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Cajun Charlie's Losing It?

Cajun Charlie's Losing It?
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  • Cajun Charlie's Losing It?

    Post #1 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:00 pm
    Post #1 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:00 pm Post #1 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:00 pm
    I was sorry to hear that Cajun Charlie's was "out of their depth" at the Fat Tuesday night get-together (would have been there, but was teaching a class). However, I'm not surprised.

    We tried to go there Saturday night -- and had made a reservation for four in advance for 6:30, certainly not prime time. We were stunned at what we found. Only one server on duty, and she looked like a deer in the headlights. One guy behind the back counter talking on the phone and oblivious to who was coming and going. (Charlie was in the back, and didn't seem to have his eye on anything but the grub.) Nobody acknowledged people who arrived; we were standing around with two other parties, all being ignored. There were also two tables where people had simply sat down and told us nobody had acknowledged them for over a half hour. Announcing ourselves and the fact we had a reservation to the server didn't help -- and after about 10 minutes of standing we left, figuring the place was going to be hopeless that night. (Went to Prairie Moon who was also offering cajun specials, and had a good meal without any waiting.)

    A textbook example of lousy customer service -- or more specifically, zero customer service. And they didn't start out this way. Is the only time now worth visiting them a slow weekday night?
    >>Brent
    "Yankee bean soup, cole slaw and tuna surprise."
  • Post #2 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:36 pm
    Post #2 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:36 pm Post #2 - March 2nd, 2006, 4:36 pm
    Up until Tuesday, I'd never had a bad meal at Cajun Charlie's - including the two lunches I had there to help plan Fat Tuesday. And in saying that, I’m not implying that Tuesday's food was bad – it was fine, but obviously not up to his previous standards. The bigger problem was in getting the dishes out expeditiously.

    When I spoke to him Monday to confirm the menu, he admitted that they’d been slammed over the weekend after Steve Dolinsky featured them on the ch7 10 pm Friday night news. But he also made references to how welcome the added business was, because business had been slow up until then. And as Tuesday night was winding down, he admitted that he needs to improve his ability to handle larger groups (although shortly after opening he was fairly busy and seemed to do fine).

    He also said that a portion of the help Tuesday night came from relatives. I have no specific knowledge, but I’m speculating he might have lost some experienced employees, and the replacements are rather green.

    I know he has the capability to be a very good place, (his Old Orleans, which was next to Nevin’s, I thought was always reliable) but he does seem to have hit a rough stretch recently. I’ve recently heard of other problems in addition to yours.

    I’m hoping, with enough community support in measured quantities, he can get back on track.
  • Post #3 - March 2nd, 2006, 11:57 pm
    Post #3 - March 2nd, 2006, 11:57 pm Post #3 - March 2nd, 2006, 11:57 pm
    We arrived for the dinner at 7:30 pm. All I wanted was some fried chicken and to taste the famous spaghetti.

    We left at 10:20. Still no chicken, but I believe the kitchen managed to get some frogs legs out as we were leaving. The red beans and rice were disgusting! Greens had no soul at all. Jambalaya was mediocre with a capital M. Again, no soul!!! Etouffee was bland and all rice with a few overcooked shrimp. Ribs were also very weak. I did like the catfish though, but got nary a drop of remoulade or tartar sauce to help wash it down.

    706, how can you say this food was fine?

    I was still hungry on the way home, but The Lovely Donna would not let me stop at White Castle.

    I finally got my chicken fix Wednesday afternoon at Pearl's Place, along with real collards and stellar peach cobbler.

    :( :twisted:
  • Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:24 pm
    Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:24 pm Post #4 - March 3rd, 2006, 12:24 pm
    I have only eaten at CC's once, a Sunday encounter with Cathy2 several months back. We sampled some jambalaya and etoufee both of which I found average at best.

    The jambalaya was soupy and lacking the melding of its ingredients that one expects in good jambalaya.

    The etoufee was a little too starchy for my liking as the flavor of the roux masked the flavor of the trinity and seafood.

