Sunday, September 20, 2015

Neglecting a promise

In the interest of changing things up, I promised to write about Deaf friendly businesses in my town. So if you don't live in San Antonio or are not hearing impaired, this might not be relevant to you.
The Tip Top Cafe first came to my attention when it was featured in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. The original restaurant is at 2814 Fredericksburg rd. on the west side of San Antonio. Two or three times I've eaten there I have not been disappointed. It has been described as comfort food or going to your grandmothers house. My only criticism of the place is that it is too small a building to handle such a loyal following of patrons. So it was with great joy when I discovered a second location was opening on my side of town and near my neighborhood! The second location is at 13835 Nacogdoches rd. on the east side of San Antonio.
It is to be expected that there are things to be ironed out when a new place opens. Waiting for the reviews and talking to friends I got a good measure of where the restaurant stood. After all, the new place had big shoes to fill compared to the parent restaurant. I'm trying to be fair here. My visit was at 6:00 on a Friday. I found a seat at one of the widest counters I've encountered. Reaching across it would be hard, at a guess it would be easily four feet.
At least 22 tables and nearly all full. I'd just beaten the dinner rush.
The menu is here. The Yelp reviews are here. The fare is average. If I had two of the same dishes side by side, one from the original and the other from the new place, the first entree would stand out more. Simply put: the new place is a pale reflection of the original restaurant. Service was prompt and friendly. (Thanks Emilee!) The prices are fair, but the kitchen needs to step up it's game if it is going to be worthy of the name of it's predecessor. A tall order indeed.
But here is where it's different in a positive way. Wide open space with plenty of elbow room and lines of sight. This is important for communicating in ASL. Two big screen TVs that the staff was more than happy to put captions on for me. It did take them a bit to figure out how, but they got it done after a few tries. (Thanks Josh!) The whole dining area is well lit and bright. On the whole, the place was noisy and I had to turn my implant way down in order not to have some aspirin with my dessert. My recommendation is to turn off your hearing aids and implants. Less headache and more enjoyment that way.
There is one way the new place is on par with the original. Pies baked on the premises. Mile high meringue! The pecan pie I had for dessert was tasty, light and not overly sweet. You know how some pies can give you cavities by looking at it? Not so in this case. I will be back to try a new pie for dessert. Spot on Tip Top!
I love my chicken fried steak and gravy, so they better be ready. I found the service very good and I felt comfortable being there. The staff was kind and helpful when I ordered my meal. A good friendly server staff can cover many overall shortcomings in a restaurant, such is the case here. The deaf man says give 'em both a try and see what I'm talking about.

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