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The Worst Restaurant in the World!

{ Posted on Jun 05 2010 by Marcus Alston }

I still recall vividly the worst restaurant I have ever eaten at even though it was 8 months ago.  I am reminded of the experience every time I drive by it which is about twice a month.  My initial impression of the inside was so bad, I wanted to walk right out of the restaurant as soon as I entered the place.  Unfortunately, my oldest daughter used my past advice against me when I asked her if she wanted to eat at the restaurant, “How do you know whether you will like it or not if you don’t try it?  Let’s eat here.”  She had me there.

The OutsideThe name of the restaurant is J&J Buffet and its located at 539 Flatbush Ave in Hartford, CT.  The area has been revitalized in recent years with the development of an outdoor shopping center with businesses such as Marshall’s, McDonald’s, Popeye’s, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart.  J&J Buffet resides in a space that was custom built for the failed Texas Road House restaurant.  The outside is made up of dark wood and very little light or activity can be seen through the few windows of the restaurant which makes it look like it’s always closed for business from the outside.  It has little curb appeal and does not create an inviting feeling, despite the streamers and banners.  To this day, the streamers and banners proclaiming its “Grand Opening” are still up after over 1 year.  Possible false or misleading advertising?

Parking Lot and Inside.  The parking lot was nearly empty when we ate there in October and appears to be no better today (I pass it on my way to  Wal-Mart or other stores monthly).  How can they continue to stay open for business you wonder?  I can’t explain it.  One of my reasons for going to the restaurant initially was to try it before what I believed (and still do) would be its short time in business. Inside, it’s also dark.  The view is obstructed at the main waiting area and you do not get a sense of whether there are other customers eating inside or not.  It’s depressing inside and lifeless.  There is no buzz, excitement, or inspiration.  It does not smell nice or appear to be clean either.  Our initial impression was that we were the only ones there, but after we reluctantly sat down, I saw other victims (customers) eating along the edges of the restaurant.  Were they embarrassed to eat there and hiding?  Were they being forced to eat there as some type of punishment?  Could they give me some type of hint to run for the door while I was still free??!?!

The Food.  It sucked.  J&J Buffet  advertises that they serve all you can eat Chinese, Japanese and American food in a buffet style.  They charge $6.95 for lunch (11:00am to 3:30 am) and $10.95 for dinner (3:30pm to 10:30pm).  The buffet is small for a buffet and it’s basically a limited Chinese buffet.  There was very little Japanese food besides some unattractive and less than fresh looking sushi (mostly California rolls).  There was some pizza, french fries, and fried chicken which I guess allows them to say that they have American food with a straight face.  The buffet area was not stocked well and I repeatedly asked for a refill of dumplings that never came.  Some of the sauces in the buffet were mixed into each other.  The food at the buffet looked like it was cooked a week ago and did not taste warm or fresh.

I tried different dishes and was disappointed with them all.  I also really felt uncomfortable eating the food because it did not seem fresh and it did not seem like anyone cared about the customer, standards, or appearances.  If you are not getting customers in your restaurant to eat your food and cause you to buy new food, the temptation to save old food and re-serve it is huge.

The Service.  Worse than the food.  The initial greeter was grim and lifeless.  She seemed like she did not want to be there and our presence was a bother.  Ironically, they had an army of waitresses at this buffet restaurant, but they ignored us.  Instead, they were all busy playing in plain site with a customer’s baby while we were there.  Where was the management?  I had to get up from my table several times to get any attention such as extra napkins, drinks, refills and water.  At one point, I pointed out that they needed a new serving spoon for the ketch-up for my daughter’s french fries because the serving spoon had hot sauce on it.  Instead of getting a new serving spoon or washing the existing one, the waitress dipped the serving spoon with the hot sauce on it up and down into the ketchup to get rid of the hot sauce!  It was a nightmare.   Finally, it was hard to communicate with anyone in the restaurant since they did not speak English well and I do not speak Chinese well.

Advice.  Save your money.  Run the other way.  Do not eat at J & J Buffet unless you are intrigued by how bad it might be.  It is a miracle that this place is still open and I seriously wonder how they are doing it financially.  Is everything on the up and up?  Hmmmm?!?!?

My daughter jokingly said she that she had 3 words to describe the restauarant, “Hor-ri-ble!”  If you have such an experience like this in the future, ask for your money back.  I did not, but I will next time.  Also, consider telling a manager about the situation.  In this case, I thought that it was so terrible, speaking to a manager would be worthless.  Next time, I will not be so quiet, even if I do not think it will help.  We need to send a message as consumers that this quality of food, service, and mismanagement will not be tolerated.

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2 Responses to “The Worst Restaurant in the World!”

  1. There is a simple secret to dining at buffet restaurants. Ask if one of your party can go in and check out what the place looks like, especially what is offered and how clean the place is. If they say no, turn around and leave. I’m leery of the oriental buffet restaurants in my area. The number of cars in the parking lots are few. I always stay away from multi-cultural restaurants. Let’s face it, a dining establishment that specializes in Cajun, Chinese and Jewish cuisine is a little suspect. Are there any four star(or even one star) buffet restaurants out there? Rely on friends and local restaurant reviews. I’d love to list all the bad restaurants I have eaten at, but, most of them never survived.

  2. Thanks for your comment Denis. Trying to cover more than one type of cuisine is a challenge for a restaurant, but I have actually come across a FEW good good buffet places. I will have to write about this soon!

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