I used to travel a lot for work. One thing I learned was the importance of consistency with restaurants. After working all day and spending multiple days in a city, you start to find yourself not willing to try a new local restaurant, you want one of your old reliable(s) because you know what you are going to get. Depending on what city I was in, I would have one or two “go to” restaurants. Sadly, I even ordered the same thing from them usually. Over time, you begin to know which restaurants are very consistent with their quality and tastes and which ones might be hit or miss. Let’s face it, when you’re tired, eating in restaurants every day, and have been away from home for a few days in a row, you just want something you know and like. One restaurant I came to know to be pretty consistent is Ruby Tuesdays. One thing I noticed from town to town, even here in Kansas City, is the restaurant is never packed. It makes me wonder, Why isn’t Ruby Tuesday a busier restaurant?
My mom and I went out to dinner tonight and we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays. I gave her a choice of three and let her pick. I tried to pick places I knew wouldn’t be too busy for a Saturday night but would still have good food. We went to the location in North Kansas City, but I can speak confidently about that one and the one in Independence.
I want to talk about some of the facts, based on MY experience……
- I have never encountered poor service. Just the opposite really. It must be a decent restaurant to work at because everyone always seems friendly. I have laughed over one thing or another with a waiter. Take tonight for example, I was drinking my typical Coke with Lemon and she brought me another drink with a new straw still in the wrapper. She asked me something, probably about the food, and as I was answering her, I opened the new straw then chuckled a little and said I didn’t know why I opened the new straw. She genuinely laughed with me and said she didn’t know why she brought me a new straw! I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the little moments you come to appreciate.
- Their salad bar is one of the best around! I LOVE their salad bar. I can not say enough good things about it. Everything is always fresh. I have never seen a dirty salad bar at any location I have gone to. The dressings I have tried always have flavor to them. Their croutons are amazing. I can honestly say, if they aren’t my favorite croutons from a restaurant, they are in my top three. The quality of the salad bar is very consistent in every state and every location I have ever been in. The only thing I have ever encountered was one location, I can’t remember where, was out of croutons on the bar. I mentioned it to the waiter. Not only were they refilled immediately, the waiter brought me a small dish of them for the salad I was eating.
- Their menu has some hidden gems on it. I changed the way I cooked my green beans at home because of the way Ruby Tuesday’s prepares them. I finally asked someone what they were cooked in and how they were cooked and they told me. I now brush my green beans with olive oil and grill them. I even went out and bought a pan a few years ago just to grill green beans on my grill. Since then, I have used the pan for other things, but it was originally purchased because of those green beans. They also have white cheddar mashed potatoes that I love. One of my favorite meals from their was their Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin. I say was because one day I was torn between ordering my go-to and trying theirRibeye. Ribeye is one of my favorite cuts of meat but I had always been happy with the sirloin from there. The waiter, ever so helpful, pointed out I could order the Ribeye and have it prepared like the Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin. Are you serious?!?! I never even thought about it! I have a new favorite! My mom ordered the bourbon glazed pork chop tonight and it came out looking as good as the picture in the menu. It smelled great and she said it was really good. She said it was nice and tender. It must have been because she ate more of her meal than it did.
- That leads me to another point…..the portion sizes are good. I always leave full when I eat there. Tonight I even took home a small portion of my steak. I was just too full to finish it. Not only that, but the food actually has flavor but not so much fake flavor you lose the flavor of the actual item.
- Their food prices are reasonable. In addition, if you are like me and like to take advantage of savings, if you have a smart phone with the Retail Me Not app, type in Ruby Tuesdays and there is usually a Buy one meal, get one 50% off. I use that coupon all the time when I eat there. I tell the waiter and at the end of the meal, they ask to see the coupon and I show them the code. I have never been made to feel awkward for using it or felt like the waiter was annoyed I was using it. ****Just remember to tip them based on the amount BEFORE the discount. You can also go online with a desktop or laptop and go to RetailMeNot.com and print the coupon ahead of time, but if you have a smart phone, it isn’t necessary to print it. In doing some searches for this blog, I did find a Facebook group called Ruby Tuesday Coupons where they also have different coupons posted on there.
- I do think their desserts are a little pricey for what you get. I ordered the cupcakes once and wasn’t impressed. I do like their Blondie dessert though, so if you’re not too full from your meal and want a huge dessert or one to share, you might want to consider it.
- They are a full service bar. I don’t usually order alcoholic drinks when I’m out. I just don’t see the point in spending that much money. I am completely against drinking and driving, I’m usually the driver, so again, I tend to avoid alcohol when I’m out to eat. I have ordered their signature drink; Ruby Relaxer and it was really good. According to their website, the drink is: “a mellow blend of Absolut Vodka with Cruzan Coconut Rum, peach schnapps, pineapple and cranberry juices, and fresh orange.”
- They have these cheddar cheese biscuits they normally serve with the meals. For some reason, now that I think about it, we didn’t get them tonight, but I didn’t think to ask why.
- Their carry out service is pretty good as well. I love the fact you can run in and make your salad and then grab the hot portion of your meal and head back out. They do have prepared salads on their menu but I don’t know why anyone would choose that over making it yourself at their salad bar. I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure you could just order a chicken breast by itself to add to your salad if that is all you want. I know Outback will do that. I used to do it for carry out all the time. I’d just order their house salad with a 6 oz chicken breast. Never hurts to ask if you are interested.
- They are ADA Friendly. There is usually enough spacing between tables for wheelchairs and walkers. Just tonight, I noticed about three different families eating there where one member was in a wheelchair, plus my mom was there with the walker and even with her getting the salad bar, she is able to navigate it on her own.
- Family Friendly, Meeting Friendly, Date Friendly, and Friend Gathering Friendly. I wouldn’t say it is a romantic place, but I have actually had two different dates there. One was even a first date. I don’t think it should be understood the man pays so if he insists, I try to think of a restaurant centrally located between the two of us with good food and not too pricey. Ruby Tuesday fits the bill.
So why isn’t it busier? I’ve been thinking about this. Perhaps people don’t understand what a hidden gem of a restaurant they are. Are they the fanciest? Absolutely not. They are clean, they are simple. They are like a neighborhood restaurant that just happens to nationwide. I remember I didn’t go into one for the longest time because I thought it was a seafood restaurant. I have no idea why, but I did. Their logo, the little swoosh on the “s” in Tuesday made me think seafood. I chalked it right up there with chains like Red Lobster, Applebees, etc, all of which I don’t go to. I have never been impressed with the quality of their food. As I don’t eat anything from the water, Red Lobster’s only alternative was a chewy chicken. So, with this thinking, I stayed away until one day I decided to venture in and I am so glad I did. I remember taking a friend there once and when we left, he admitted he had never eaten there before and it wasn’t what he thought it was. I think we’ve been back two or three times after that.
To me, it is just a nice, relaxing, place to go and enjoy a decent meal at a decent price. The only complaint I have about the locations in Kansas City is that they don’t have one close to me. If they wanted to put one near Waldo, I would probably just bounce back and forth between them and Chipotle all the time! Actually, I think Waldo demographics would be perfect for them. They should consider it!
I encourage you to look to see if you have a Ruby Tuesday near you. If you do, go check out what coupon would be the best for you, and then head out to try it. I’d love to hear about your experience if you do. Or, if you’re already a fan, drop a comment about what location and what you love about it!
Happy Eating everyone!