I regret to say another restaurant has earned its rightful spot in the sun. Dee’s Place Chicago Soul Food restaurant has officially been added to my “I’m Never Going There Again” hit list. It’s always a bit frustrating to see another one bite the dust because it limits my dining options and this inclusion is the most disappointing to date.
Dee’s Place is a well-liked Chicago restaurant endorsed by many local celebrities and radio personalities as having some of the best soul food and live blues and jazz entertainment in the area. Although I’m local, I’ve never heard of the restaurant. After hearing a popular radio station advertise the grand opening at its new location featuring a live radio broadcast and blues band it sounded like it would be a nice place to spend a date night – live music, good food. Why not?
I sell the idea to my husband and he reluctantly agrees. I have my ways.
We arrived around 7:30 only to find there was very limited parking – which wasn’t a big deal at the time, because we were able to secure the last spot. As we approached the entrance I noticed a handwritten sign on the door – SORRY, CASH ONLY!
Are you serious? What year is this? We don’t carry cash. Although I was concerned about losing our parking space, I convinced my husband to go to the ATM. I have my ways. We get the cash and return, luckily enough to the same parking space.
We enter and the restaurant appears to be rather crowded. While we’re waiting to be seated, we quickly notice that it isn’t crowded there’s just limited seating ~ approximately 15 tables. In the meantime, we sit at the bar and soon recognized that the bar isn’t a bar at all. Sure, there’s a bar and stools, but there’s no liquor. What’s a bar without liquor?
The hostess/manager informed us that the kitchen was closed (it’s 7:40ish) and it would reopen at 8, but the band is preparing to play. That’s not so bad…What’s 20 minutes? However I’m left thinking what type of restaurant closes its kitchen around 7:40ish and when is 20 minutes not 20 minutes?
When it’s 35 minutes!!
It took over 30 minutes before the hostess/manager/server came by to take our order. We literally had to yell and point to the menu item of choice. Because of the slow service, we ordered our drinks, appetizers and entrees all at the same time.
Although the band was good, the music was extremely loud. There was no need to use amplifiers in such a small space. It was impossible to have a conversation even though we were sitting across from each other.
Little Daddy made a few announcements in between songs. He wished Dee a Happy Birthday and thanked everyone for coming out to the Grand Opening. This location actually opened in December 2012. He introduced the band members: Casper the Blues Ghost – guitar, Muffin – drums, Spider – bass and Little Daddy himself – lead vocals & keyboard. He plugged his Facebook page. He asks if anyone saw his latest status update.
Of course I did. He promised to jump off the bar while playing his keyboard. So I reminded him and he did. I wasn’t impressed, but I was getting pretty hungry.
After about 20 minutes, our shrimp appetizer arrived. Believe it or not, at this time, we still hadn’t received our drinks. I don’t know why the hostess/manager/server did not bring the drinks right after we ordered them. Maybe she didn’t want us to take advantage of the free refills, but for $3 a pop we should have been able to enjoy our beverages while we waited. Everyone knows, it nothing else, drink orders are served promptly.
The breaded shrimp was typical – deep fried, nothing special. Nevertheless, I was happy to see 10 large butterfly shrimp. The menu didn’t include any descriptions and it was too loud to really ask any questions.
The hostess/manager/server realizes we hadn’t received our drinks; apologizes and quickly returns with them. Needless to say, we’re past irritated, beyond hungry and by now, I’m watching the kitchen window like a hawk.
By the time we finished our appetizer, Little Daddy Blues Band was taking a break. Which wasn’t a bad thing unfortunately the lack of entertainment places the emphasis where it belong – on the restaurant’s deficiencies. There weren’t many customers dining; it appeared most folks were there just to hear the band, so I have no idea what in the hell was taking so long.
As the cook/server brought another table their order we stopped him and asked how much longer would it take before our order was ready. He replied, “If you order the fried chicken it takes longer.” and walked back to the kitchen.
That’s good to know, but we didn’t order fried chicken.
A few minutes later I overhear the hostess/manager/server apologizing to a customer who was waiting for a carryout order. The order was wrong. He had been there at least 30 minutes. I know this because I’ve been watching the kitchen window. At that point, it was decided. If the next order coming out of that kitchen wasn’t ours we were leaving. I still can’t believe it wasn’t our order. We walked out. It was 9:15.
It took an hour and a half to be served an appetizer and 2 Cokes. We left $20 on the table to cover what we did receive. After taxes, the hostess/manager/server may have received a $2 tip. Which is awesome for her, because I didn’t want to pay for anything. As far as I’m concern, our wasted time was payment and tip enough.
Assuming that night is an indicator of what’s to come of Dee’s Place Chicago Soul Food restaurant with service that bad what the fuck they expect?
Grand Opening, Grand Closing.
I’m Just Sayin’…(Damn!)