This morning was an unusual Sunday for me for a few reasons. I only had my daughter, which is rare. I was off of work. And I wasn’t at my Dad’s house either, which is fairly typical if I have a Sunday off and I closed at work the night before. In celebration of the morning I decided Veda and I would purchase breakfast before tackling some out of control messiness at the house. Several things went through my mind as breakfast options, but the most consistent is my favorite place to eat breakfast The Pancake House downtown. The only thing I don’t care for about the pancake house is that the people that own the pancake house know they have a great product and a booming business, so they are not particularly the friendliest when you go in there. Especially if you are not a large party. I was going in there with my daughter. I had deliberated on just getting a cupcake from Fat Bottomed Girl’s Cupcakes, but wanted something a little bit more substantial. I had planned on ordering the Buckwheat pancakes and a coffee and a fresh squeezed orange juice for Veda. The Pancake House has a great atmosphere too, the waitresses whirling around with fresh coffee. A fresh flower bouquet always sits by the cash register. Well lit with natural lighting, taupe colored booths, and little pots of cream for coffee, metal ramekins of apple butter and jelly, containers of syrup. The clinking of bussers tossing dishes in their tubs and the vibrant buzz of conversation. I knew it would be packed and on the step in she told me we could have some coffee next door and they would call us when our table was ready. They also own The Savory Pantry next door which is a gourmet food shop. I should have just offered to sit at the bar where the older guys eating alone normally sit, but I had passed a new restaurant two doors before the Pancake House and thought it would be foolish to pass up a potential mine, that was not busy and looking for business. The establishment was called Dough Boys and advertised itself as a place with homemade biscuits and pizza crust, and an original diner.Dough Boys is located at one of those spots Seinfield once commented on, that seems cursed by the perpetual turnover of businesses. Crappy 50’s style murals usually scare me off but it did have great natural lighting and all new booths and tables and had only two of their maybe twenty tables occupied. The sign notifies customers to order at the counter (which is the first clue they are not a diner. Okay well maybe the pizza advertisement was the first clue.) I walk up order one biscuits and gravy, one belgian waffle (channeling Lesley Knope) , a coffee and an orange juice. I notice they have a little basket with International Delight original creamers which is an immediate turn off to me. I cannot stand when a breakfast place does not offer half and half for your coffee. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I go ahead and order and sit down.
Just from sitting there you gather the idea of how this business will fail. Another group of people that spend more money and time on the marketing of the business and less on the product they offer. I’ll just say, this method is overcompensation, like men with loud trucks. The ladies behind the counter were friendly to be sure. But when a place offers a hundred different items to begin with and have two people working altogether as cook and waitress, than expectations should already be for low quality food. They have these huge signs, murals and tee shirts that match, but they serve your food on foam plates and give plastic ware and cheap foam cups for your coffee. They called my name to retrieve my order. I go up there and as she hands me my plates she apologizes and says the waffle is short. What happened was she did not pour enough batter because she was trying to avoid a mess. I used to work at Baskin Robbins and we made waffle cones, at fifteen I knew, you pour plenty of batter and scrape the excess off. But I digress. The waffle was short about an 1/8th, but I am not one to be rude or confrontational. The order of biscuits and gravy was one biscuit split in half with gravy over it. And I kid you not after about two bites, I realized the gravy was cool in the center. I guess she had just microwaved it. That is definitely just letting a customer know you’re not focused on what you are offering. The biscuit although homemade was not good. The dough had been over kneaded, probably the same base dough as the pizza, and so was dense and not flaky at all. The taste was stale and overall unappealing when smothered in cool gravy. It was about as unappealing as some sort of Goose Bumps concoction. I didn’t try the waffle, I gave that to Veda along with the watered down syrup they had in the ketchup like containers you squeeze. I am sure it was some sort of Cisco mix and not the fluffy, eggy waffle I have always loved. I watched the other couple leave, clearly unenthusiastic about their food. Another couple walks in and the man orders orange juice. The middle aged woman grabs a gallon of the cheap orange juice you buy and pours him a Styrofoam cup. There was no attempt at presentation of the food at all. When you know the orange juice you are getting is about $2.5o a gallon at the store and you are paying $1.50 for a small foam cup, you feel robbed. Basically, the food Dough Boys serves is crap concession food at the same prices as The Pancake House without the service.
One more complaint, blaring 50’s music does not transport customers to the diner experience. Good food and good service do that. Relying on music and murals to do it for you, is just making a caricature out of your work. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give the Dough Boys a two. One point because the ladies were nice and one point because the lighting was well enough to get a cute shot of Veda on the Canon.
In retrospect, I should have offered some criticism on the cool gravy and the plastic ware. But there was a guy walking in and out with a disinterested attitude staring at his phone, who appeared to be the owner, because the girl was asking him questions. I knew he would probably let the fault lie at the feet of the “cook” or ” food heater” when it’s obvious the training is poor. And too, those things are just knowns. So I decided against it, knowing Dough Boys is another passing tenant in the seemingly cursed store front.