    I thought the spaghetti sauce kicked ass.
  • Post #5 - March 4th, 2006, 7:42 pm
    Post #5 - March 4th, 2006, 7:42 pm Post #5 - March 4th, 2006, 7:42 pm
    I've been putting this off all week, hoping someone else would do the work for me, and I wouldn't have to go negative. But I'm afraid that none of the posters have done justice to how poorly done the Fat Tuesday dinner at Cajun Charlie's was.

    I split the rant up into two parts: timing/service and food.

    -Restaurant was not ready for our arrival at 7:30. Another group had been meeting there before us, and we were requested by the staff to rearrange the tables [and if memory serves, we were doing this at 8 pm].

    -No food came out of the kitchen for at least the first hour. Two hard-working [but seemingly inexperienced ] young people began bringing plates of fried seafood [frogs legs, catfish & calimari] out and are pounced on by the hungry crowd.

    -The salad and rolls showed up maybe around 9:15. [We were puzzled as to 'special' nature of special salad dressing. What I tasted was like thousand island without the islands - basically something from the mayo/ketchup/sour delite family]. Rolls were ordinary & room temperature or even colder.

    -Entrees start showing up around 9:45, and continue trickling out of the kitchen until at least 10:45. Having parked myself near the kitchen door, I believe my part of my table got at least one plate of everything. From Evil Ronnie's comment that he never tasted the fried chicken, I strongly suspect that the servers didn't do the best job of distributing food through the restaurant.

    Giovanni and I finally left at nearly 11 PM, unsure if dinner was done or not [the proposed menu included King Cake and ice cream, along with gumbo and fried okra that never materialized]. There was never a word of explanation or apology for the dinner being dragged out so unpleasantly over 3 1/2 hours. It wasn't a matter of leisurely pacing, it was a matter of disorganization that began, after a while, to feel like disrespect.

    And now on to the food:

    -My first bite of food [calimari] is unpromising; the squid and breading have good texture, but has a bitter/burned taste like the oil is old or at too high a temperature. Don't know if there were two vats of oil or more, because I did not taste this in all of the fried foods as strongly as I did here. Frogs legs and catfish were OK; the frogs legs that went by me did have remoulade. The one boiled crawfish I had wasn't quite right; it was overcooked and crusted with too much 'seasoning'.

    -Fried chicken was dry & tasteless.

    -Catfish appeared as an entree as well. Unlike the appetizer version, it had that musky bottom-feeder flavor. [ I know that this can be a feature of catfish, so I just offer this as an observation.]

    -Crawfish etoufee was gummy and had little flavor. Mostly rice, and the roux was pasty and undercooked. I had been joking that dinner was taking so long because the chef was taking time to get the roux right. I had to find a new joke after this....

    -Jambalaya wasn't any better. Texture of rice was gummy, there wasn't much shrimp or sausage in it [and the portions are so small!]. As with almost every other dish, there was no discernable onion/garlic/celery/pepper/herb flavor.

    -Red beans and rice were beyond bad. If they were more than a can of kidney beans poured over some prepared rice, you'd have to show me concrete evidence. Red beans & rice from Popeye's are better - at least they include L****d Sm*ke for some flavor.

    -Ribs and pork chops were fatty and just barely cooked through. Served with a sauce that tasted like it came straight from a bottle. Our table of 12-15 people was served one plate with 5 pork chops [which became an issue when one end of the table took some & then realized that a second dish was not forthcoming....].

    -Greens were odd: shredded, then cooked not quite to tenderness & seasoned mostly with cayenne as near as I could tell.

    -Toward the end, the "famous" spaghetti showed up. General puzzlement at the table as to what made the spaghetti famous, as well. Meat sauce, lots of garlic, not too sweet - best I can say for it.

    -And food kept trickling out to our table. Chicken wings. Frogs legs, again. It seemed as though the kitchen kept sending things out hoping that we'd get full and pay no mind to what we were actually eating.

    -Some small portions of desert were served. We were told to share them amongst ourselves.

