I used to know a kid. He grew up and opened a restaurant in St Looey called Sauce on the Side. I lost touch with him, but thanks to the wonder of Facebook, I caught up with him about 15 years after I’d last seen him. While it’s true I don’t live anywhere close to St Louis, we traveled through there recently. My official title was “Excellent Restaurante Finder,” since Driver, Navigator, Teenager, and Are-we-there-yet-er, were taken.
I phoned ahead. OF COURSE. The answer threw me off. All I heard was, “Hello?” Don’t businesses say the name of their establishment usually, to keep the caller from saying, like I did: “Is this Sauce on the Side?”
Thought I’d go ahead and place our order to pick up in an hour, when we’d be driving through the city. They thought different. “Um, can you call back closer to the time?” Maybe they didn’t have the electronic ability to mark an hour for any future time? Almost always agreeable and willing to accommodate, I agreed with a laugh. The guy had made me laugh early on by telling me he would write “Andale! Andale!” to speed up the order. (We would later find out how ironic this was.)
In 30 minutes, I called the hello guy back. He needed to put me on hold. Actually, he needed to put me on HOOOOOLLLLLLLD. Three minutes later, I called back thinking maybe my call had been dropped. I called back — TWELVE TIMES. Each call went to their voicemail, which says, “don’t leave an order on here, buddy. call back.”
Finally, I reached them and placed our order. Thanks to the wonders of electronic navigation, we cruised right downtown and found a parking place in front of the store. We went in and I told them I was there to pick up an order for Susan.
This started a veritable “who’s on first?” comedy of errors. That’ll be $39, he said, and handed me two receipts. One for me to sign, one for me to keep. So far, so good. But THEIR copy of the receipt said $42.65, and my copy of the receipt was for a completely different order and had been signed by Brandon. I inquired about the difference in the price, and mentioned that Brandon’s receipt really wasn’t mine.
The young man (let’s call him Dude) was clearly mystified. Apparently, they had had another order for another Susan, which was further confusing this terribly bemusing situation. So, Dude called another guy (aka Fuzzy Hair) over to investigate this huge mystery. Of course, in any case of mystification, the confusing item must be restated at least 8 times. Dude and Fuzzy Hair needed a third guy to come and powwow with. Crewcut, who I suspect was management, came in and authoritatively cleared everything up. But this process took approximately 10 minutes.
Remember I had called ahead.
We proceeded to wait for about another 15 minutes in the store. The order was originally supposed to take 20 minutes. So, from the time I called in, it had now been about 40 minutes. Well, we weren’t in a big hurry, so we were ok with it.
Finally, Fuzzy Hair walked out from behind the counter and began to call out my name in a monotone: “Suzanne, Suzanne.” Pretty much exactly like Bueller’s teacher did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He walked to the left of the pillar in the center of the restaurant, and was walking clockwise. I heard “Suzanne” and assumed it was me. Problem was, I was on the opposite side of the pillar, and also walking clockwise. I began to speed up more and more, but couldn’t seem to catch him! I finally decided to stop, drop, and roll. Or at least stop and turn around.
We had to ask for silverware. Hm, seems like something that should be included in an order which contains three salads. But, I digress. Suzanne and the crew carried the to-go food to the car and began loading back up. Suddenly, Fuzzy Hair appeared next to the car. “Do you have a pen?” he asked. “Did you eat at Sauce on the Side?” (as though we are complete strangers he’s never seen before).
Sadly, the extra chicken we paid $2 each for for three salads was only on one of them, so the three of us divided the two little pieces of chicken into sixths.
The salads were good. The calzone was reportedly good. The location was good. The restaurant decor was cool, although a bit of a mystery.
However, I’m all for letting “art … flow … over me.” The guys were friendly. Overall, it just seemed like they were still working out some of the bugs. I don’t know how long they have been open, but they are opening a second location, so it’s been a little while.
Although I didn’t get to see the guy I used to know who was the reason we even stopped there, I’m glad we stopped. I recommend it, and even more so if you are eating there, and can have them correct anything they leave off.
I love the concept and the energy that clearly exists among the three principles. So, much to commend it. Just don’t walk clockwise around the pillar when you hear your name (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). Stand there.
Suzanne? Suzanne? Suzanne?