My perspective on food in our area has changed a lot over the last few years. We travel a lot, we eat out a lot, and I think that there are meals that are deserving of the pricing being asked, and then I think there are places that charge way too much for basic food, that is simply prepared, and placed on a dish. Dining all over the world from here to Italy kind of makes me review everything we have seen and tried and I have to tell you, this latest dining experience in my our hometown area was a bit of a disappointment. Dining out is a time to enjoy friends, family and time away from all the craziness of life, even if there are crowds around you, the volume does not bother you because you are OUT. I firmly believe in ordering what I want, when we are out, because that is my time, and my husband is the same way, we don’t hold back because of a price tag. The story I am going to tell you is a tad different: last night, when we were out in a Pittsburgh Suburb ‘Chain’-like restaurant the strangest thing happened when we asked for a small change in menu: it would seem as though the inadequacy we found in their menu, and our ask, created something of a hole in their heart, which translated to a hole burned into our pocket with a request for cash. I am most disappointed in a few things at the restaurant this time round as things seem to be changing. Growing up and watching this particular ‘CHAIN’ establish was something to really admire, but it would seem that the customer may not be what makes this particular restaurant tick! Lavishly live this tale of dining out, out loud as I discuss the demise of a restaurant we loved for their specialty foods, now all I can say is Atria’s what happened to the Pot Roast Nachos Atria’s?
After being transplanted from CHICAGO at the ripe old age of 10, I then grew up in Mount Lebanon, which many of you may not know. Over off of McFarland Avenue sat what seemed to be a tiny local bar that soon transitioned into a mounting Pittsburgh Chain…ATRIA’S. I remember my one girlfriend’s dad used to frequent the bar nightly and get a little snookered and then saunter home, but he always was bragging about the food. Then it was just a basic place jeans, tees, so casual and right there for everybody’s taking. Time sure have changed, and it’s become a smashing sensation in the Pittsburgh area it is a big chain restaurant. We have continued to dine there, it was quite good, my kids loved the sliders, my husband the Pot Roast Nachos and I loved their salads.
I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but something really has changed, it’s not just the portions or the service, but the whole Atria’s itself. Let me give you a little perspective of what is going on in my mind as I write this article and then let it guide you to your own judgement. We just returned home from Outer Banks and Virginia Beach, dining at some very affluent and delicious restaurants. I was with my children and on our last night we had a banner meal, at a beautiful, historic landmark, and four of us dined, with alcohol, appetizers and dessert for $108. Ask me and I will tell you for the food we had, the way it was presented, the location and the taste of the delicious Glasses of Wine, it was a bargain!
Conversely, last night two of us dined out at Atria’s and rather than coming out with a great story and one that spelled satisfied, I am left questioning the asking price of the meal as well as the salad. Normally, if we dine out and I don’t like it, I just let it go, I don’t write about it, but I believe that this place should be SO different than how it is, as its beginnings were grounded in the delivery of great food, and being so accommodating. Times have changed, and I don’t mind saying, my speaking out has changed too. I want to dine and enjoy food, and paying a nice price for it is fine, when it is deserving of such price. We ordered 2 drinks, an appetizer, and 2 main meals, and our price tag for the night….. $85. OUCH if you ask me.
What Happened To The Pot Roast Nachos Atria’s?
The Pot Roast Nachos: All I can say is “Atria’s where’s the beef?” My husband used to LOVE these, as they were loaded with Pot Roast and I would always pick the nachos out that were sins pot roast while he would munch on it. Not this round, we were lucky there was a plate of nachos, it was 1/2 the size of what we used to get and the cost was $12.99. Were there enough to be shared really? Your answer is no, in fact if that would have been all we had gone in to dine on, such as an appetizer and drinks I would have left hungry. Did I mention that the chips were burned? Now the cheese as you can see was not melted it was more like cheap cheese that never melts but never gets that great taste……..What is going on here? What Happened TO The Pot Roast Nachos Atria’s? You were known for these and your drinks.
