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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matthews

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

You’d think they could get the nachos right, at the very least.

I took our younger daughter out to dinner last night, just the two of us, for a little of the father/daughter time that I enjoy more than anything else in this world…but which probably causes her to think of the old Jack Nicholson line: “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes.”

But go we did, bypassing the local Chile’s where we went last summer for our bonding dinner because, as she reminded me, “it was pretty bad,” and heading for the Ruby Tuesday a few miles further down Route One. I am moderately familiar with Ruby Tuesday, which goes by the ticker “RI” and has had a rough year or two after a spectacular turnaround. I went in with no expectations, positive or negative…just hungry.

I came out still hungry and looking for something to get the bad taste out of my mouth. The food could have been worse, I suppose. But not much worse.

The salad bar for which Ruby Tuesday is widely known contained leafy substances and sticky dressings in dishes on ice beneath those glass shields that are meant to keep germs out. Given the fact that I follow the health care industry pretty closely and understand that human beings shed skin like dogs shed fur, I am not a salad-bar kind of guy.

And, sure enough, I decided that by the look of it these particular glass shields actually kept the germs in. I decided the parking lot was more sanitary than the salad bar. So we did not order the salad bar, but we did ask for nachos.

The nachos contained more salt than I have eaten in the last seven years, and the so-called melted cheese did not appear to be cheese at all, but, rather, a cheese-like substance with the consistency of Ranch salad dressing, dripping over hot pepper-like spices that force immediate beverage consumption.

All of which quickly generates second rounds of soft drinks, of course, which is the point of all that salt and all those spices.

When the actual dinner food arrived, it was only modestly less disappointing than the nachos. My daughter’s chicken tenders were about as generic as they come. My own grilled chicken salad contained chicken that tasted about as firm and tasty as a rotten peach.

We didn’t stick around for dessert, which, I imagine, would have been some thawed out piece of heavy chocolate cake-like material, and coffee made out of whatever grounds they saved from the morning shift.

The wonder is that all these “casual dining” concepts—Ruby Tuesday and Chile’s et al, do as much business as they do.

I went to a P.F. Chang’s a year ago, and while the place was packed and the bar was doing land office business, the food was worse than our local Panda Pavilion. And the normal “morning after” reaction to all that MSG and oil and days-old cold-noodle-with-sesame, if you get my drift, occurred almost as soon as I paid the check.

Next summer, if Claire still wants to be seen in public with her old man, I’m taking her to The Cheesecake Factory.

Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations.

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