    I was sitting near two newcomers to an LTH dinner, Giovanni [who I'd been telling for weeks how great this was all going to be] and Someday, and spent part of my evening insisting that these events were usually MUCH better than this. And, of course, they are.

    The truism still holds that the best part of the dinner was the company, but I deeply, sincerely wish that it hadn't been the only genuinely good part of the evening. The best food that night barely reached the level of mediocre. I cannot comprehend how a professional establislhment could be so poorly organized. I guess things have to not work out every once in a while, so my next LTH dinner should be spectacular.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #6 - March 4th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    Post #6 - March 4th, 2006, 8:24 pm Post #6 - March 4th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    Giovanna wrote:I've been putting this off all week, hoping someone else would do the work for me, and I wouldn't have to go negative. But I'm afraid that none of the posters have done justice to how poorly done the Fat Tuesday dinner at Cajun Charlie's was.

    I split the rant up into two parts: timing/service and food.

    -Restaurant was not ready for our arrival at 7:30. Another group had been meeting there before us, and we were requested by the staff to rearrange the tables [and if memory serves, we were doing this at 8 pm].

    -No food came out of the kitchen for at least the first hour. Two hard-working [but seemingly inexperienced ] young people began bringing plates of fried seafood [frogs legs, catfish & calimari] out and are pounced on by the hungry crowd.


    My God. Yes, we were starving. And this burnt oil-soaked dreck was all we got during the first 90 minutes. But we ate it like manna from heaven (because we were starving).

    -The salad and rolls showed up maybe around 9:15. [We were puzzled as to 'special' nature of special salad dressing. What I tasted was like thousand island without the islands - basically something from the mayo/ketchup/sour delite family]. Rolls were ordinary & room temperature or even colder.


    To their credit, the salads were served in Maggiano's style quantities -- and again, at that point I would've eaten sawdust, but even under those circumstances, I had to ask: Is this the "special" dressing folks were pining for? It was just an extra-sweet Thousand Island, with maybe a hint of vinegar. Not remarkable.

    Giovanni and I finally left at nearly 11 PM, unsure if dinner was done or not [the proposed menu included King Cake and ice cream, along with gumbo and fried okra that never materialized].


    Mrs. JiLS and I left around 11:15. No King Cake, no ice cream. Some bedraggled peach cobbler that tasted like DelMonte canned peaches and Bisquick.

    -Fried chicken was dry & tasteless.

    This was the worst fried chicken I have ever eaten, anywhere, anytime. The meat was dry as a bone. The breading was undercooked, dry, flavorless and so thick it seemed like it was layed on with a trowel. I don't usually use this adjective, but it was disgusting. Sorry, but it was just that and nothing more. And a travesty for any restaurant that purports to serve Southern food. THAT BEING SAID ... Please note what a major disappoinment this was for me; I was really looking forward to the chicken, based on this post. The flavor-free imposter I was served Tuesday bears no resemblance whatsoever to the delightful-looking bird pictured in the above link.

    Well, I don't know that I can add much more here. I agree with all the rest of Giovanna's evaluations. Despite the disappointment in the food, I still had a fantastic time, as did Mrs. JiLS. But just not with the food.
    JiLS
  • Post #7 - March 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm
    Post #7 - March 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm Post #7 - March 4th, 2006, 9:03 pm
    The worst part for me is that I've been pretty darn broke lately and I saved up for this meal. Hate to say it but it was a near total waste of my dining dollars.

    I made a comment on Friday imagining how much we could have gotten if we had all walked into Evanston Chicken Shack, thrown down $350 and said "feed us". Even with their three tables, I bet they would have done a better job. It sure as heck wouldn't have tasted like burnt ashes.
  • Post #8 - March 5th, 2006, 3:40 am
    Post #8 - March 5th, 2006, 3:40 am Post #8 - March 5th, 2006, 3:40 am
    As a minor sidelight, as the appetizers started to appear, I thanked the guy who offered the plate and explained that I'm allergic to seafood. "Oh, I'm glad you told me," he said. "Don't worry, I'll fix up something for you." But he never did, and so I had to wait for that salad to appear before I could touch anything. Don't make a promise you can't or won't keep.

