My daughter loves chocolate chip pancakes, so after an early morning doctor's appointment we decided to stop off at the IHOP on Gordon Drive here in Sioux City, IA. Now, we have eaten here just 3 times since moving to Sioux City (2 years ago). Out of those 3 times, there was only one good experience, but for chocolate chip pancakes- you just go. Well, when we arrived the parking lot was not very crowded. It was around 8:30am on a Monday, so I was hoping our service would be quick. When we went in I should have taken note to the first BIG red flag- not very crowded, but had to wait a few minutes for someone to even come over to seat us. The waitress that took us to our seat was not cordial at all. She just motioned and walked us to a table. Once at the table the menus were plopped down and the waitress was gone. I took notice to her seating 2 other ladies at a table where they had friends waiting. Then she was gone again. After a moment she came rushing by the table and said, "Oh, can I get you something to drink??"
I spoke quickly, since I didn't want her to disappear again. I tried to get out the words "we are ready to order", but as you might have guessed- poof she was gone. As we waited for our drinks I had time (lots of time) to look around the dining room that we were seated in. Most of the customers looked like they might be just taking a break from work to grab a bite to eat, but out of the 4 occupied tables not one of them had food on their tables. As the disappearing waitress reappeared from behind the wall, she greeted another family at the door, and then dropped off our drinks. Yep- she was poof, again.
Now, we had already been in the restaurant 10 minutes, just got our drinks, and still no order. I started to think maybe this waitress must be the only IHOP employee at work. After, another few minutes, the waitress came by our table and stopped (we are making progress, I thought). Now, here is the 2nd BIG red flag- she stopped and said "Oh, I forgot about you. Are you ready to order?" REALLY???? So, my daughter and I placed our order- nothing fancy- just the the chocolate chip pancakes and a BLT. How long could that take, right?? Well, off she went again- to where I could not say, maybe to Hy-Vee to grocery shop or maybe over to Perkins to borrow a cup of sugar.?? So, here we were just sitting, waiting, waiting, and waiting- oh, and watching other tables get their orders.
One interesting thing I noticed was a group of gentleman sitting in the back. I guess I noticed them, because they were so excited to see someone bring food to their table. They were all digging into their plates, like it had been a long time since they had eaten. Which I knew I was going to act like when we finally got our order. Now, one of the men had ordered steak and eggs. Something was not right with the plate, not sure what it was, but what happened next was strange. The waitress (not ours- she was still MIA) grabbed a plate from behind the wall and proceeded back to the gentleman's table. She raked off the food on his plate onto the plate she brought, the only thing she left was the steak. As she tossed the plate with food onto his crowded table (it almost slipped on the floor), she grabbed the plate with the steak and disappeared behind that wall.
That wall must have contained some secret passage to places far away, because that is where our waitress disappeared behind. I was giving Jenni the play by play of what I was watching, so to take our minds off our growling stomaches. It was not long and another lady brought the gentleman the steak back, it must have been the same one, because he was just shaking his head, while the other guys laughed. Maybe that was a 3rd BIG red flag.
Well, no food, rude wait staff, flat soda is all a good mix to make a grumpy momma. My daughter and I checked the time- we had been in IHOP an hour, but no food. About the time we were checking our watches the MIA waitress appeared long enough to literally slam down a slimy bottle of ketchup on our table. The slam was so hard our sodas and silverware bounced. No words were exchanged during this slam by, she just disappeared behind the wall again. Now, I know chocolate chip pancakes were the desire of my daughter and I love to give her the desires of her heart, but enough was enough. After the slam by, we had been there over an hour, guest that arrived after us were already eating and some were done and leaving. Patience was gone. I looked at my daughter and I told her there was no way pancakes were worth this wait. So we left. No chocolate chip pancakes. No BLT. No more IHOP! If our previous visits had been pleasant, then there would be a return visit. However, since that is not the case, there will be no more IHOP.
In my humble opinion, if you decide to eat at this IHOP, maybe you should bring some snacks to eat and maybe a tracking device to place on your waitress. With those 2 things, you will not get hungry and you will at least know where the waitress poofs to.