I want to be a table crumber when I grow up.

Cincinnati Bites
Cuban Sandwich with Rice and Beans from Cuba Cafe

Posted Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Allyn's Cafe:

It was good seeing you again. You're looking well. You remodeled since we last saw each other and I see you've changed the menu. The Mexican entrees are gone, and now you exclusively showcase all those Cajun-American themed items you'd wanted to emphasize. Good for you.

We've shared some good times together over the years, you and I. When we first met, I genuinely enjoyed some of your food --mostly the Mexican items you chose to remove. The sausage in your Red Beans and Rice is still pretty good, though you continue to be a little too heavy-handed with that spicy heat. You always loved leaving my lips tingling after a meal, Allyn's.

At times, you'd get a little jealous whenever I spoke of the Cajun cuisine I've enjoyed at other restaurants, and I remember the look of sadness on your face when I declared that nothing served in Ohio will ever hold a candle to the food in New Orleans. I regret saying that aloud, Allyn's. That was a little cruel of me. But sometimes honesty is the best policy, no matter how much it hurts. And today, I'm afraid I'll have to hurt your feelings again.

It pains me to have to tell you this, but I feel we've grown apart over the years. You're just not the restaurant I knew and loved years ago. You're trying to make changes and I respect you for that, but I feel you're not addressing some key issues about yourself: you're in denial.

So here it is, Allyn's: your food kind of sucks now. I know, I know. Please don't cry. I'm sorry to be so blunt. But in our last encounter, when you served me a $17 plate of Blackened Gator that was so overcooked and chewy that my girlfriend quipped, "it was like eating a rubber band;" a brick of burnt jalapeno cornbread; and a fiery, overwhelmingly spicy sauce that forced me to give up a quarter of the way through, I finally realized you really don't care about my feelings anymore.

When your server looked down at my barely-eaten plate and the charred underside of my cornbread, he didn't say a word, as though he were well aware of your weaknesses but had been beaten down by them, a broken young man now simply going through the motions, hoping one day you'll deliver better food so guests don't take out their displeasure on him.

Allyn's, you can't just change your menu around and hope things will magically fix themselves. You've got to rekindle your passion and instill a basic sense of quality control. I've been so disappointed in you the last couple visits; no one deserves to be treated that way. So I've decided to give up on our relationship and never step through your door again.

There, there, Allyn's. It'll be better for both of us. Here, have a tissue.

Allyn's on Urbanspoon
Allyn\'s Cafe

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Fair
Rating: 1.5 out of 41.5 stars


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