    Oh, along with the cobbler, a few slices of pecan pie appeared. Mine appeared to be uncontaminated by any actual nuts.

    The interesting part of it for me was going through the Stockholm Syndrome, where as each new plate appeared I gratefully wolfed down whatever portion I could justify taking just because I was so miserably hungry.

    I know they can do better -- a few folks told me they'd eaten perfectly reasonable meals there, even recently, and at last summer's Evanston chicken tasting CC's was the least interesting of the lot, but still respectable. But I've already warned a dozen people away from them since Tuesday night.
  • Post #9 - March 5th, 2006, 11:38 am
    Post #9 - March 5th, 2006, 11:38 am Post #9 - March 5th, 2006, 11:38 am
    Giovanna wrote:There was never a word of explanation or apology for the dinner being dragged out so unpleasantly over 3 1/2 hours. It wasn't a matter of leisurely pacing, it was a matter of disorganization that began, after a while, to feel like disrespect.
    I think that this is the most important thing that anyone has said about the dinner. As someone who didn't go, I heard and read about the culinary atrocities that were presented, and have accepted the fact that they were in over their heads, and/or not the best Cajun cooks around. And I can deal with that.

    What I am having trouble with is the fact that the issues were never acknowledged and more importantly, apologized for. Folks (including myself) might be more inclined to dismiss the dinner as an unfortunate byproduct of an overwhelmed kitchen, if he would have just said that he was sorry for wasting your time and cash.
  • Post #10 - March 5th, 2006, 12:08 pm
    Post #10 - March 5th, 2006, 12:08 pm Post #10 - March 5th, 2006, 12:08 pm
    As unenthused as I was with the meal at Cajun Charlie's, I feel the need to balance this thread out a bit.

    nr706 worked very hard to put this dinner together. As someone who has planned large dinners before, I can attest to the challenge and difficulty involved in putting one of these together. I am personally thankful that he put in the work.

    I'm not apologizing for Charlie's, nor am I chiding any criticism of Charlie's. I'd just like to thank nr706 and Cathy2 for putting together a good-time gathering of LTHers. Any dissatisfaction with the restaurant's food or execution in no way reflects on the efforts involved in orgainzing the evening.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - March 5th, 2006, 12:29 pm
    Post #11 - March 5th, 2006, 12:29 pm Post #11 - March 5th, 2006, 12:29 pm
    I went to Cajun Charlie's with much greater expectations than the end result. The late serving of the food left a bad taste in many mouths before the food was even served, which was not a good way to start a meal. I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but I thought a couple of items were good. I had a couple of good pieces of catfish and chicken wings. Destination place from South Bend, No. If I lived in the area I would go back at least once to give them another shot.

    nr706 and Cathy2 worked hard to put together a great LTH event. The 3 Cs of any party were there, Company, Conversation, and Conviviality. I thank them for that.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #12 - March 5th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Post #12 - March 5th, 2006, 12:40 pm Post #12 - March 5th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    I didn't go, which may make this easy for me to say, but I guess I think statistically one of these is bound to go wrong once in a while. That doesn't excuse the particular restaurant, but I hope new folks will see that on the whole these events are successful and interesting and not be discouraged. In fact, now that the holidays are well past, we ought to step up the schedule of events, and have more events in the 20-person range (which are a lot easier to manage than the kind with no real upper limit). So if you have an idea for one, it's a good time to float it and see what the reaction is.
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  • Post #13 - March 5th, 2006, 1:01 pm
    Post #13 - March 5th, 2006, 1:01 pm Post #13 - March 5th, 2006, 1:01 pm
    Please...

    let's stop beating around the bush with all of this conviviality crap and chatter about how hard everyone worked on this dinner.

    How many of us would be so understanding this happened to us at Cheesecake Factory or Weber Grill?

