We've driven through McAlester dozens of times but never stopped for a sit down meal there before. This time our schedule put us there overnight, so thought we'd have a nice Italian meal. Gia Comos seems to be fairly popular as there always seem to be quite a few cars in the parking lot, so why not give it a go?
Our first hint that maybe customer service and satisfaction isn't priority #1was the sign at the parking spot closest to the door that reads "Reserved for the owner." Oh well, the place is packed, so it must be good, right? Once inside, the 1960's decor kind of jumps out at you. With the exception of the flat screen tv up front this place hasn't been remodeled in decades! Oh well, maybe that's just an intentional attempt at kitschy ambience, right? No way! This place is genuinely musty retro, but not in a good way. We can overlook all that because the food must be good, right? Why else would there be so many people here? One look at the menu, and wow! New York City prices in the middle of Oklahoma! The food must REALLY be good! And it says all the dishes are family recipes handed down for generations, and they've been serving them in Gia Como's since it opened in 1959. How can we possibly go wrong? But what? No wine? How can I eat Italian without a decent bottle of wine? Oh well, we are in the bible belt. But what about all the locals drinking their Bud Lite? Huh? I don't get it.
So we ordered our food; ravioli for my wife, and chicken parmesan for me.
I don't feel the need to go into detail about it as so many others have very accurately described the abominable quality of the food, but I will simply add my amen to all those who described it as "awful." This was very possibly the worst "Italian" food I've ever choked down. It's an insult to all of Italy!
And of course, the service was equal to the quality of the food. The check was plopped down as soon as the food was served, and we were told to pay at the front on our way out. Our server did come around to ask "How's everything taste?", being careful not to allow time for our response before she added "Good, huh?" At the front counter I presented my AmEx to a woman who, I believe, must have been the matriarch of the family (and perhaps the one with the reserved parking spot!) in an effort to pay the outrageous bill and make our escape. Alas, it wasn't to be! She informed me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't accept American Express because they charge ridiculously high fees, and she refuses to do business with them. Well, I had to acknowledge that she very definitely knows something about charging ridiculous amounts, being quite expert at that skill herself. So I paid the $41 check in cash, grudgingly left a mediocre tip for the "service," and chalked it up as a bad experience.
But now I feel really bad about the last restaurant review I submitted a couple of weeks ago. I only gave the place 3 stars because the food didn't meet my expectations in spite of the fact that the owner is really trying hard and giving his best effort to develop a fine restaurant. My apologies. At least you're trying. The folks at Gia Comos, it seems, quit trying long ago.
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