Friday, August 3, 2007

Cafe Express: Sorry, I never knew you.

I'm not going to pile on the recently closed restaurant Cafe Express. It opened about 3 years ago in the University Park Center, right across from Blue Mesa.
But . . . it was bad. The salads were bad, the sandwiches bad, the coffee was bad and the condiments bar was the worst part. Sorry. I had eaten a few times at the Cafe Express on Beltline in Dallas a few years ago and thought little of it them at the time. I tried the Fort Worth restaurant 4 or 5 times and was always disappointed. I bring up the Cafe Express demise for a reason. One of my biggest beefs with places like this is that they present the image of the clean, nouveau, up-scale cafe/restaurant but are long on image and short on substance. As someone said, "there is no there, there."
Could it have be a bad location? Water Street Seafood also failed there. Maybe, but Blue Mesa has been there since the shopping center opened. Chili's has been there longer than that. The difference is that both of those restaurants know their audience and both of them have good food for their category. The Chili's grilled chicken salad is good-to-great and their burgers are good, too.
One more thing, and I know I keep bringing up the same thing, but the restaurant had not even a hint of warmth and friendliness to it. I felt like I was walking into a hospital cafeteria and the ordering system was as impersonal as you could make it. Walk into Mi Cocina's, or Starbucks, or a Pappas restaurant and there is an attempt at a genuine welcome. In Texas we like that. It may be chic to be aloof in some cities, but this is Fort Worth, not Milan; even the number one piano competion in the world, the Van Cliburn, is a international lesson in hospitality. I guess I did pile on a little, but I am sorry it didn't work out for them.
What would in that same spot? Eatzi's.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is the best place to write this, but wanted to let you know, I just stumbled upon your blog and think it is great! Having moved here from Seattle two years ago, I really value the tips you are giving here!

Thanks,
Kelly
Aledo, TX.

Francis said...

You made my day. Thank you. If you have any questions about the area let me know. Thanks again.