    Whether Charlie is capable of doing better or not isn't relevant. You get one chance in this business to get it right. He should've dragged HIS butt into HIS restaurant and rolled up HIS sleves and gotten HIS friends, family, whatever together in HIS kitchen, in order to chop onions, celery, bell pepper, peel shrimp, cut and bread chicken, whatever, in order to be able to make good on HIS committment to us. It's HIS reputation at stake, right?

    So he got slammed over the weekend. Great. Feels good! Sir. May I have another? This is what the restaurant business is all about! Come in super early Monday morning and bang out that gumbo and Etoufee. Get that menu prepped. Take care of your customers.

    And come back tomorrow in order to do the same thing.

    This was beyond sad.

    :twisted:
  • Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 1:26 pm
    Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 1:26 pm Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 1:26 pm
    Evil Ronnie wrote:let's stop beating around the bush with all of this conviviality crap and chatter about how hard everyone worked on this dinner.


    I wasn't there, so as a dispassionate observer, my take on this is that NR706 and C2 did their best to pull off a fun event, and they got no help from Cajun Charlie’s. These reports are, to say the least, shocking, and to have several professional chefs in the audience (you, Chuck, jazzfood) makes the many bumblings seem even worse. I am in complete agreement with you, evil, on the approach that should have been taken: as in any business, when you have a lot of customers, good for you; suck it up, keep delivering, and don't let your standards fall while you're doing it. Otherwise, consider alternative employment.

    Still, NR706 and C2 get my thanks (even though I wasn't there -- thank heavens for that :wink: ) for trying to make this a worthwhile event. I almost feel that much of what is being said here would be more for Charlie's ears than anyone else’s' (though there is no doubt some cathartic value in getting this appalled anger out in the open).

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #15 - March 5th, 2006, 3:46 pm
    Post #15 - March 5th, 2006, 3:46 pm Post #15 - March 5th, 2006, 3:46 pm
    i was wondering why the silence re: this nite, then eatchicago clued me in. so...

    first, my utmost regard for the event organizers as the co was surely worth the price of admission alone. how difficult it is to get 40 people anywhere, anytime for anything? i meet the nicest people @ lth events and enjoy being able to put a face to a pseudonym.

    that said, the only thing that surpassed my anticipation of this eve was my total disappointment in the food and service. amateur, overwhelmed, underseasoned, unapologetic, oblivious, overbreaded and fried in stale oil... the fact that they're getting any play @ all off of the fanny legend is blasphemous. she must be rolling in her grave. only proves that you can't go home and if you do, it will never be the same.

    the fried chix was nowhere near correct. dry and bland. the spaghetti was a sham of a mockery of a travesty surely run through the deflavorizing machine in use in the kitchen that evening. the alleged rumored to appear salad dressing did not. even after being reminded @ the first site of the high school caffeteria iceberg and 1000 island.

    i'm in the evilronnie camp. it's your good name and rep. you get slammed, "thank you, may i have another"? you come back earlier the next day and make it happen. no excuses. you put your head down and your sleeves up. whatever it takes. if you aren't aware of that very basic restaurant 101 factoid, you shouldn't be in the business. i'd be mortified if that happened on my watch. but it wouldn't. @ least not that apparently to the civilians (public).


    _________________
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #16 - March 5th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    Post #16 - March 5th, 2006, 3:48 pm Post #16 - March 5th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    I promise not to post again on this mess. I do feel better after having vented a bit.

    Don't forget that Charlie made good money on us, $25 x 40 or so, roughly $1000.

    I could sit here and try to recreate a product list to cost this party out, but I'm just gonna ballpark this and say he spent maybe $200-250 on product based on my observations. I don't believe that he gave us more than three pounds total of cheap frozen shrimp, maybe five pounds of frozen whole crawfish, a five pound box of frozen frog legs, bag of flour, bag of cornmeal, gallon of milk, a few onions and bell peppers (very few), 5# frozen greens, maybe 15 or so lbs of frozen catfish, a 10# bag of rice, a few #10 cans of tomatoes, some shortening for the fryer...blah, blah, blah, some chicken, five pork chops, a slab or two of ribs, cheap dinner rolls...

    Ol' Charlie walked away with a nice chunk o' change.

