Please note that the following was actually written on May 25th, 2011 - the day it took place. I just haven't had time to post it until now.
I just had the strangest, most slightly negative yet also somehow positive experience at an airport restaurant. Specifically, the Sweetwater Bar & Grille in Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International.
We arrived in Atlanta around 7 PM – prime time for dinner, unfortunately. But I was starving, and with a nearly three hour layover all I could think of was sitting down at a real restaurant. Our choices in the B terminal were a TGI Friday’s and a Sweetwater Grille. The latter appeared to possibly have a shorter wait, so we dutifully lined up behind our fellow travelers and waited about ten or fifteen minutes to be seated.
One thing I noted while waiting is that despite there being numerous people traveling by themselves and despite the fact that the line was consistently a half dozen or more people deep, the hostess wouldn’t even ask if single passengers would sit together! Again, it’s not like we waited long but it all just seemed a bit silly that people couldn’t be coupled at tables together.
Our waitress approached the table within five minutes of us sitting down and very bluntly asked if we wanted something to drink. “Can I get an ice water and—“
But before I could order my gin and tonic, she abruptly turned away from me and said, “And you?” to my husband. He had been perusing the drink menu, but her demeanor pretty much said “order it now or not at all”, so he asked for a Stella. “I need to see your ID,” she stated – but before he could pull it out, she was gone!
We were both obviously a bit stunned; the ladies at the table next to us laughed and sarcastically noted that our waitress was “quite a sweetheart”. Dually noted, as when she came back to take our food order (and thankfully, my gin and tonic order as well) she was just as abrupt and again asked for my ID and then turned away to assist someone else.
Also, my sandwich apparently came with a side, but I don’t know if she thought she heard me say I wanted potato salad or simply didn’t feel like giving me a choice, because she read back our order to us, tacked on a “potato salad” to my sandwich when doing so, and was long gone before I could even open my mouth to protest.
The food itself came quickly and was, as almost all airport food, average at best. The hummus was too mealy (which says a lot; I’m a bit hummus nut) and although the aioli was good on the hummus platter, there was randomly some sort of pico de gallo included but nothing to really dip in it. Steve’s turkey sandwich had far too much bread and my Philly steak sandwich was a bit dry. All in all…still better than fast food, I suppose.
And as, well, something-just-short-of-rude as our waitress was, she got our order right. And she was quick about it. So I suppose it could have been worse.
I think mostly this is one of those “had to be there” stories. Because had you been there and seen the looks on our faces when she first spoke to us…this would probably be as amusing to you as it was to us.