Did we talk about the drinks yet? The taps were down, so it was bottles up or no brew baby. Seriously, this restaurant location was having a zero batting average with us tonight, but my husband, the good spirited guy he is, just went with it and drank it poured from a bottle rather than the tap, but that is not what his preference would have been! **The best part of our night was a White Sangria that I had, even though I am allergic to the cantaloupe in it, it was tasty**
Now, well one of my least favorite places to dine is Applebee’s they are by far the most accommodating on menu changes. In fact, I have not been to many places that don’t mind subbing in shrimp for chicken(grilled) and they just adjust the price. Well, roll down your knee-highs honey because last night’s request of asking for the Greek Salad to have SHRIMP on it rather than chicken cost me $2 per shrimp as we were informed by our server, and I have to say it was one of the most AWKWARD, weird announcements a server has ever delivered. First she had to check with the kitchen to see if they would even be willing to switch it out(really?), a few grilled shrimp are going to cause a pause in ordering an all this chaos?
Here is the Greek Salad that should have been GOLDEN. $20 salad with the WHOLE 5 shrimp-that’s a FLAT plate not a bowl.
Now hold onto the reigns the ride is about to get crazy… She came back and told us if we wanted shrimp on the salad(which they have not done before) it was $2 a SHRIMP, on top of the $14.99 that they charge for the CHICKEN salad, so NOW I was paying for chicken which I was not getting as well as shrimp a la cart. So whatever, I wanted the shrimp and I ordered a 5 piece serving, discussing just as boldly as she had presented the price to us, with my husband how ridiculous it was that I could not have a simple menu change and that it would cost $2 per shrimp. I guess she felt ODD and she came back out to us and said:
“We will cover 3 of the shrimp and you need to pay $2 per shrimp for the other 2, is that better.?” Ok.. NO it is not better it is like the restaurant is struggling to pay for a stinking shrimp. I did not ASK For a free shrimp salad, just a substitution and anywhere we have been from Applebee’s to Outback has been able to honor food requests without as much as flinching just saying, “we can do that!” Atria’s you disappoint me and it was Tacky HOW IT WAS ALL PRESENTED for the type of restaurant your prices pretend to flirt with.
Now we have that settled, let’s talk about what my husband ate… My husband got the Seafood Trio platter it was quite salty and he left the rice pilaf and green beans behind. The lump crab cake was just ‘alright’, see after eating the crab-cakes right at Bubbas Crab Restaurant in Chesapeake Bay, there is just no way that the crab in the Atria’s Crab Cakes could compare and I was disappointed in trying his meal and he was disappointed as well. The Miso Salmon was dry, the shrimp were pathetic in size and well, that’s it! Dinner was slow at being served, considering there were like three other couples in the restaurant, I don’t know what took so long for a salad and a platter that was basic.
Did I tweet to Atria’s to tell them I was disappointed. Of course, but there was no response
Dear . @AtriasPgh #nachos small, dinner was ‘ok’ & no salads w/ #shrimp? Vegetarian? u r overpriced #foodblogger #pgh pic.twitter.com/C3opIYMRfK
— dana vento (@danavento) August 2, 2015
The most grand presentation all evening was the bill, after all it topped out at $85 for what I still don’t know. Over-priced food, with no real panache, and certainly no atmosphere leaves us reconsidering ever visiting again. It might just be the fact that it was just so tacky how they presented the pricing as the brand tries to pretend it is so ‘classic’ or maybe it was just downright annoying that things just seem so different there. I am not sure what happened to what used to be a great dining experience, or maybe it was just our particular location. One thing I know for certain, no more holidays, or celebrations will be taken to Atria’s it is disappointing. Comparing this meal to a meal we had while on vacation, there is just no comparing, I would rather drive 7 1/2 hours for a kicking meal than ride 5 minutes away and pay the price we did for a meal that just did not meet all the folds in a napkin so to speak. That’s my story of lavishly living a not-so-great dining experience at Atria’s this weekend as I share my personal experience with you. What you once used to be Atria’s(a place we loved to go to, after Dr.’s appointments, for lunch, etc) seems to be gone, and it is different at your place. All I want to know is What happened to the Pot Roast Nachos Atria’s and why in the world was it so hard to get a good meal at a decent price, like we did while we were away and when we visited you in your other locations? As for the shrimp salad it’s going to lavishly live life out loud as this foodie travels from place to place seeking out the best there is in salad!
Based on our experience at our local Atria’s Your experiences may differ!