…by Anura Guruge
We are quite au fait with ‘The Soda Shoppes‘ in Laconia having been there quite a few times over the years, albeit mainly for ice cream while attending an event (e.g., Laconia Multiculutral Day) at Rotary Park. Today, however, after one of those kids build programs at Lowes (in Gilford, and this week was Kung-Fu Panda) we went there for brunch — having a ‘gift certificate’ (from restaurant.com) which was only redeemable at a very few establishments around here. [Next time I get a restaurant.com gift card I am going to throw it straight in the trash. It is a useless card that is more hassle than it is ever worth.]
Well, all the servers were wearing shirts that proudly proclaimed that logo: ‘Our service is fast no matter how slow we are!’ Well, they are deluding themselves.
I would like to say that the food compensated for the unnecessary wait. It did not. It wasn’t bad. It was solidly average in terms of taste, size and presentation. This place is NO ‘Red Arrow Diner‘!
To me, the worst thing was that none of the servers seemed to be enjoying being there. Yes, it was a beautiful Summer Saturday and I can fully appreciate that they wished they were out there having fun with their families. But, there is nothing worse in terms of a dining experience than a diner where the servers are ‘solemn’ — and I use that word just to be kind to them, though it really is an euphemism in this case. Having two large screen TVs showing (I think) the Discovery Channel just added to the general atmosphere of malaise. It was noon, but it wasn’t that busy.
Around 12:30, the doyen of Laconia’s undertaker profession, now quite a senior gentleman, walked in most likely for his lunch. And to me that summed up the whole place and the tone of the proceedings. It is a pity. I think it could be made into a fun place — sans the stupid waiting. Maybe the managers should go and check out the ‘Red Arrow‘ or even the ‘Tilton Diner‘. Alex Ray would have a fit if this was one of his establishments.