BY Abelino Ruiz
After walking through the doors of the restaurant, I was only able to walk a few feet, before being stopped by a line of people. My horoscope said nothing about avoiding pubs, but alas, I should have known Bar Louie would be pretty busy on a Friday night. The spacious restaurant would have been a perfect place for a pick pocketing heist due to the immense crowd of people. The hostess at the door took my name and phone number down with ease, as she informed me that they would call in about a half hour to let us know when they had an open table. I actually found this extremely convenient being that there was very little space in the foyer. So my date and I decided to walk around in the mall for the allotted time.
We received a call shortly after returning to the restaurant. It’s important to keep your ringer on and be aware of your phone so as not to miss the call. I actually held mine in my hand so I was sure I wouldn’t miss it. We were led to a booth on a wall that was relatively far from the door, but every time the door opened, we felt the draft. This is most likely due to the openness of the restaurant. Knowing that I was going to write a review, I was very conscientious of everything. I was very fond of the candle that was burning on our table, even though I somehow managed to extinguish the flame halfway into our dinner. The general consensus was made up of people who had recently made their way past the glorious age of 21. Alcohol moved through the restaurant constantly, as more and more people ordered more and more drinks. In the middle of the particular area we were in was a sort of lounge with ottomans and small sofas where young drinkers were conversing and socializing. Even amongst the young ones, there were still plenty of middle aged drinkers to go around. Needless to say, I don’t think it would be a first choice for many 18 years olds and their dates. But, I enjoy trying new restaurants whenever I can.
Our waiter was a young fellow with a beard who was probably making his way through college. He was relatively nice, but nothing to brag about. He asked us if we would like any drinks. I wished to inform that I would be delighted to indulge in a savory sangria, but I ordered a Coke instead. He came back fairly quickly and asked us if we would like to order any appetizers. During their happy hour from 4-7, they have a number of appetizers that are half off. He told us that the spinach artichoke dip was a popular choice amongst the guests, so I agreed to have that brought to the table. His manner was very “waiterly”. “What would you like to drink?” and “How does the food taste?” But nothing extra. However, I must say I was glad when I tried to order a non-alcoholic cocktail, and he told me it was not very good and he would also have to charge for refills since I had already ordered a Coke. That was very nice of him.
The spinach artichoke dip, which I got for half the price of $8.95 was very delightful. It tasted real and homemade, which I enjoy a lot. It did take a little longer than I would have liked for the appetizer to arrive, but I took into consideration that they were extremely busy. After a period of about 10 minutes, our waiter asked us what we would like to eat. We both decided on a buffalo chicken flatbread. One thing I was not very fond of at all, was the pricing. It was expensive for a pub. This could be due to the location (Franklin Park Mall), but $11.95 for one flatbread was kind of steep. Free refills are nice. High prices are not.
This is where things got bad fast, or should I say slow. It took what felt like a millennium for the first flatbread to arrive. At this point, I was slightly annoyed. I know that I am an impatient person, but I also know it does not take 25 minutes to make a flat bread. Busy or not, you would think after being there for a little while now, they would know that a pub at the Franklin Park Mall is going to be very busy on a Friday night. But, slow service was not the end of it. After he brought us the flatbread, I expected him to acknowledge the slow service, which he did not, and then I asked about the other flatbread to which he replies, “You ordered two?” For the love of God! The Zach Galifianakis lookalike didn’t even know we ordered two! After he left, I immediately asked my date if I indeed said two flatbreads when I ordered. She confirmed that I had. After he brought the second one, I told him we were actually going to be leaving and asked for a box and the bill. Even after the poor service, I tipped the guy a $5 which is more than he should have received, but he’s trying to make his way just like the rest of us and people tend to make simple mistakes.
Maybe if they had know they were going to be reviewed, my experience would have been better. But that’s the beauty of it. They didn’t know and that makes for an honest review. High prices and slow service caused me to give this particular restaurant a 2.5 out of 5. I’m willing to give this place a second chance, but I will not be going back on a Friday night.