Food & Fun: 10 signs you’re at a good restaurant

Alaysha Powell

Fort Collins is a beautiful town that offers a vibrant lifestyle for people of all backgrounds. However, it can be difficult to find a good restaurant if you’re a Colorado State University student or just in the mood for something new. While we all want to be adventurous, no one wants to waste money on food that could be potentially bad. In order to avoid disappointment, here are 10 signs that the restaurant you’re eating at is good:

Everything is clean

Think about it. If the restroom or the tables are filthy when you walk in, do you really think the areas you can’t see are spotless? More than likely, restaurants that lack on cleanliness in areas that customers do see, aren’t going to do any better in the kitchen. No one wants their food cooked in a filthy place.

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Sports Medicine major, Zac Irelan, and Construction Management major, Logan Bell, prepare for a busy night at The Kitchen where they both work. The Kitchen is just one of 35 restaurants in Old Town participating in this week’s Great Plates event. (Photo credit: Madison Brandt)
Sports Medicine major, Zac Irelan, and Construction Management major, Logan Bell, prepare for a busy night at The Kitchen where they both work.  (Photo credit: Madison Brandt)

The food is fresh

Most restaurants charge a lot more for meals than what a fast food chain would, so it is reasonable to expect that the food you are being charged for is fresh. It pays to learn what is in-season, so you can ensure you’re eating food that has a lot of nutrients and is still flavorful.

Great customer service

While a restaurant provides us with meals on nights out, they would be nothing without the customers. If the establishment you are trying to eat at is rude toward customers’ needs, as long as those needs are within reason, the experience will most likely be less than satisfactory.

Pricing is reasonable

While it should be the restaurant’s goal to make the customer happy, we all still forget from time to time that it is a business. Therefore, it is normally in the restaurant’s best interest to earn as much money as possible, but while trying to do that, they may over-price their food. Again if the food is not hot, fresh or a good sized portion, it should not cost an arm and a leg.

Wheatberries & Roasted Butternut Squash: one of three entree choices offered by The Kitchen on their special Great Plates menu. Great Plates is an event that not only provides three course dinners to those who normally cannot afford to go to dine at such restaurants, but also raises donations for the Larimer Country Food Bank. (Photo credit: Madison Brandt)
Wheatberries & Roasted Butternut Squash: one of three entree choices offered by The Kitchen on their special Great Plates menu. Great Plates is an event that not only provides three course dinners to those who normally cannot afford to go to dine at such restaurants, but also raises donations for the Larimer Country Food Bank. (Photo credit: Madison Brandt)

There are options

We all have different needs when it comes to food. Customers should be able to walk in and have options that cater to those needs reasonably. If a person who needs a gluten-free diet wants to try something, there should be an option for that. The same goes for people with potential allergies. It just adds more variety and makes the whole experience more inclusive.

Noise level

If you are going on a date or want to talk about how someone’s day went, you should be able to hear everyone at the table. Restaurants keep noise level in mind when designing and building the establishment, so if you are paying a decent price for a good meal, it is reasonable to expect to have a conversation with your company.

Creates anticipation

Would this be a place that you’d travel hours for just to taste? If so, then it is a good restaurant. Knowing that people get excited to eat the food, and may even go out of their way to eat the food, shows that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Orders are correct and timely

While mistakes happen, it is not acceptable for restaurants to serve food incorrectly or late. If you all order at the same time, it should show up at the same time. When the food does show up, it should be what you wanted. This will show that the server is listening and actually made sure the food you’re paying for is going to meet your expectations.

Jaws employee, Zach Morris, works on a sushi dish for a customer called the Neff Roll. New to Fort Collins, Jaws is a perfect restaurant for enjoying affordable, delicious and unique sushi creations.
Jaws employee, Zach Morris, works on a sushi dish for a customer called the Neff Roll. (Collegian File Photo.)

Service is polite and sociable

We all have bad days at work, especially if the job involves customer service. While it pays to be patient with a server since you have no clue what they’ve had to deal with that day, they need to meet you half way. If the server is refusing to speak and is just plain rude, it puts a damper on everyone else’s mood. Also, who wants to let someone who is not in the happiest of places handle the food they’re eating?

Service is fast

This varies from place to place. If you are eating at a place that offers local or home style food, then it is most likely that the preparation time for the food will be longer than at a place that does not advertise those options. However, there shouldn’t be a wait of more than one hour. For all the restaurant knows, you have people to see and places to go and can’t be kept waiting forever.

There are many more factors that show whether a restaurant is good or not, but these seem to be the most commonly thought of. So, before paying a bill on food that makes you feel sick, look around and watch for these types of signs to avoid that situation all together.

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Collegian Food & Fun Blogger Alaysha Powell can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @alaysha_powell.