Thursday, November 29, 2018

Eating OFF the Hill: Everything is small at Pudgyboy's but the price and the wait

The south-east corner of Bank and Macleran in Ottawa's Centretown has been somewhat of a deathspot for reasturants. I've lost track of the food spots that have come and gone in that spot since I moved back three years ago. There was a BBQ spot I didn't get a chance to try before it shuttered. Most recently it was a pizza and shawarma place, two things you can get at a dozen other nearby spots.

The reasturant corner of death.
So I figured I should try Pudgeyboy's before it too gets killed off. And last night, in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to hop off the bus and give it a try.

It's theme is everything small. Different kinds of sliders. Small fries and tots. Mini donuts. Mini chicken and waffles. Small, unhealthy comfort food. It's an interesting concept, and one sure to be popular with the late night partyers at nearby pubs and clubs -- it's just a few doors down from Babylon.

Inside, it has a dinner feel but with a modern touch: all ordering is via two touch-screen kiosks. It's the same machines and software that McDonald's uses, reformatted for Pudgyboy's. But unlike McDonald's, you cannot choose to order or pay at the cash instead, as there is no cash. So kiosk only, debit or credit only. The kiosk does offer lots of customization options -- I removed the sauces and picked from my mini burger.

Lots of customization opions at the kiosk.
The food may be small, but the prices sure aren't. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger slider for $3.99, a flakey chicken slider for $3.29, a cheesy tater tots for $4.49, and a diet pepsi (one side, equivement to a medium) for $2.39. The total cost for this meal, taxes in? A princely $16.00. Definitely more than I would spend at McDonald's, and for less food. I could have saved a bit if I'd ordered a slider trio combo, but still ... and the appeal of the concept is trying lots of different small things.

Swallowing my sticker shock, I sat down to wait for my order. And wait. And wait. Two people were working in the kitchen, which is part of the dining area and visible to diners. They seemed to be cooking each order from scratch, and not working too far ahead. There were only two other dinners in the reasturant, but several Uber Eats drivers did come in to pick up orders.

A diner feel with an open kitchen.
I inquired after 20 minutes or so, and finally, 25 minutes after ordering, my meal came. After all that, the two sliders weren't that hot, as I could see them sitting on the counter waiting while they fried the tater tots.

So finally, lets discuss the food. As I said, could have been hotter. The beef was a touch overdone, but had a good grilled taste with the cheese and bacon. The fried chicken slider was tasty. The tater tots, as befits the price, were not mini at all, but were huge and probably designed to feed a group of people.

Mini food. Not pictured: big bill.
So, in conclusion, decent food and fun concept, but waaaaay over priced and poor service. I don't blame the guys behind the counter -- they needed more help, and maybe better processes to handle the volume, particularly from the food delivery services.

If it lasts that long, I may be back in a few months.

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