I was going back and forth over whether I should do a little review of Chappy's or not. I'm sure that there are people who love Chappy's. I'm not one of them.
When Chappy's first opened, I was thrilled. I drive past the restaurant every day on my way to and from school so I watched as they renovated the building and got ready to open. I was pretty irritated when they painted the exterior of the building a funky mustard color, because I really thought the original dark weathered brick exterior was quite pretty. Despite my dislike of some of their design choices (there's a backup on Church almost at exactly that spot every evening - I had a lot of time to think about it), I was enthusiastic - New Orlean's style food in Nashville! Inspiring starting over after the hurricane story! Seafood in our landlocked city! Then a few of our friends went on separate occasions and their responses were not just tepid, but actually really negative, including one friend who travels to New Orleans frequently for fun and is a huge fan of that style of food. That put us off trying Chappy's for a quite a while***.
When a group of my friends decided to go out to lunch and suggested Chappy's, I was hesitant but decided that surely the concerns others expressed earlier would have been addressed by this point. I'm not going to do a fully, minute by minute review but here are a couple of key points about my Chappy's experience:
- The butters they brought out to our table along with warm bread were yummy. Unfortunately, the bread wasn't. You know how bread can be all nice and crusty? This bread was basically limp. It was nice that they warmed it up, but it really reminded me of Wonder Bread.
- Our waiter? Bizarre. A strange man. Slow, incredibly slow. We were there for a late lunch and the place was almost empty, but there were these incredible long stretches when we were just sitting at our table waiting. And it wasn't slow service in the nice European leisurely meal style, it was unpleasantly slow. Fortunately, we were a chatty group so it wasn't a huge deal, but I still wasn't happy about taking a 2+ hour lunch.
- One person in our group is a vegetarian, so it was a little disturbing to see they didn't have a single vegetarian item on their menu. When she asked our (bizarre) waiter for advice, he suggested the fish. And then the chicken. And then we finally got the message across that vegetarian means "no meat" not "no beef" but he was still completely stumped for suggestions. She ended up ordering one of their salads with no meat and it was quite nice, but still... no vegetarian options on the menu? Waitstaff unable to make recommendations for vegetarian modifications? Waitstaff who don't even understand what a vegetarian is?!? Nashville's not exactly vegetarian central but come on!
- When I ordered grilled shrimp, I wasn't expecting it to come to the table swimming in butter. I chose the grilled because I thought it might be a healthier option than fried shrimp. They were quite tasty but then again anything literally drenched in butter tends to be, no?
Anyway, I'm not doing a full review because last week Carrington Fox of the Nashville Scene said pretty much everything I could say in this review. I could take the easy analysis and say that, based on his review, I must be some kind of food snob but, honestly, I'm not. I'm just a graduate student with limited funds, and it really ticks me off when I spend my limited (heh, call it "non-existant") eating out budget on bad food and bad restaurant experiences.
***Okay, truthfully, it was a combo of the bad word of mouth combined with the fact that Tim keeps misreading the Chappy's sign as "Crappy's", probably the worst font choice ever.