Radford Restaurants

On a recent trip to Easton, Maryland to visit Laura’s family we met up with her mother’s parents at Latitudes restaurant in Oxford. This place is amazing. I had perfectly cooked duck over seared potatoes and Laura had flat iron seared flank steak, which is her favorite steak when it is cooked properly, which it was. I’m so lucky to have her family in my life. They honestly and genuinely care for one another and take an active interest in our lives, which is touchingly refreshing.

Even so, I was a bit thrown when Papa Baldwin, who will forever be my hero (he designed solid state rocket fuel systems for NASA – his picture is in the Smithsonian, no lie), looked at me and asked me, “So, Ron, what is your schedule like?” Since my return to graduate school full time, I haven’t thought much about my schedule. I just do what is due. I thought for a minute. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, my day begins around 7:00 a.m. when I finish reading, studying, writing reading responses, work on my thesis, study for Praxis II, write scholarly responses and get ready for work. I am typically running late for work, search wildly for parking and work from 11-5. I then have class until nine, after which I commute the 45 minutes back home.

On Wednesday, I have meetings for other responsibilities, work on writing, study for Thursday’s class and try to cook for Laura. I try to take Friday off if Laura is off; otherwise it’s getting caught up with missed assignments and preparing for lectures. I also typically maintain this blog on Wednesday and Friday. Saturday, it’s off to the Farmers Market or on blog assignments if we’re not travelling. Sunday, it’s back to the keyboard for writing.

Am I complaining? No. NO! It’s exciting, I’m happy and enjoying myself for the first time in years. I’m doing something I love and am passionate about. I only have one complaint.

Why is it that Radford can’t have one, just one, decent restaurant? Just one? BT’s just sucks, which is disappointing for I have very fond, if not hazy, memories of that place from my former stint at Radford University.  Macado’s is well, what it is. Since Jack’s subs shut down, I’ve had nowhere to really go for a quick meal in the hour I have between work and class. I’ve been choking down Subway and finally threw in the towel and said, no more.

So, I was excited yesterday when a co-worker mentioned the River City Grill. After work, I dashed off downtown to find the place. I almost left immediately. The place was filthy. Grungy, dank, ripped carpet, trash on the floor, exposed construction – it wasn’t inviting. It didn’t help that a cook with a filthy apron was wandering around the front house. Before I could flee, a very attentive server seated me at a table that was too short for the chair, which caused an awkward hunch while I was waiting for my food.

Those of you that follow my blog know that I never write bad reviews about anything. If I don’t like it, I don’t go, and I don’t submit you to reading about it. So, it is with utter frustration that I write this.

The menu was dirty. My glass was dirty and plastic. My silverware was dirty. The table wasn’t cleaned. Did I mention trash on the floor? The service was outstanding. My waiter was prompt and courteous, professional even, as he brought out my French Dip, which was made in nine minutes flat. It apparently doesn’t take long to slop some microwaved meat on a roll three times the size of the ingredients that are on it, cut it in half and put it on a dirty plate. It was disgusting. It is rare that I can’t eat what is served me. Gordon Ramsey I am not. My fries were still frozen in the middle. My ketchup was warm. The sad slice of pickle accompanying the pitiful sandwich and raw fries was actually hot to the touch. I shoved things around the plate and made a show of eating it, paid my tab and fled.

The sad thing is, when I mentioned the place to my peers in class, they couldn’t believe it was so bad. Then I mentioned the fries. One of my classmates spoke up. “Oh, yeah…don’t get the fries. Or a sandwich. But the breakfast items are ok!” As a professor of mine said last semester, “It is very sad that, as a town, we were excited when Applebee’s opened.”

Anyone want to open a decent restaurant in Radford? I’ll be there.

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