I just came back from yet another bad dining experience. What is it with the food services industry these days, anyway? Have all the good chefs and cooks committed suicide, leaving only the crappy ones to cook the food I and others eat? I am really starting to wonder if it is possible to get a good meal in this town any more. I should note that I am not deliberately going out looking for bad dining experiences. I would be happy to never have one ever again for the rest of my life.

Tonight, my son and I went to the Swiss Chalet at 1899 Cyrville Rd., Gloucester, Ontario, near the Costco, as a bit of a change of pace. I have had many good meals there in the past, and I was in the mood for some roasted chicken. It is not gourmet dining, but the food is usually edible. Except for tonight, that is. My son was not very hungry, so he just ordered a plate of fries and a drink. I ordered their “special”, which consists of a soup or salad, quarter chicken, fries, a dinner roll, and a slice of blueberry pie for dessert. I ordered a Diet Pepsi with no ice, as I don’t like my fountain pop to be watered down by melted ice, which makes it taste gross.

This is where the “fun” begins. First, our drinks arrived, and mine is quite warm. A short time later, my salad arrives, which, sadly, is a plate of lettuce with a small wedge of a small tomato and a couple little shavings from a carrot, and a few small chunks of celery. Not exactly what I would call a salad. I just wish I had thought to take a picture of it. It was one of the most pathetic salads I have ever seen in my life. I mean, who calls a plate of lettuce with a slight bit of garnish a salad?

Next, my main course arrived. The dinner roll was warm, but a bit hard, so I asked for some butter for it. The waitress returned a short time later with two butter packages, both of which were obviously fresh from the freezer, as they were hard as a rock and quite unusable. As well, the chicken was a bit on the over-cooked end of the spectrum, as the skin was quite hard to cut through. I finally managed, and the little bit of meat underneath was hardly worth the effort. I was quite hungry, so I ate it anyway. I managed to eat a few french fries as well, but the majority of them were over-cooked and burnt, obviously left in the fryer too long. I mentioned all this to the waitress, who talked to the manager, and she informed me that our entire meal was free.

Once my son finished as many of his fries as he was able to, we left. The waitress didn’t even offer to give me the slice of pie that came with my meal. Consequently, I left the restaurant still hungry. I have informed my son that the next time I suggest that I want to eat there, that he should promptly talk me out of it. That is one restaurant location I will not be returning to, ever. I may try a different location, as they are owned and run independently, so this is not a poor grade for the entire franchise.

Update (June 19, 2010): I was contacted by Swiss Chalet’s Guest Services division, and as an apology for the poor service, they have sent me a pair of $25 gift cards, good at any of their parent company’s restaurants, which comprise of Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Montana’s Cookhouse, Milestones, and Kelsey’s.

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