Would you eat at this restaurant?

This is the sign that greets would-be patrons at a restaurant in a Midwestern tourist town.

I’m not going to reveal the name of the establishment — at least not yet.

Here’s a transcript.

No strollers [image] please.

To Our Valued Customers:

We are NOT a fast food restaurant.

Our kitchen is smaller than yours.

We are working hard to prepare and deliver your food.

It is possible, depending on what you and others in your party have ordered that your food may take up to on our to prepare.

If you are grumpy, inpatient, having a bad vacation, don’t like your family, can’t control your children, … etc.

There are dining options for fast food approximately 10 miles north of here.

Would you eat here?

And bonus points if you can guess the name of the restaurant and city in which it’s located.

Update: No one guessed the name of the restaurant (although a few came close). It is Wally’s Bar and Grill in Saugatuck, Mich. The reviews are pretty good.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Nica

    I would go in just to be one of those people they do not want in there (just kidding). Wow, I am surprised they are still in business and no one has protested (or maybe they have and we just have not heard yet).

    I cannot guess the name, but I am not sure you would want to – they may get some unwelcome guests as a result! :o)

  • cjr001

    Well, at least they admit up front that it make take so long to get your
    order. That alone would very likely keep me from stopping there.

  • lorcha

    Going on the information given alone, no I would not eat there. Providing a laundry list of demands of their customers gives me the feeling that they don’t place a high enough priority on hospitality.

    Now, if this were some type of famous eatery that made this place a required destination, I might make an exception. But it’d have to be pretty bloody historic for me to look past the nerve of that sign.

  • sirwired

    I don’t see any problem with the sign.

  • sirwired

    Protest about what?

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzanfrench Suzan French

    My first reaction was similar to everyone else’s. But then I began to appreciate their honesty regarding who their “valued customers” are–obviously those without small children and those who view dining as an experience. Better than having unhappy customers who just want to get in, eat and get out, right?

  • jim6555

    I said NO because waiting an hour for food to be prepared is not what I am used to or want. However, anyone that doesn’t mind the wait and can live with the other rules should certainly give the place a try.

  • $16635417

    Not enough info to make a decision. The sign alone would not scare me away.

  • ac6bw

    Protest what? An eating establishment is free to refuse service to anyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sommer.gentry Sommer Gentry

    I wouldn’t eat there, but not because of the content of the sign. I wouldn’t eat there because scotch-taping a sheet of paper you just printed off your budget HP Deskjet to your door says low-rent for sure. How tacky is that? You’re running a business, not a junior-high newsletter. Invest in some graphic design already.

  • Cybrsk8r

    Let’s see. The restaurant is called “Aunt Bea’s” and it’s located in a small town in North Carolina.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    While I can agree kids can get out of hand, I can’t agree with their heavy-handed approach to, well, pretty much everything wrong in their world. An hour to get served a certain dish? Nope, moving on.

    And while it seems they take offense when their customers are having a bad day, they don’t mind spilling their “sunshine” all over the place, beginning with the sign on their door.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Show me the menu, then we’ll talk.

    ETA: An hour plus wait? Depends on what they’re cooking up in there. I’m not interested in waiting an hour plus for mediocre diner food, y’know?

    Reason: Whoops, phone cut me off.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Absolutely yes, I would eat there. In a heartbeat. Although waiting up to an hour might be asking a bit much. I suspect that only a few of their menu items take that long.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Since when is Michigan part of the Midwest? I read your “Away is Home” blog and have figured out the town. Playing with “Street View” to figure out the restaurant. If I win, do you give away a gift certificate to eat there? :)

  • Chris Johnson

    I give them props for being honest, but I guess I’m just not cultured enough to appreciate food at a restaurant that takes an hour or longer to prepare. Their attitude doesn’t both me though – that’s the way they choose to operate.

  • BillCCC

    I would not eat there since it appears that they are looking for only the snobbiest of the snobs to stop in. If their kitchen is smaller than mine it must take an hour to prepare the food since they are having it delivered from somewhere else.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I have absolutely no issue with the sign. The only question to me is whether the food justified an hour wait. I personally enjoy small restaurants that have unique food perspectives. I also appreciate the honesty. I know that if I am starving, or need to eat quickly, I should probably go ten miles up the road.

  • kim6160

    I grew up in New England and considered Ohio (where I have lots of family) to be the Midwest. When I moved to Chicago for many years, Ohio was considered the East Coast. I guess Michigan is the same in that no one wants to take responsibility for it. :)

  • http://twitter.com/iatraveler Jody Halsted

    Yes, if the restaurant had a good reputation and I were out with my husband or good friends. Since meals at home can take at least an hour to prepare, knowing a good meal may take an hour makes sense. It also tells me they likely don’t make meals in advance and reheat them.

  • Michelle Norton

    I love it! At least you know what you’re walking into BEFORE you get in there.

