Spare Time Bar and Grill - Merritt Island - 2 Stars
On my continued quest to find the absolutely best food in the Tri-County area, the Spare Time Bar and Grill popped out of the random restaurant generator.
Interestingly, this restaurant is inside the Shore Lanes bowling alley. I do not generally equate bowling alleys with good food, but hey - you never know when that gem of a place is going to turn up.
I was greeted by the bartender, Rick, who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He asked me which company I worked for, which caught me off guard. "Which food purveyor are you with?" he asked and I replied cautiously that I am a customer here to eat food, not with a company. He replied, "ohhhhhh, you look like you were here to sell something." Apparently walking into a restaurant and sitting down at Spare Time is a rare event so Rick was taken aback there was even someone here to eat. This certainly did not bode well for my experience.
Continuing his flawless ineptitude, he asked what I wanted to eat. I replied, "can I see a menu?" after which he chuckled then apologized. After receiving a menu, I perused it and thought that this is one ambitious menu for a bowling alley. Craft burgers, designer pizzas, and creative appetizers - I had to admit I was impressed with their selection. As I patiently waited for Rick to come back over my way he suddenly bellowed across the bar, "hey buddy, whatcha having?" I replied loudly over the din of loud music, television, and bowling, Volcano Shrimp and a burger. "WHAT?????" he responded. I told him again with the same response. A third time, he said "WHAT??????" to which I yelled back "VOLCANO SHRIMP AND A BURGER!!!!!!" At this point, Rick came over to me asked me to tell him again because he couldn't hear what I said. I burst out laughing because obviously Rick is way in over his head, and it made me realize maybe we should have a dole like England so people like Rick can stay home collecting a check and save humanity from interacting with him.
I ordered the Volcano Shrimp and an Angus Craft Burger with peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and bacon. The shrimp came out and they looked good. I bit into one and it was obviously a frozen pre-breaded shrimp but hey, the spicy, creamy mayo these were dunked in was good. Then my mind began to wander to all of the great craft burgers I have consumed over the last year, such as at Ichabod's in Melbourne Beachside and Teak Neighborhood Grille in Orlando. My stomach started speaking to me as I took a mental trip down memory lane.
The burger arrived and without touching it I immediately noticed the onion rings. I have seen them many times before. The "craft" burger was an abomination I refused to eat. (Please view the pictures) I lifted the bun to reveal a 1/8 inch disc of lunch room gristle burger with the pre-painted grill marks on them just like the ones from elementary school in the 1970's. In fact, I do not believe it's even legal to serve this disc of disgust to children anymore because it stunts their growth or something.
Rick rallied late and apologized for his actions earlier. He took the burger off my bill without my asking. What happened next I could not make up. I asked Rick where they get those burgers, and he pointed to a booth where a man in a light blue polo shirt was sitting. I mused, "Sysco?" to which he enthusiastically replied, "yep!!"
I paid my bill and left a decent tip despite the calamity of errors and moved slowly toward the Sysco Rep. I said, "excuse me, are you a representative of Sysco?" to which he replied surprisingly, "yes, how did you know?" as he arrogantly pointed to his shirt emblem. I replied that it was not the shirt that tipped me off, but it was the cheap, crappy ingredients he sells to people under the guise of faux quality. He actually laughed at that and said "hey, man I am just doing my job," to which I replied, "ahhhhhh, the oath of the mediocre."
The Big Boy says if you want to meet Rick stop in and say hi. He is entertaining but the burgers are in the gutter. #bigboydiningout