with the exception of one booth, all the booths in our room remained empty. We did not enjoy our table at all.
A restaurant customer must be made to feel welcomed, and made comfortable. No amount of great food and service can make up for that if it is not done in the beginning. If one is running late, and gets a last minute reservation, or table, then take what they have, and be thankful, but not when one makes reservations a half a day in advance.
Mary and I chose one of the specials of the day, Pan seared Tilapia over Spanish rice. We started with a Cesar salad. The salad was great. The pan seared Tilapia was superb. As Mary said, her taste buds were going crazy. I had to agree.
We'll return to the Cedar Street Grille in the future, and hopefully the hostess will seat us at the grownup table.