  • Blackadar

    No. Waiting for an hour isn’t acceptable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.koelzer.9 Jim Koelzer

    I’ve eaten at Wally’s. Good place but nothing outstanding. Saugatuck is a huge tourist destination (especially from Chicago) and constantly has Art Fairs, Film Festival, music, Great Lakes port, etc There are many other options in town.
    I’m sure this sign is not displayed during the week and on “off” weekends.

  • Rosered7033

    It’s certainly not an inviting sign, but you certainly know what you are getting into before you enter. I’ve been to Saugatuck, although not to Wally’s, and it is a summer tourist destination, where people might be looking for a “fast food” alternative. This restaurant is letting it’s potential customers know, up front, their dining experience. Yes, I would eat there, but heaven help them if they don’t deliver on their “promise”!

  • Hélio Oliveira

    They might be part of Slow Food network (http://www.slowfood.com/ or in USA http://www.slowfoodusa.org/)

  • tio2girl

    I doubt that I would eat there even if I was kidless. The sign
    strikes me as rude and classless in so many ways. There’s a
    restaurant in my town with a similar rant on the front page of their
    menu. They serve fabulous burgers, but I’m happier taking my
    business elsewhere than being treated like a slovenly cuckold before
    I even sit down to place an order.

  • An observer

    Well I live near Saugatuck, go there often, and wouldn’t eat there.
    Their smug sign is also lying. There are plenty of cheap and fast food
    options in town. And there is a Burger King not three miles away near
    the exit to town. This sign is not about being honest, it is about being

  • DavidYoung2

    Agree – reminds me of the ‘Soup Nazi’ episode on Seinfeld….

  • TiaMa

    It loathes me to cite Wikipedia, but “The Midwestern United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is one of the four U.S. geographic regions.

    Though it is geographically in the north, and more eastern than
    western, the term refers to the fact that the region is midway to the
    opposite coast when heading directly west from New England and New York, where the term originated. The area is now called the Midwest throughout the United States.

    The region consists of 12 states in the north-central and north-eastern United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.”


    And also I used to live there and we considered ourselves part of the Midwest.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Well, if *Wikipedia* says so, it *must* be right! ;) I’m more likely to trust what the locals say they are, so if you say Michigan is Midwest, then I trust you.
    I always figured since some spot in Kansas is the geographic center of the U.S. (must be contiguous states) that the Midwest is out here. That’s why I was so interested in the “Midwestern tourist town” description and was racking my brain trying to decide if it was Topeka or Mitchell or Wynot. :D

  • JenniferFinger

    Well, they were honest-it’s more than most business owners are. But an hour’s wait for food to be served? Yikes.

  • BrianInPVD

    There are different ways to get your point across that don’t sound kvetchy. One store in a tourist trap shopping center didn’t want you to bring in food or drinks. Instead of a simple or humorous sign, they proceeded to list every single foodstuff that was sold in the complex. It came across as very negative, and I didn’t buy anything there despite being tempted to.

    A more gentle approach this restaurant could use is : Welcome to our SLOW FOOD restaurant. We care about the quality of our food and take all the time we need to make it right. We expect your dining experience to take ____hours.

  • CTP

    Yes, I did not take offense at the sign and could envision exactly why they put it up, so I would certainly give them a try. But, a second visit would only depend on what the final result of the food experience as a whole.

  • macfun

    When I get a chance to visit west Michigan, Wally’s is always at the top of the list for me. I love their perch dinners. I can’t remember waiting up to an hour to eat there. The servers are friendly, food is good, I am on vacation and not in a hurry and am usually with great company. So, yes, I will continue to go to Wally’s on my annual Michigan visits.

  • Annalisa Snow

    As a former local and former employee of another establishment in that area, some “tourists” do tend to get grumpy with us. My question to some would be, “Why did you wait until 6pm on a holiday weekend to feed your kids?”…This question is usually asked when said “tourist” complains that they have hungry kids,, and they waited until everybody else decided to order too. Food in a regular restaurant can only be cooked so fast, safely . Most can keep up with demand, but on occasion, we get overwhelmed and get “in the weeds”. Oh, btw, I am the mother of 4 and grandmother of 3…. I do understand about hungry kids, but I also plan ahead….

  • disqus_wbHLmxZjXG

    Which consumer are you advocating for? The general public or the ill behaved few who ruin resturaunts for all of us? It seems that Wally’s is a “Bar and Grill” which may not be an appropriate place for a baby stroller… I would gladly eat there!

  • Rachel Givens

    Well, I voted yes, then said, what am I thinking? I have twin elementary age children who,like most children, probably wouldn’t fit in here. I can understand their frustration with road weary travelers and their children, but lose the attitude. The only thing that sign is gonna do is make them lose customers, it doesn’t sound like it’s “fancy” enough to require an hour to prepare a meal either. I’ve seen real chefs and cooks prepare GOURMET meals in much less time.I’m no chef, but even I cook meals from scratch in less time. I think the only thing useful about this sign is them pointing everyone in the right direction…ten miles north!

  • Timon_8

    I would eat here in a heartbeat. Any restaurant that discourages the presence of poorly-behaved small children wins points in my book. And it sounds like they are preparing actual food…sign me up!