The Restaurant Pandemic

Bet that title got your attention! This sign certainly did as we started our date at McCray’s Tavern in East Cobb.

We’ll get to McCray’s in just a moment, but first this: Dining out certainly has changed during the COVID pandemic. Restaurant employees are underpaid and overworked and we have noticed that service has declined almost everywhere we go. It is frustrating, especially since prices have been raised as well. You never know what you are going to get on a given night. For example, we recently visited Forza Storico in Atlanta on a Friday night. Big mistake. The food was highly photogenic and tasted as good as it looked.

However, the service was shall we say nicely, terrible. It’s hard to say if it was the wait staff or the kitchen staff, but we waited about 90 minutes for our food to arrive. The same thing happened to us at Depalma’s in Athens, one of our favorites in the Classic City. It took 90 minutes before any food arrived at the table and it was a Thursday night. We were so anxious to eat that we didn’t even take pictures!

When we see a sign like that at McCray’s, it does not give a lot of confidence that the night will go well. Keep your expectations low. We can at least say that it didn’t go as badly as Forza or Depalma’s.

McCray’s is located where Loyal Q used to be in the Parkaire area. We loved Loyal Q and really want to like McCray’s because they are about to put one on the square in Marietta.

They have gotten rid of a lot of tables to open the space up inside. They also added a large outdoor area, because that’s how you have to operate these days.

Things start off well, with a good beer list and the Big A$$ Pretzel. Yes, that’s what they call it.

Is that pretzel smiling? We were smiling after eating it. It’s ass wasn’t THAT big! We are joined by our regular double daters Stefanie and Bill for our monthly meeting of the Cobb County Dining Society. Let’s show you what they ordered, a salad and a burger.

You get to pick a side with your burger. I am torn between the ahi tuna sandwich and a big, juicy burger. I pick the Monfort Square burger, which is bacon and pimiento cheese. Ordered medium rare, it’s not even close. It is medium-well and very dry.

There is hardly any cheese on the burger. The house-made chips are the best thing on this plate. Should have gone with the ahi. Eve has the same problem with her classic burger.

She likes to keep things simple. This is basically a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato. It too is overcooked. Our dreams of a big, juicy burger are squashed by a bad cook. When the waiter comes to check on us, I do complain, and he shrugs. What’s a customer to do? After seeing that sign, there is no way I am going to take it further. He did take one of the burgers off of the check. I would much rather pay full price and get the meal that I hoped for.

The bottom line on McCray’s: If a tavern can’t make a decent burger, it has a problem. Let’s hope the East Cobb chef isn’t transferred to Marietta when they open on the square.

One thought on “The Restaurant Pandemic

  1. Hi you two!! We too have found eating out has become more a ‘miss’ than a hit – and not just $-$$ places. We had a TERRIBLE experience at one of our fave restaurants: KYMA (Buckhead Life Group = $$$+) Possibly one of the worst servers ever. Not going into details, but when the maitre’d admitted ‘they are having a hard time getting quality servers’ you know it’s bad. I feel for the restaurants – they probably cross their fingers when they hire now. And yes, the prices have increased everywhere. We can only hope things improve and hopefully soon, but I’m not sure it will be as soon as we’d like.

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