The Freedom Cafe - Melbourne - 2 Stars
In today's era of sensitivity to identity politics, no greater care is granted than to people who have served in the military and are today worshipped as American heroes, whether you served for 1 minute or 30 years. The hegemony of this dynamic is almost overwhelming.
The Freedom Cafe shamelessly panders to this mindset. The walls are completely adorned with military memorabilia so that not even an inch of wall space is open to anything other than photos of servicemen and women. From the Civil War to the War on Terror, every epic is celebrated.
At this point, you may be wondering why I am emphasizing the military theme so much. Well, the answer is simple - the food here is atrocious and the service is worse, which does a disservice to honoring our service members. I would give this place one star, except I fear a picket or boycott from veterans groups. I should point out I do donate regularly to veterans organizations and support the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect us from evil in the world, so my opinion of this place is not a reflection on those who have served in the military.
Let's start with my impression of the server Kaitlyn. This miserable wretch of a human being slothed her way over to our table 8 minutes after we arrived. You may say 8 minutes isn't too bad, except we were the only patrons in the restaurant, so there was no one else to have taken her attention. Literally, other than the owner, the cook, and Kaitlyn, there was no one else. I ordered the chorizo breakfast with two eggs over medium and home fries. I asked for the obligatory biscuit. For this part of the meal I suggest you look at the photos and you will see overdone pucks of potato, spoiled chorizo, improperly cooked eggs, and of course, expecting nothing better the disc of pre-made Sysco pull-and-microwave biscuit. To balance things out I also ordered a patty melt. This was only slightly better than the biscuit, with frozen unseasoned hamburger with overcooked onions on stale rye bread.
Now here is where things really went off the tracks. Kaitlyn reappeared and asked if I wanted to box anything up. I said I would like the Patty Melt to go. She came over and literally threw a styrofoam box at me. Trying to be witty I said, "who is getting the tip here, me or you? Would you please box the burger?" She stormed off and began commiserating with a hefty woman who turned out to be the owner. This owner approached me and screamed "DON'T YOU DISRESPECT MY EMPLOYEES!" I looked at her quizzically and "asked are you serious?" She then began berating me for my behavior, which I guess was easier to do with no other patrons in this restaurant. I paid the bill and as we left my 10 year old daughter looked at me and asked "why did that lady act like that?" Great question.
Hoorah devil dog, Big Boy says skip over this sad memorial to fallen heroes.