Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Izzy Magoo's: World's Shittiest Diner

If you ever come to Regina and are looking for food, you're in luck. We have one of the highest restaurants per capita in the country. This is also means you're in luck because you can be kind of picky. That many restaurants means you don't have to eat somewhere shitty for lack of choices (isn't life grand?). And luckiest of all, it means that even if you show up in town starving to death and so desperate that you'll eat anywhere, you STILL won't have to eat at Izzy Magoo's.
For those of you who don't know, Izzy Magoo's is a 50's theme diner. They've got the old timey booth seating, records on the walls, old movie posters and all the 50's-ness you can handle. It's one of those places that might be cool if it didn't look horribly slapped together on a minimum budget. Theme restaurants are something that can be costly to put together if you care to do it right and clearly these folks didn't. But hey, even the biggest dump can still pull off a decent meal, right?
I've eaten in plenty of places that were in serious need of a face lift and still got great food. This was not one of those times.
The first major disappointment - dessert. Mostly that there was none. As is NONE AT ALL. As in "where the hell is the sweet stuff?" This also means that there was no pie. Any place without pie immediately loses major points. 
The we ordered drinks. Paul and I got iced tea and as we all know, iced tea is hardly worth drinking without a wedge of lemon. Again - denied. No lemon. Apparently the owner has a "no lemon policy". I am so not making that up. You are not allowed to have a wedge of lemon with your drink.
Now excuse me for a second but I'm paying for a drink and paying a lot more than it's worth. Enough, I would imagine, to pay for the actual cost of the drink itself and still have enough left over to buy a whole bag of lemons. So why, exactly, is it that I can't have a piece of a fucking lemon? I'm the customer, I want a lemon, that should be reason enough.
So we get our lemonless iced tea and we flip through the menu. It's a lot of standard diner food with a bunch of 50's buzz words and car names to jazz it up. 
Paul gets a burger, Jen gets a sammich and I get some fish and chips (which I'm informed comes with lemon). I ask if I can substitute my fries for "frings" which is a combo of fries and onion rings. The server says that's fine. 
Two minutes later she's back to say it isn't.
I could order just fries and then get an appetizer order of onion rings. Paul suggests he change his salad to onion rings and then we can just swap each other half of our respective fried side dishes.
Great, let's do that.
When our orders come, the fish appears to be the "Captain Highliner" variety and the server plunks down a squeeze bottle of Kraft tartar sauce.
Do you have any idea how easy it is to bread fish yourself or, for that matter, to make your own tartar sauce? I do it all the time. And it kicks Kraft's ass.
When we ask for a second plate so we may let our fries and onion rings co-mingle our sever grimaces a little. 
"There is a $2.50 plate charge."
"If I bring an extra plate."
You're kidding.
"It's a rule."
She's not kidding.
"And we're out of lemon."
How about comment cards? Do you have any of those?
I can see why.
She tells us the owner doesn't care and we can complain all we like. He won't give a shit.
Great business strategy. 
So you see, if the half-assed atmosphere doesn't drive you away, if the food isn't sub-par enough, if the music isn't crappy enough, if there aren't so many rules you want to scream, if the fact that the owner clearly treats his staff like shit all aren't reason enough not to visit this festering dung heap - just keep in mind, he cares about you just as much as he cares about his staff. You're the customer and should be listened to carefully, treated well and cared for and about. After all, you're the one with the money.
Besides, business owners who treat their staff like shit should be strung up by their balls.


Jason said...

They're still open? Someone told me a couple of weeks ago they weren't. Time to go get me one of their 1 pound hamburgers.

My verification word is munch...kind of weird...

Gwenhwyfar said...

Yes they are, but judging from the experience I had and the emptiness of the place I wouldn't bank on it staying that way.

Robin said...

FYI -- once I found out they didn't have lemons I probably would have left. MM and I can't survive about an hour without lemons. We keep bottles of lemon juice in our refrigerator.

ps. if you ever come out here I am taking you to The Friendly Toast: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-friendly-toast-portsmouth

Gwenhwyfar said...

Had it just been me or been entirely my choice I probably would have just gone somewhere else. Lemons are crucial and you're not the only one with a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge. (I've discovered that tuna without lemon juice is just a sad hollow version of tuna.)
PS - if I ever come out there I'm going to insist we go there.

Janna said...

Tea with no lemon?

I'm not all that fond of bottled lemon juice. My favorite thing is to take fresh lemon and do the following things (in the following order):

1. squeeze juice into tea
2. gnaw the remaining pulp away from the rind, exactly the way I would eat an orange slice.
3. gnaw on the outer bits of peel so I can get all those yummy bits of zest and lemon oils coursing through my mouth before I take that first incredible sip of ice cold tea....

**happy sigh**

Gwenhwyfar said...

See, I like to mash the lemon on the bottom of the cup with my straw so I get bits of lemon with every sip. Then once I'm all done the tea I eat the lemon.
Also, you should totally try an Arnold Palmer. Half iced tea, half lemonade.