Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bowie Restaurant Project: (43) Barnes & Noble Cafe

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Barnes & Noble Cafe, 15455 Emerald Way
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 02/14/2012
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2 (plus one where I was just buying books)
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Once again we visit a "restaurant" that barely hits the minimum requirements. Could you say, "Hey, let's meet at Barnes & Noble, grab some dinner there, and sit and eat it"? Yes. I don't recommend it as a first date, however. It does, however, beat the food court Dairy Queen, our previous example of "barely a restaurant".

Why? Well, the selection isn't awful. A few sandwiches that are pleasant enough, and a couple of different soups. Since it's mainly devoted to selling drinks, the beverage selection is pretty good.

The service is not stellar. The first time I went, I was tempted by an offer of a $2 cookie for only $1 with purchase of a sandwich. While waiting for my sandwich, I looked at my receipt and, hey, they charged me $2. What followed was five minutes of let-me-figure-out-how-to-refund-this-oh-wait-I-have-to-call-someone-over. I have seen this dance at too many stores. I don't think the workers are dragging things out in the hopes that I'll say, "Never mind." But I think Barnes & Noble keeps teaching how to give a refund low on the employee training -- and not because they think their clerks never make mistakes.

The second time I went, only one person was on duty, which is just ridiculous for any food establishment more complicated than an ice cream truck. Everybody was nice to me both times, but you might want to bring a book. (Or wander over and peruse their surprisingly good games selection -- yay, Agricola.)

As I said, the sandwiches weren't bad. Based on the quality of the food, it could rise to a two-star establishment, which is pretty good for not-really-a-restaurant. The quality of the service makes it lose a half-star. Given the wealth of other options in Bowie Town Center, I don't feel bad only giving it a star and a half.

Bowie Restaurant News

As I suspected from the restaurant guide, Panda Express is now closed. When I stopped by to look, this not-very-interesting sign was in its place. I heard construction noises coming from behind the sign, which is encouraging, I guess. After I left, I wondered how much construction you really need to do to turn Panda Express into Asian Chao.

Still, good for Bowie Town Center to turn around the location so quickly. Two other spots in the food court remain long-vacant, however.

The City of Bowie has posted a new version of the restaurant guide which incorporates most of my corrections. They deleted Corridor Beer & Wine, but not the three restaurants located just outside city limits. They also added the Uptown Cafe.

They found a mistake I hadn't caught until after my previous round of corrections. They had claimed 94 "eating establishments", but listed only 93. That means my derived number of 80 should actually be 79. So after this review, I am down to 37 to go (32 that are actually open now.)

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