By Sylvia V.
On March 8, 2013 my parents arrived from out of town to take me and my husband out for my birthday dinner. They let me choose the restaurant, knowing that I had been exploring my new city’s restaurants, trying and reviewing them with my best girls.
Since my mom and dad are fans of Swiss Chalet (rotisserie chicken & ribs), I thought we should go to Windsor’s renowned Tunnel Bar-B-Q (58 Park Street East) for their competing signature fare. I had been to the restaurant before, but perhaps not for 8 years or so. More recently I have ordered carry out from there and was thrilled with the food as much as the times I’d eaten there before.
The baked goods in the glass case were a feast for the eyes and our mouths watered as we oohed and ahhed over the selection. The person at the counter answered all of our questions and was very friendly.
As we entered the restaurant I could see that nothing had changed in a very long time. The furniture and flooring were dated and utilitarian. The walls and pictures may have been slightly refreshed. It had the appearance of an old style family restaurant that was clean on the surface, but I did not want to look too closely. I also did not want to visit the restroom but my mom did. To be fair, she is a harsh critic with washrooms and approved of the cleanliness.
Our waitress was friendly at first, but brusque. As the night wore on, the restaurant filled with what looked like regulars and she had more tables to tend, therefore way less time to spend on us. I think the service was disappointing for my parents. They like to engage in banter with servers and appreciate a good sense of humour. They were made to feel like either a number or outsiders rather than valuable customers. We asked our server if she had time to take our photo to which she replied, “No. I’ll send someone over.” No one arrived.
We ordered the chicken and ribs dinner for four. It came out in a timely manner, was a decent portion, looked and tasted pretty good. We asked to take leftovers home and were grunted at by our server in return. The bus girl brought us containers to help ourselves without a word. We each received our included piece of apple pie and I got a choice of free dessert because it was my birthday, but without further fuss. No one else was offered any of the things we had seen earlier in the glass case.
It took a long time to get our bill and my dad had to wait in line at the cashier to pay it.
The food was pretty good but the experience left a lot to be desired. I am not in a particular hurry to return or to recommend this cornerstone restaurant to anyone. Especially since there are so many better, newer, or more sincere places to dine in the City of Roses!
Have YOU visited Tunnel Bar-B-Q?
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Image (barbecue) courtesy of jackthumm / FreeDigitalPhotos.net