So long, Mr. Greenjeans.

So long, Mr. Greenjeans, thanks for the memories.

Restaurant Mr. Greenjeans recently closed after 35 years in business. So iconic Mr. Greenjeans was, that a number of news outlets reported on its closing, including Toronto Star, CityNews and CTV, in addition to the local blogs.

I grew up going there. It was a treat. I remember menu items such as the crudites (I don’t know why I’d remember vegetable sticks and dips), the burgers, the Buffalo Chips and a sundae called Here Comes the Fudge that had vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and pieces of brownie. I always shared it. For a few years in between there was a novelty store next door that sold items such as whoopie cushions.

Mr Greenjeans

The review I didn’t write two years ago

The last time I was there was on August 8, 2012. The person who was doing communications for the birthday promotion invited me and told me I could visit during any lunch, so I did and brought a friend.

The visit was terrible.

So terrible that I remember most of the details and now that the restaurant has closed I have no hesitation about sharing them.

I had a reservation which the host couldn’t find, I was supposed ask for the General Manager but no one could find him. They got my order wrong. Wait staff tried repeatedly to take my drink menu even though I said that I might order a drink.

…And that’s just what I remember.  Looking through my inbox right now to look for an email I sent to the communications person about it (I can’t find it), I found a Gmail Chat conversation about it that I had with my man after I got back from lunch:

Him: how was your lunch?
me: awful. They ruined my nostalgia.
I’m going to tell the PR person that and ask if she still wants me to write about it. J. [my lunch companion] used to practically live there too.

me: The “buffalo chips” that used to be sliced fried potatoes, nice and pliable, are too thin and crispy now. We got burgers. They were overdone of course. They were ready too fast, I got the wrong one, there weren’t condiments at the table. Who has to ask for mustard when they order a burger??
Him: my go to there was the meatloaf…

I told my parents that the visit had “Seriously ruined it for me” and said, “My friend and I didn’t end up ordering dessert because we were so disappointed.” I said that I “Had the worst experience there …. with service and food.”

Because there had been a reservation made (I was “in the book”) there should have been a note in a reservation book saying that a blogger was going, as part of the birthday promotion. I don’t have an over-inflated notion of “blogger” or expect people to bend over backwards more for me than anyone else. I consider myself a regular person with a keyboard, not a critic with influence. However, if restaurant management is aware that a blogger or media is going to be at their restaurant, they should be sure their staff is extra diligent in putting in effort. If it’s part of a promotion, that effort better be put in for every single customer. The effort should always be there, period.
(Plus, stating the obvious, these days there are the obnoxious Yelpers/bloggers/tweeters who DO have a falsely inflated sense of entitlement and authority, those that make people in the industry resent us as a whole.)

I wrote a good chunk of the related blog post prior to my visit but after the visit I didn’t know what else to say. I don’t like giving public negative reviews and when I do I focus on the positive and then get constructive with my criticism. In the end I stuck to the nostalgic angle and the only negative I mentioned was that the thick cut “Buffalo chips”, unique to Mr. Greenjeans, had been replaced by thin chips. A few weeks later they switched them back, which I genuinely appreciated, guessing that I’m not the only one who was disappointed. Still, I never returned.

Good run, Mr. Greenjeans

Mr. Greenjeans ruined my nostalgia in 2012 but they survived exponentially longer than most restaurants. I went there through my childhood and also through part of my adulthood. Great childhood memories happened there.  Locals and tourists both went and enjoyed. It’s the end of an era and I am a little sad for the restaurant, and sad for the owners. They should be proud of their run.

Read my previous post about them, in which I wished them a happy birthday.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply