The Cheesecake Factory: Bird food for the whole family?

So it’s spring break and we once again take our kids out to local attractions to broaden their minds while my wife picks restaurants to broaden her waistband. It’s our week of splurge.

Well, it would have been.

It’s my fault, really. I should have known that with a girly name like “Cheesecake Factory” the place wouldn’t be worth a damn. But I was feeling all magnanimous and happy to be away from my craphole of work for a week. So I caved in.

Man, the prices in the over-decorated restaurant were high. But seeing as how the decor was right out of an old folks home or a 70s gangster movie, I kind of expected that. Being a bit of a rebel and a cheeseburger connoisseur, I opted for a burger, instead of some fru-fru platter of poached pomegranates smothered in sissy sauce.

Our waitress was fantastic. Despite the fact she looked like she was barely out high school, the girl was an old pro at the serving game. Plenty of smiles, graciousness, neat and clean and superb service.

And when the food came I was shocked to see the bathtub-sized platter of food my wife got. Same for my oldest daughter, who got a ginormous platter of spaghetti. It was clear both the girls would be taking food home. My mouth started to water at the idea of a Fred Flintstone-sized bronto burger. Instead, I got a happy meal. Without the toy.

I shit you not, I have gotten burgers from Dairy Queen the same size. Maybe bigger. Americana Burger? More like, tiniest-assed country in Central America burger. A Texan would have bitch slapped somebody if they were served something that small. My God, it was like White Castle catering a fancy dinner. But on a giant sized plate. You could have fit three or four of those burgers on there. Did the waitress drop some of my food on the way from the kitchen? Do I really need a foot-long plate for a single quarter-pounder? I sure as hell didn’t need it for the bouquet of french fries served in a metal cup on the side. Wrapped in paper and planted in the cup to make it look like I got more than I could count on both hands- but which I really could.

You know, I can understand a restaurant that hikes it’s prices sky high and serves diet-sized portions. It’s for a healthy profit margin. But why in the hell do you serve a bucket of spaghetti and a kiddie burger in the same place? I damn well know that I didn’t order off the kid’s menu.

My wife sat there and gorged herself on a major portion of the Atlantic’s shrimp population, pushing her plate away and complaining she was stuffed. Same for my oldest daughter- lamenting that she just couldn’t eat any more of that wonderful spaghetti. Me and my cheeseburger crumbs were not amused. My littlest made it worse by not eating her grilled cheese. It was “yucky.” So we got her a second dinner of kids’ chicken strips. Which I’ll note was more food than my happy meal.

After everyone else finished- I had been done with my dining experience in like five minutes- we ordered cheesecake. At $7 a slice. I was expecting a candy-bar sized sliver of screw-you, but we actually got some decent-sized slices. Of course, at that price-to-food ratio, a whole cheesecake would have cost Donald Trump prices. My wife and oldest again lamented how full they were. I of course didn’t have that problem, since the mouthful of cheeseburger I got was rolling around in my stomach all alone.

End result: $93.00 for our family of four, which I calculated was the same as almost three trips to Five Guys.

Will I return? Not very likely. Unless I have a bag of carry out from a real restaurant with me. Like sneaking food into the movie theater.

Cheesecake Factory: Not Dad friendly.

Troglodad is a cave-dwelling dad from Indiana. You can follow him @TrogloDAD or check out his blog at troglodad.com.

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