"Ella’s (Not So) Good Food …
Arrived at 11:35 for lunch and was greeted warmly. There were five occupied tables. I had visited the website and knew what I wanted to order. I was informed that the appetizer (fried mashed potato) I planned on ordering had been discontinued, although it was listed on the dine-in menu I was given. It had been replaced with the fast-food, premade frozen items like jalapeno poppers, etc. I skipped the appetizer and placed my entrée order – Southern Fried Pork Chop, grits and macaroni & cheese. I was informed that there wasn’t any corn for the grits as it was listed on the menu, but that they would substitute cheese for the corn.
My order reached the kitchen at 11:45. As I was waiting for my food, I observed both servers and cooks touching their hair, faces, and eyeglasses, and then prepare or serve food without washing their hands. The cooks did not wear hats or any type of hair restraint, and did not wear gloves while handling food that was going right on plates without being cooked. (I know that gloves aren’t mandatory, but at least I know that any sores / cuts are covered.) I also saw the cooks washing and reusing disposable aluminum roasting pans – pretty sure that’s against food code.
I received my meal at 12:18 – 33 minutes after my order reached the kitchen. The grits were unremarkable, the macaroni and cheese was cool, albeit with nice texture and a bit of a bite. The pork chop was a nice size, breaded and deep fried to golden brown. It was juicy and moist, with a nice flavor – really the only “good” food I received. I was allowed to sub one side for the salad/soup choice that came with the entrée. Still, the side quality and portions weren’t worth the three dollar each charge.
An interesting side note – the cooks have a kitchen tip jar displayed in front of the open kitchen. I wonder how many tips they receive for 33-minute orders?
My server asked if I wanted any dessert. I had planned on ordering the buttermilk pie, but didn’t have the time to do so and wasn’t interested on having to wait perhaps another 30 minutes to receive it.
It would have been nice if the manager, or even my server, had explained the wait time, but since no one said anything, I guess that’s the standard at Ella’s. On the plus side, my soft drink was kept refilled and my server was friendly enough.
Did I complain? No. I used a 50% discount from Living Social, so it didn’t seem appropriate. Would I go back or recommend Ella’s to my friends? No way. I like my friends."