You get what you pay for.
Helen’s Greentree Restaurant
Price: $33 (Includes Tip – for 5)
Meal: Breakfast / Weekend / 11am
If you told us we’d find a place where 5 people could eat a human-sized breakfast for $33 (including a tip), I’d assume we’d be there every week. Unfortunately, even for the most frugal of restaurant-goers, service is worth something too. Soon into our meal we all agreed that we wouldn’t be raving about the hospitality (we’ll explain), which put a tremendous amount of pressure on the quality of the food. Was it good enough to keep Helen’s above par?
Helen’s is located just a minute or so off of Route295 and should be easily accessible to anyone in the region. It has a warm, inviting pub-like exterior with green awnings and christmas lights strung up (we’ll assume it’s decorative). Parking was a little tight but workable. We saw a newspaper review on the wall that mentioned that the place was hard to find, but we’re not sure what they were talking about. There was a sign or two on the road and we didn’t run into any trouble.
The inside is nice, but weathered. There’s a small bar, booths, small tables, and a dedicated dining area with larger round tables. We were told to sit wherever we wanted. Since we had a larger group, we opted for the dining room. Although it was moderately busy, there was plenty of room so we didn’t need to wait for a seat. Expect older padded chairs and glass-covered tables, which all but one of us found of acceptable comfort. We were greeted (we use that term loosely) by a waitress who took our drink orders and gave us menus. Our coffees and teas came pretty quick.
The menus were pretty limited for breakfast, and unfortunately contained the silly and useless ‘sharing charge’ threat. I don’t understand why nearly all restaurants (save some Chinese buffets) don’t seem to care if you barely touch your food, but want to charge you extra if you share what you paid for with someone else so it actually gets consumed? I find it offensive and tasteless, and it was compounded by the fact that Helen’s thought it necessary to put it three times on the menu to really drill it into your brain. I wonder what their success ratio is on enforcing that. The good news it that their prices are very inexpensive, so instead of sharing you can probably afford to buy another entree.
We tried a bunch of different items, including a western omelet, french toast, scrapple, and several fried eggs. Except the french toasts, the rest were served with the tried-and-true home fries and toast combination. We didn’t like that they don’t carry splenda (or equal for that matter), and didn’t have sugar-free syrup available either. The coffee was served to us in a large pitcher and was hot and had a good flavor. It was plenty for the three of us who were drinking coffee and we didn’t need a refill. Service time from seat-to-eat was good.
When the food arrived I was a little surprised that the waitress was content to hand us the plates, which were pretty damn hot. They should really be taught to put the plates on the table to avoid any problems with an unnecessary hand off. At any rate, the food was hot and nothing immediately seemed at issue. Digging into my omelet, I thought it was a little runny and stuffed the onions, peppers, and ham into the center of the eggs instead of blended throughout. The home fries were mushy – not far from being mashed potatoes – but still pretty good. The french toast slices were served on regular thin bread (not texas toast), and were described by both who had it has ‘okay’. The block of scrapple got good reviews and we heard no complaints about the fried eggs. We liked the regular toast… toasted-enough with just enough butter to taste. The juices that came with the fried egg dishes were kid-sized. No water was offered to us, although we didn’t ask. Overall, it’s really no-frills and you’re probably eating there to keep it cheap.
We do want to mention that our waitress unbelievably threw our bill into the center of the table within minutes of bringing out our order. After asking if everything was okay, she left the bill and we never saw her again. I hadn’t had two or three bites into my omelet! Besides the horrible sales angle of locking us into our order without letting us feel we can order more if we wanted – it’s just downright rude. In all of our reviews, we’ve never had a waitress drop the bill so early. We’ll hope that she was just having a bad day, but in fairness Helen’s is really going to suffer specifically because of her representation.
– Seat yourself with likely no wait
– Very inexpensive for fair portions
– Good coffee
– Horrible service etiquette
– Some subpar breakfast stuffs
– Numerous sharing charge warnings?
Guru’s Score: 2.3
Autumn’s Score: 1.9
Combined Score: 2.1 Chews
Subjective rating: For those who -solely- care about price
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