Olive Garden opened a new location in Elmhurst, near the Queens Mall. What once was a much needed parking lot now houses three restaurants. Olive Garden is one of them. I walk with a cane.
It is lunchtime and after a few hours of shopping decided to have what we thought would be a light lunch. It turned into a “heavy meal”, as my friend Deveka said. Entering from the parking lot I found myself in what looks like their lounge area. It is also the entrance if you want something “to go”.
The person behind the counter does not acknowledge my presence….like asking if I am looking to get a table. There is someone at the bar….she says nothing. I noticed that there were tables in this area and people were eating. Looking further I saw someone in front of a podium and concluded that it must be the host. I hobbled over waiting for Devaka to enter as she was still parking the car. As Deveka approached I told the host that there would be two people. She conferred with the person doing the seating. “Follow me”, she said. We walked passed one room into the next and noticed that there was an open table right there. However, the “seater” continued up the aisle to a much further table.
“Can’t we have this table?” I asked. She came back by telling me that she was seating me there so that I could be closer to the restroom since I was walking with a cane. Where she was seating us was further from the restroom but I couldn’t help but come back with “Do you think that because I have a cane that I automatically need to pee?”
The reality was that none of these people gave a flying chick about my disability. It was about who waits on what table. In fact, when my waitperson came over I asked what her “territory” was and did not include the table in “Canarsie”.
Deveka and I each ordered the “quick lunch” of the all-you-can eat soup, salad and breadsticks. Salad comes out. It consists of iceberg lettuce (the cheapest and least nutritious possible) along with plenty of sliced red onions, a pinch of red cabbage, two olives and two thin slices of tomato. Wait for it….wait for it.
They only allow one slice of tomato and one olive per person unless you ask. When we requested the second bowl of salad, we requested extra tomato and black olives (you know…that canned stuff). This time there was a total of two slices of tomato for each and two olives for each. Picture a group of people at a table with a bowl of salad. Does that conversation have to turn to being diplomatic and making sure that no one gets more than their share?
It doesn’t end here. Wait for it….wait for it. I had ordered chicken soup with gnocci. That seemed to be okay. Deveka first order a different soup but also decided to have a second one of the c with g and I ordered a refill. Both bowls arrived minus the gnocci. Yes, there were apologies from the kitchen manager and the food manager. I mean, how to you serve a simple soup without one of the main ingredients? Where is Gordon Ramsay when you need him?
Visit to the ladies room. One stall had no toilet paper despite there being a dispenser that holds two. No paper seat covers either. Thank goodness I was able to get the “wipes” hanging down from the stall abutting.
Back to the table to hear the person seated just across from me complaining about something. I had to ask. Her salad arrived with the core of the lettuce and brown. The part that was supposed to be thrown away was dumped into the salad.
As for the food…it’s one above fast food.
Here is the killer. As we were leaving the restaurant via the same entrance we came into I notice that there was a restroom right there designated for handicapped people!