    :twisted:
    Last edited by Evil Ronnie on March 5th, 2006, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #17 - March 5th, 2006, 3:49 pm
    Post #17 - March 5th, 2006, 3:49 pm Post #17 - March 5th, 2006, 3:49 pm
    I fully agree with all the criticisms of the food and service, and can't say I tasted one dish that was above mediocre and several were not worthy of consumption.

    That said, my wife and I still enjoyed ourselves, due entirely to the good company. As first timers, we felt very welcomed. We aren't exactly social butterflies (imagine the wing span needed to get off the ground), but several LTH regulars went out of their way to break the ice and the conversations were great.

    I can't imagine returning to Charlie's, but we won't hesitate to join you all again for the next LTH outing.
  • Post #18 - March 5th, 2006, 6:17 pm
    Post #18 - March 5th, 2006, 6:17 pm Post #18 - March 5th, 2006, 6:17 pm
    This was my and mr. foodie's first LTH event (er, second if you count the last Thirsty Thursdays.)

    I think it's evident the service and food was not great... but we are certainly thankful we experienced that night with warm company, a few jokes and stimulating conversation while we waited in anticipation for every platter of food that came.

    Our dinner at Cajun Charlies will not keep us from attending future events... so thank you for keeping us engaged. The paczki that was brought in was probably the best food offered (IMO).

    However, I'm curious - at the end of the night (we left at 11-ish), when the business logistics and payment were completed, was there any apology? Explanation? Anything to perhaps compensate for the evening?

    Were thoughts on the evening shared with Charlie at the end of the night? His reactions/thoughts/response? Surely the excuse of a busy weekend after being featured on the news can't be the only thing he said.
  • Post #19 - March 5th, 2006, 11:15 pm
    Post #19 - March 5th, 2006, 11:15 pm Post #19 - March 5th, 2006, 11:15 pm
    HI,

    While I cannot take responsibility for the opportunity Cajun Charlies blew, I do feel responsible by initiating the whole thing. While Cajun Charlies was not the first choice, that honor goes to Chuck's BBQ who ironically was present for this disaster. Only a flash of consideration was offered to Lagniappe, because all reports indicated even on their best days they would not be able to handle us. While Cajun Charlies is not Chuck’s, there was hope they could rise to the occasion. I guess the lesson learned is to have patience and wait for the first choice to become available.

    When we met for lunch 3 weeks ago, we did it to test drive the idea. Charles had indicated business was slow and was looking forward to the business lift Steve Dolinsky's endorsement would create. The stars seemed to line further in his favor when we expressed interest in having a Fat Tuesday party there. He affirmed he could handle our group promising special foods available only during Mardi Gras in addition to regular menu items.

    When I arrived Tuesday, we had to wait for a scheduled community meeting to conclude. nr706 had been talking to Charles who advised they had been slammed over the weekend by the Dolinsky driven business. This surprised me because they had at least a three week warning to prepare for the onslaught.

    Unfortunately I knew we were in trouble when I took the first bite of calamari. The stale, burnt taste was overwhelming. I later asked GP60004 how much it would have cost to change out the fryer's oil. When he advised it was $16-$20 depending on the oil, it underlined how few dollars it would have taken to take corrective action.

    Standing by the door waiting for a friend to arrive, two women came to the door. While I didn't recognize them, I offered for them to join our party. They advised they were there to return their take-out.

    I totally agree with Evil Ronnie's battle plan to get your rear in gear, bring in the volunteers and cook like you have no tomorrow. When we visited Charles he told us about the hours he cooks his roux, which was really not evident on Tuesday.

    The absence of the King Cake was wholly unnecessary. We had told Charles multiple times, if there was a problem obtaining it, then we would supply one. How much more accommodating can we be? Still there was no King Cake, no gumbo, no okra, which is all pretty unforgivable.

