Saturday, November 13, 2010

Closed for Business, Charleston, SC

Should Just Close

In an attempt to have a “kitschy” name for their restaurant, they are perhaps beginning a self-fulfilling prophecy – Should be Closed for Business.
Inside CFB

On a beautiful fall day we wandered into Closed for Business for lunch. It was about 12:30 p.m.  The restaurant was empty except for about 10 people. I thought that it was odd as the streets were packed with tourists and it was lunch time. However, I then realized why the place was deserted.

A part of the Poe’s, Taco Boy, Monza group of restaurants, Closed for Business apparently has opened in the spring after extensive renovations. These renovations must have been designed to make the restaurant old and somewhat dumpy, with a neighborhood bar type of feel. Not bad. They carry 30 plus beers on tap, many of which were locally brewed.  I liked that too.

After no one approached or acknowledged us we asked if we could sit in a booth in the back.  I, unfortunately, sat facing the kitchen. 

Our waitress greeted us fairly quickly, but then did one of the worst things a server can do.  As we are scanning the just under 20 menu item options all of a sudden the waitress (whose name we never received), laid half of her body across the table (what is this, Hooters?), and asked if we wanted something to drink.
Kitchen View

As a former waitress many moons ago, I was always taught to be polite, don’t be too chummy (you’re not the table’s friend), don’t sit down with them, don’t invade their space, and be respectful. This was hardly the case.

We ordered a beer and a diet coke to start.  The diet coke was promptly served while the beer took some time (again, 10 people were in the place…). When the beer was delivered she quickly mentioned that she had rung up the wrong beer, and wanted to see if I would want to try the beer she’d ordered.  It was ok, so I kept it. I was worried that if I didn’t she would need a posse to get another one.

We ordered a few things that we’ve not had before – BBQ Fried Pork Rinds, a Chicago style hot dog and a Pork Slap.  This seemed to be their signature dish as the backs of some of the tee shirts worn by the staff said, “Slap Happy”.

As we waited I watched a cook (one of three cooks that could have cared less to have been there) and a manager get into a battle.  A to-go order was not correct. In fact the manager mentioned that she wouldn’t serve the dish because it was burnt.  Back and forth the box was shoved and finally the manager won. This did not give us any sense of confidence regarding our lunch.

Smallest Hotdog with ancient garnish
And then we waited, and waited, and continue to wait. (Three more people had entered the restaurant, so now we’re up to 13). Twenty five minutes later our sandwich and hot dog were delivered. “We ordered pork rinds as an appetizer,” I said. “Hee, hee, hee,” she laughed. “Sorry”. Not “would you still like them?” “I’ve obviously made a mistake, how about the pork rinds for dessert?” “How can I fix this?”  Nope just laughter and a hair flip.

One thing this place does have is the world’s smallest hot dog.  with some garish that looks like it's past it's expiration date. Years ago, “Lil’ Smokies” were an old fashioned hor d’voures served with spaghetti sauce, this rivaled it. Let’s not forget, size does matter. The fries were the best part of the dish. 

Slap Happy 
My “slap” was crap.  It was the only sandwich that I’ve had in my lifetime that actually did not have any flavor. Nothing, zero, zip.  Here’s a sandwich that has a green tomato, “special house sauce”, cheese, fried pork and it tasted like nothing, very odd.  Again the fries were the best part of lunch and they were marginal.
We waited for our check for a long time. And after another table-body-slam and a hair flip we were paying our tab and on our way.

One thing that I’d like to mention is that the entire time we were there we thought that someone was smoking European cigarettes in the kitchen (heck, they had the time), or somewhere in the restaurant, but we were wrong. As we left we noticed a large bench where folks were perched smoking. The bench was so close to the front door of the restaurant (which was open) that the smoke permeated the room. Gross.

The name “Closed for Business” was the best part of the meal. Too bad it wasn’t, closed, that is.

We gave Closed For Business the "Cracked Plate" of shame rating.

Closed for Business on Urbanspoon


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