Boomerang’s – Newpointe Shopping Center, Clarksburg, WV
Wow. We just had a meal experience so thoroughly bad that I ran out to the car to write this before Dan even finished paying the bill. Well, actually, paying the bill did take a very long time. When our server disappeared (again) and we tried to pay the cashier at the front, she said she would not be able to take our money because it was “too complicated.” The cashier. Said she couldn’t. Take our money. I mean, this experience was so bad that it hurt our feelings.
What we’re talking about here is Boomerang’s. Just imagine what it would be like if you combined Shoney’s, Bennigan’s, Outback, Hibachi, and Bob Evans…. Yeah, imagine that. Why would you do that, you say? We don’t know either! But, it makes for a good story.
So, sit back. Relax….. Let us take you on a trip around the world. We’ll start right here in America– where we love a buffet. Here at Boomerang’s, they have named theirs the “Walkabout Buffet.” They should have named it the “Walkout Buffet” because if I would have looked at it when we came in, that’s precisely what I would have insisted that we do. However, by the time the girls finished in the bathroom, Dan already had drinks ordered. So. There we were. I looked at it and knew with a fair degree of clarity that we would be seeing it again later. There was some sweet potato something on there that might have been left over from Christmas Dinner. It looked like it probably had been sitting right there on the bar since then too.
That wasn’t the only time I wanted to insist that we walk out. When our server came back 20 minutes after we had picked what non-dried out morsels were left on the bar (at 6pm!!!) to ask what Dan had ordered again, I was ready to cry. And this time what made me stay was “train-wreck” phenomenon. Meaning that I was actually curious to see how much worse it could get.
OK- but back to the world tour. We were told that tonight’s special was 2 full meals (apparently of a few select options) for $14.99 so that’s what we decided to do. (Sounds like Logans) He told us that since our kids were under 8yrs old, they could eat for free. I never saw this message anywhere on the menu, so if you are nuts enough to go there after I explain our experience, don’t be surprised if you don’t get that deal. The only vegetarian options were spaghetti and fettucini alfredo. Italy!!! So I picked spaghetti. Alas, it would be hours before we laid eyes on that dish. The Bennigan’s inspired Toddy Chicken (Ireland- that’s three!) was not offered in this deal.
Dan chose the gourmet option of prime rib. And onion rings. When in Rome, er…. Australia….er….. well– you know what I mean. I have to pause to tell you about stop number four on our cross cultural extravaganza. While we were painfully waiting and waiting for the entrees to come out, we were excited to see a man wheel a big cart of ingredients past us into a side room where he proceeded to make “shrimp on the barbie” on a Hibachi style grill. Are you keeping up? Boom! Australia and Boom! Japan! At this point, I was reduced to hysterics. The girls were screaming, “what mommy what mommy?” as Dan and I wiped our eyes from laughing about the flames shooting from the onion volcano in the room next door. When we heard the clinkclinkclink of the salt and pepper shaker against the spatula, I expected a shrimp or two to come flying by as someone tried to catch it in the air.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention that our server brought a drink to the table next to us and when then asked him what it was (as in, is that his Dr. Pepper or her Pepsi? he literally held it up to his nose and sniffed it real good before proclaiming that it was her Pepsi.
And as all this fun and frivolity was going on, my kids were begging to shop in the “Boomerang Gift Shop” which was a Bob Evans/Cracker Barrel style offering of WVU and Marshall merchandise right next to the bar (smoked up sweatshirts baby!– time to get a jump on my shopping for next Christmas!)
If this place had been clean and well-run, I would have thought I was at Epcot with all the cultures represented and complete with a gift shop. This experience, however, was definitely not magical.
I have to give it NO FORKS FOR YOU!.
Time to be constructive. At Boomerangs the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. What does that mean. Taking pieces of all your favorite restaurants and squeezing them into one is not a recipe for success. It dilutes your brand. Pick a concept, focus on it and do it better than anyone else. An Australian theme is cool. Boomerang’s is a great name, but the menu makes me the think the owners research on Australian cuisine and culture was watching Crocodile Dundee.
If I managed this place I would:
- Lose the buffet, but add a larger salad bar
- Lose the Hibachi grill (sell them on e-Bay), but carve roasted meats in the dining room
- Put together a good collection of Australian wine
- Serve fish and chips (Australia was colonized by the British)
- Focus the menu on the grill or barbecue
- Lose that gift shop. It’s tacky.
- Focus on quality control
That last point is critical. The lettuce was brown. The one onion ring I got was crunchy on the inside. After tasting that one I was glad the server messed up and brought me a baker instead of an order of rings. The food was dried out on the buffet. I am not exaggerating. I do not believe that the management would have eaten off the bar when I was there.
I will not be repeating this culinary error ever. NO FORKS FOR YOU!