Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dining In Cobb – again continued


The Genealogy of a Restaurant

Once there was a Waffle House between the Cobb County towns of Kennesaw and Acworth on the 4-Lane at Blue Springs Road.

The Waffle House closed and an ex-postal employee bought it and converted it into a restaurant that specialized in deep fried oysters, shrimp, scallops, catfish, and hushpuppies.

Then he sold it to a group or family of Koreans.

At work a carrier told me about how good he thought he was. I told Anna and one day we drove up the 4-Lane looking for this place, which the carrier, told me the name was Oyster King.

We found it. The place lived up its expectations. The jumbo shrimp was delicious. They were deep fried in a very light batter. Very good. I think there is almost no variance of what comes with your entrée – it is always french fries and cole slaw. The only variance is you can also order hushpuppies if you want.

The staff people were very efficient. They usually had one Caucasian waitress and the rest of the staff seemed to be Koreans who hardly knew any English at all.

The Waffle House size restaurant was always crowded. The crowd usually consisted of, well, the blue collar crowd – if we went on Saturday evening we could count on seeing most of the customers in their Saturday night dancing clothes. If they were not blue collar they used to be… you could tell somehow… they were still rough around the edges, so to speak.

We heard the original owner went back in the business and we went to his restaurant to check it out. He named his new restaurant The Original Oyster King. As far as we were concerned it didn’t even compare to the Korean owned Oyster King. For one thing, the food just wasn’t as good. The clientele were more than blue collar, they were more of a redneck species… loud and obnoxious. Also, they were clickish. Everybody knew each other – we felt like outsiders.

At the Korean-owned Oyster King nobody knew you – which is a good dining arrangement.

We went there often for a long time. We carried Anna’s mother and she liked it and went back often with us. For a few years, it was our tradition to have our New Years Eve dinner there.

Then, everything changed. We went there one evening to eat and there was a sign up saying, “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon”

Over the next two or three years we checked often. First, the building was bulldozed down and the sign saying “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon” was put on a sign by the empty space that was once the restaurant. Then, the old closed motel next door that families of Mexicans was demolished. Then the next time the whole area was bulldozed away, maybe ten acres of exposed Georgia red-clay with the sign “Close for Remodeling – will re-open soon” still standing.

Then sometime early this year streets were cut in the big vacant bare field and in one corner a nice looking building went up.

Then, one big storefront of the building said “Oyster Café” with another sign, saying “opening soon”.

Around mid July we dropped by and saw a worker outside and asked when was it going to open – he said he thought they were going to open at the end of the month. They didn’t.

Since then we have checked and checked. I wonder why they changed the name?

Yesterday, after letting at least a month go by, we checked again. It was opened! Yea!

We called Anna’s mother and told her and told her we would pick her up that evening.

When we arrived the parking lot of the little shopping center was packed with cars. There was a line of people waiting to go in. But it wasn’t too bad of a wait, we only waited about 15 minutes.

When we went in we saw the place was lively. A lot of tables and a lot of people – and many waitresses rushing to tables with trays of plates carrying what they were known for, shrimp or catfish, cole slaw, and french fries.

Honestly, the french fries and cole slaw has not been all that good. I don’t anybody there were there because fo their french fries and cole slaw.

I overheard somebody say they have been opened 3 weeks and it has been like that every evening. We wondered what is going to happened when more businesses move in – where will their customers park? I think the only solution is for them to expand.

At the table next to us were two couples – one of the men was drunk, loud, and obnoxious. I wonder if they were kicked out of The Original Oyster King and came here?

We ordered and also ordered an appetizer of steamed oysters.

In the Oyster King before the waiting staff was a Caucasian woman and Asian woman – and I think they wore what they wanted to. Now, I think there are at least six waitresses, all wearing the same type of blue shirt – about 4 Asians and 2 Caucasian now. Then there were others who wore maroon shirts. Only the hostess that seated the people had no uniform… before in the old Waffle House building, the waitress seated you.

To make a long story short (or is it too late for that?) it took what seemed forever to get our food. We saw people come in after we were seated and got about the same thing we ordered before. We let our waitress know that other people after us were getting their food before us and she blamed it on the cooks – she said there were only 3 of them tonight.

I think we may have confused the situation by ordering an appetizer of steamed oysters on the half-shell before our meal… good thing we did or I may had to resort to crawling on the floor and sneak food off our neighbors’ plates.

Either that or it was our waitress’s fault. Maybe plates with jumbo shrimp, cole slaw, and french fries is a pretty standard thing that most people get… and at the counter that separates the cooks from the bar, it is just the first waitress up to the counter gets it.

Either way, it seems with their new building with a plush atmosphere, and the bigness of it all – they seemed to have lost their efficiency.

After it was all said and done, eaten, and burped we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t all that good after all…. Or it was as good as it always has been – it tasted the same, and it was great for a non-pretentious building the size of a small diner with a big video machine by the one restroom. But, now, it has lost something in its own luster.

And again, our mind-sets have changed since they closed to re-do themselves - with heart attacks and strokes we usually avoid deep fried foods.

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2 Comments:

Blogger kenju said...

Too bad it wasn't as good as you remembered, Eddie. Places around here are like that, especially Asian ones. Parents and grandparents come here and set up a restaurant which is great, gets very busy, and then they retire and hand it over to their kids, who make a mess of it, get a low health rating and go out of business.

6:58 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Judy,
You are right, it wasn't as good as we remembered it, but it tasted the same as we remembered it. As far as the food, we were the ones that changed.

8:13 AM  

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