What Is A ‘Reasonable’ Price For A Plain Omelette (with Fries & Toast) In New Hampshire?

'Red Arrow' in Manchester, N.H.

Our standby and standard, the ‘Red Arrow’ in Manchester, N.H.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


Anura Guruge

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I was talking with a friend yesterday on the phone catching up on some Alton gossip. He works in Alton, lives in Meredith and as such commutes through Laconia. When I called him he was just about ready to walk into “Friendly’s” in Laconia for a very early dinner. [That was kind of funny since we had stopped at that Friendly’s the day before, after my Taylor Community presentation but we ended up going over to Cactus Jack’s next door because they have a better view over Pagus Bay.] So we started talking about food. He then got very emotional and started talking about how he had got ripped off for $18.50 for an omelette the week before and how he would never be going to this restaurant (or is it a diner) in Gilford. I was taken back because all I had ever heard (or to be more precise read) about this place is rave reviews. We have never been though it was on our list.

It appears that he had gone in an ordered a plain omelette with fries and toast, a side order of sausage and a small orange juice. The bill had come to ‘$18.50’ — and I am not sure whether that was with or without the N.H. meals and board tax. He had been floored. He had not expected to pay that much.

So after we hung up I went online to check their menu.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

 Sure enough their omelettes can go from $9 to $15. Fair enough. Side order of meat, in this case sausage, is $3.50 (which I think is par for the course) and 6 oz OJ is $2.50. So if he got the three cheese omelette with the sausage and OJ that would come to $18. Then tax. I could see how he would be presented with a bill for ‘$18.50’.

Just for the heck of it I checked how much an omelette would set me back at our perennial favorite, and baseline for diners, the ‘Red Arrow‘ in Lowell St., Manchester, N.H.

Click to ENLARGE. Use link above or below to access the 'Red Arrow' Website.

Click to ENLARGE. Use link above or below to access the ‘Red Arrow’ Website.

 So a ham & cheese at the ‘Red Arrow‘ would have come to $7.99 with panfries and toast — to say $13.00 at this ‘unnamed’ place in Gilford. Though I am not a BIG omelette eater, that being Deanna’s forte, I did, funnily enough, have one the last time I was there — albeit, it a special Corned Beef one for St. Patrick’s Day. I can’t remember how much I paid.

I happened to run into my buddy on my run this morning. I asked him whether he had NOT seen the prices on the menu. He claims that he just ordered an omelette, a side of sausage and OJ WITHOUT looking at the menu. Though this is not something I do (though I once did buy a house without ever walking upstairs) I do appreciate that there are folks that do so — especially when ordering what they consider is ‘breakfast’. So totally, 100%, HIS FAULT.

Caveat emptor, as it should, rules when it comes to restaurants. So, this place is Gilford is totally blameless — which is why I won’t mention their name. A restaurant has the prerogative to charge WHATEVER they want — provided they tell you about it before hand. I have no problems with that (and I have, often, paid over $100 per person at restaurants).

So an expensive lesson for my friend. He shouldn’t order stuff without looking at the menu — and if he does, he shouldn’t bitch about it. He understands, but still feels that he was robbed. Biggest thing is that he claims, and he has done it twice, that he has seen bigger shot glasses than the glass in which he got his OJ. But, I am sure that he got 6 oz of OJ. It is wine by the glass that is getting smaller and smaller these days. I had a glass at Cactus Jack’s on Sunday and I had to put on my reading glasses to see if there was any in the glass!

But now my interest is piqued. I just called up George’s (in Meredith), that I used to frequent when I lived in Meredith. They are, justifiably, famous. They have their menu online — but sans prices. But, a 3 egg cheese omelette with homebaked toast, beans, homefries and coffee is $5.49. WOW. We need to start going back there — and I need to tell my buddy to eat there. That is quite a difference in price — especially with the beans and coffee.

OK. I have spent more time on this than I have. So what have we learned. Don’t order stuff from any restaurant without looking at the menu and checking prices.

George’s is CHEAP. I used to go there nearly every other Sunday. Matthew, who was 5 or 6 at the time, just loved it. So, as was my life then, whatever Matthew wanted, Matthew got. But, Matthew was never spoilt. He will tell you that. He, at 21, is now a CEO of a startup.

On my run today, knowing that I was going to write about it … I was going through ‘angles’ in my head, as is my wont. Got me thinking about ‘Ladies Menus‘. Wow. When was the last time YOU saw one? I think the last time I saw one was at a fancy restaurant, in a fancy Chicago Hotel, 15 years ago. They used to be quite common in London — at least in the 1970s and 1980s. I can’t remember what the ‘drill’ was. I know that sometimes the waiter would whisper in your ear, “I gave the lady a Ladies Menu”. Wow. Nostalgia.

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