I should be a restaurant reviewer. Really. Or as I see it, a restaurant WARNER. That said, it might behoove you to avoid the Steak n Shake in Joplin, Missouri.
Don't worry. You won't get food poisoning. But you might die of natural causes while waiting to be served. You'd think Hick and The Pony might have learned this lesson by now. The Steak n Shake is where they always stop for lunch on the way to Oklahoma. I was with them in June, and I picked up on that clue right away. Not Hick and The Pony. I guess it has something to do with the word STEAK.
Last time I was there, we waited a long time. But it WAS around 12:30. The place was packed. So I figured it was not THAT big a deal that we had to wait 20 minutes. After all, some people didn't even have a table, and waited to be seated. I don't know what was wrong with them. It's not something I would do at a fast food restaurant. The Pony says Steak n Shake is not fast food. They have waitresses, which makes them an actual restaurant. Alas, poor Pony. It's our fault that your horizons are so narrow.
THIS time, we got there at noon. I know that, because I looked at my phone as we stood waiting to be seated (!), and it said 12:04. We got our table. Gave our drink orders shortly. And the drinks arrived. Unfortunately, the Diet Coke tasted like somebody added vanilla. But I did not push it away.
Like sands through the hourglass, our soap opera began to unfold. After 15 minutes, I started giving 5-minute updates on our wait time. Can you believe Hick was not interested in hearing it? The man who stormed out of Pizza Hut when his older boys were young, when all we got in 20 minutes was a pitcher of beer, a pitcher of Dr. Pepper. In fact, when the manager at the counter asked what he'd had, when Hick said we were leaving, this was ridiculous, and asked for the bill, Hick responded, "I didn't get SH!T." And that Pizza Hut manager showed his generosity by not charging for the beer and Dr. Pepper.
But we're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk about the Steak n Shake in Joplin, Missouri, where we waited 35 minutes for our food. It's not like we're retirees with the rest of our lives ahead of us. We were on an 8-hour drive to Oklahoma. Which took 10.5 hours this time. Don't get me started.
Anyhoo...I had exhausted all of the entertainment value from people-watching. There was a grandpa with 5 kids at the next table. So I got to see a little boy with a unibrow chewing with his mouth open. And a little girl who ordered macaroni and cheese scooping out one noodle at a time. Then a family came in with a tiny not-yet-walking baby girl wearing miniature Nikes. Which I pointed out to The Pony, who said, "Cute, but they're going to waste. Oh, look the people are giving her soda by drops from a straw." To which I said, "Huh. She'll be late for kindergarten by the time she gets out of here!"
Seriously. It was 12:04 when we went in. That is considered lunch time in Missouri. It's not rocket science. Have some burgers made at noon. Lunch time comes every day. It's not like we were a busload of Japanese businessmen who woke up in the drawers (and had to be chopped out of) a Farbman dresser. We waited 35 minutes for burgers! It's not like each burger has to be an individual creation, like a special snowflake. People on Chopped can make delectable treats out of leftover pigs' feet in less time than that! Contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen can do the same, while digging through a faux manure pile for those pigs' feet, while being slapped across the face with a rubber chicken! It's not like we were in a 5-star Michelin restaurant.
I would have walked. But no. Hick told me it was nothing. The man who complained because The Pony set his cruise control ON the speed limit, and not 3 miles above. I gave up and went to the bathroom, and when I returned, the food was on the table. But here's the thing. It looked like they took one serving of fries, and divided it three ways. We had WAY fewer fries than we had last time. AND my pickle slice was cut longways, and the rind on that thing was strong enough to run through carabiners to link climbers crossing an ice field on Mount Everest. Rated for proper safety lest one might fall into a crevasse.
Yeah. Don't go there. But especially don't go there at noon. Unless you are trying to grow a long white beard while you wait.