    In many ways Charles knew better, especially from his anecdote when the Evanston lunch group ate there shortly after it opened:

    While working at Fanny's, Charles had prepared her famous spaghetti sauce to recipe though it tasted off. Fanny decided to toss the entire batch, which had a considerable investment in ingredients. Charles suggested he could rework it instead. Fanny advised while he might be able to salvage the sauce, her customers would know better. By tossing the batch away, she knew exactly how much money she lost. If she served it anyway, there was no estimation how much money was lost in future business and bad word of mouth.


    Whatever gains Charles had on Tuesday night, though I suspect it went straight to paying bills. For the small gain, Charles lost incrementally in future business and word of mouth, a lesson which was long ago conveyed and ignored.

    I have my calendar penciled in for Chucks on Fat Tuesday, February 20th, next year.

    My regrets,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #20 - March 6th, 2006, 10:23 am
    Post #20 - March 6th, 2006, 10:23 am Post #20 - March 6th, 2006, 10:23 am
    I'm glad, Cathy, that you aren't taking the collective disappointment personally, and I hope nr706 and other organizers also understand how appreciated their work organizing and planning is. All of the makings of a great party were there but for one thing, alas, and that was the restaurant's obligation, which would have been tough to foresee. As we baseball fans say, "Wait 'til next year."
  • Post #21 - March 6th, 2006, 10:32 am
    Post #21 - March 6th, 2006, 10:32 am Post #21 - March 6th, 2006, 10:32 am
    or as cubs fans say, "any team can have a bad century"
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #22 - March 6th, 2006, 12:06 pm
    Post #22 - March 6th, 2006, 12:06 pm Post #22 - March 6th, 2006, 12:06 pm
    i went to the original heaven on 7 for Feb 28 Fat tuesday and it was wonderful. i had taken the day off to say goodby to Berghoff (lunch was a sauerbraten sammich--yummy).

    i had the crawfish tamales, with a superb sauce that i will get bac to posting on after i ask/remember (hey, i had spent morn and afternoon at the 'Hoff"

    they were very organized and had three seatings and even shoe-horned in a few extra couples who showed withiout resevervations.

    maybe we shud go there sometime?
  • Post #23 - March 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    Post #23 - March 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm Post #23 - March 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    jazzfood wrote:or as cubs fans say, "any team can have a bad century"


    After "Hey Hey," that was Jack Brickhouse's finest line.
  • Post #24 - March 6th, 2006, 2:53 pm
    Post #24 - March 6th, 2006, 2:53 pm Post #24 - March 6th, 2006, 2:53 pm
    I hadn't heard about the gathering at CC until now, so did not attend the Fat Tuesday event. However, I've been to CC on two occassions, both for dinner. The first being, June/July 2005. The place was busy and there were 2-3 servers. The food was hot and delicious. Nothing was over-cooked or over-flavored. Also, we ordered beer. The only complaint was that the credit card machine was broken, we were told. We had to walk to Walgreen's to use the ATM.

    Our second and final visit we made to CC was in November/December 2005. The place was empty and there was only one server. We brought our friends with and wanted to share the great experience we had with them. On this trip, the catfish portion was smaller and overcooked. The pieces were horrible dry. The food overall was salty. This time, they didn't have their liquor license. Once it was time to pay, we learned the credit card machine was still broken.

    We'll never return to CC, even if you pay us. The food on our second visit tasted and looked as if it had come from an entirely different kitchen than the first. We were saddened because both times, Charlie was cooking. Also, on our second visit, they said they longer accepted restaurant.com certificates.
  • Post #25 - March 6th, 2006, 3:27 pm
    Post #25 - March 6th, 2006, 3:27 pm Post #25 - March 6th, 2006, 3:27 pm
    I was really sorry that I couldn't attend the Fat Tueday event but after reading about it, I'm not quite as sad -- even though I know that it was probably fun in its own right.

    Still, as someone who has never been to CC's and was looking forward to checking it out, I have to say that I'm stunned that this happened. I mean, of all the times for the owner to mail it in, this had to have been, probably, the absolute worst. You've just received positive media coverage and have a group of 40 knowledgeable, discerning, opinion-makers knock on your door. Not only does this represent a huge loss of opportunity, it probably cuts the place off from quite a bit of prospective future business.

    The big question for me is why did this happen? Was anything ever said to the organizers, at or after the event? Were apologies made or explanations given? Was there a death in the family or some other outside emergency? These aren't necessarily excuses but could at least lead one to understand why the evening was such a complete let down.

    Service issues aside (although it's clear that they were not insignificant), what's especially distressing here is the repeated mentions of sub-standard, frozen and expired-tasting ingredients. Did the owner not understand that customers -- and especially this particular group -- were going to notice that kind of stuff immediately? It almost feels like he knows that he isn't going to be around for very much longer. Yet on the heels of the positive media coverage, that doesn't seem to add up either.

    So again, I'm really curious as to why this happened and hope that if an answer or apology is provided by ownership, it will be shared here. In the interim, I've put my possible trip to CC's on hold. Based on what I've read here, I don't even want to risk having a lunch there without finding out a bit more.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - March 7th, 2006, 1:50 am
    Post #26 - March 7th, 2006, 1:50 am Post #26 - March 7th, 2006, 1:50 am
    I was unable to make it out for the LTH dinner, but Mardi Gras stirred my desire to get some Cajun food...so my girlfriend and I headed up to Cajun Charlie's on Wednesday the 1st with a restaurant.com certificate in hand.

    There were no other customers when we walked in (a few others, including a small group, arrived about midway through our meal) , and the waiter brought out menus, water, and our drink orders fairly quickly. In order to hit the certificate minimum, we ordered Homeboy's Sampler Platter (Fried Catfish pieces, Fried Okra, Jerk Chicken Wings, and BBQ Rib Tips) as an appetizer. I ordered the jambalaya as my entree (and told the waiter to make it spicy as I recalled it being fairly bland on my first visit) and she choose a shrimp dish. After a few minutes, the waiter returned to tell us that the kitchen was out of shrimp (I wondered if you guys had eaten all of the shrimp the night before, but it seemed odd that the place wouldn't have ordered extra ingredients for the week knowing there was a large group event)...so my girlfriend had to choose a new entree, and went with the fried perch.

    The sampler platter arrived some time later...the fried okra and catfish were both tasty. We certainly didn't notice anything off with the frying oil. The chicken wings were very good...not spicy, but whatever rub was on them definitely agreed with our palates. I remarked that we should remember to order those on any future visit. The rib tips were pretty bad...very little meat to be found, and very dry.

    The entrees arrived as we were finishing up the sampler platter. The fried perch was solid...it was served with collard greens that neither of us cared for, and some soggy fries that were quite tasty nonetheless. My jambalaya was a dissapointment...obviously there was no shrimp...but there was no sausage either, and again very little spice or heat- just the faintest little aftertaste. It was pretty much rice & chicken & some veggies. It didn't taste bad by any means, but my craving for Cajun food was not satisfied.

    We didn't have any service problems; our waiter was fairly attentive and the food was delivered in a reasonable timeframe. We didn't see Charlie and our waiter's words implied that he was not in the kitchen that night. The restaurant.com certificate was accepted without issue.

    I guess our experience was better than the LTH event...but there definitely appear to be some issues at Cajun Charlie's.
    "Ah, lamentably no, my gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety" - Homer J. Simpson
  • Post #27 - March 7th, 2006, 10:27 am
    Post #27 - March 7th, 2006, 10:27 am Post #27 - March 7th, 2006, 10:27 am
    I don't know why they didn't accept the restaurant.com certificate. It certainly was a disappointment because we went out of our way to order lots of entrees.
  • Post #28 - March 7th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    Post #28 - March 7th, 2006, 2:11 pm Post #28 - March 7th, 2006, 2:11 pm
    brunswickrules wrote:I don't know why they didn't accept the restaurant.com certificate. It certainly was a disappointment because we went out of our way to order lots of entrees.


    That is odd unless they stopped accepting them then the rest website that issued them got complaints then threaten legal action against CC. Or the server was new and wasn't informed on the promotion.

    There is an experation date on em.

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