With my work, I travel extensively throughout Atlanta so, I eat out daily. Of course, I have developed a favorites list. They only way a restaurant gets on my list is if they meet the 5 elements.
Fist, I look to see if the windows are clean and look at the sidewalk to see if the cement is level. Is the exterior door is on all the hinges? Is the building freshly painted or if it’s chipping off? If the restaurant has signage, I check to see if it’s appropriately attached to the poles or building. Once I am inside, the first thing I notice is the floor to see if it free of dust and food. I also observer the he tables, seating and lighting. Some may say that I am too picky. For me, I get a psychological vision of how comfortable I will be while enjoying my food. The bathroom must be spotless and have hot water. Roaches are an absolute no no.
It’s best to have a comfortable temperature so that I can concentrate on the food; not the goose bumps on my arm or the sweat on my forehead.
I like when people acknowledge me immediately to let me know that they are happy and ready to serve.
The food must be warm to hot and well seasoned. Color has to be right. For example, I went to a restaurant and ordered plantains. The plantains were very lightly colored as if they weren’t cooked all the way. I also take notice of the layout of food on the plate. When proportions are in alignment the food looks more appetizing.
The rates must be competitive so that I can afford to patronize the business often. What good is it to have great food if one can only afford to eat there once every 2 months?
So in short, if a restaurant has presentation, good weather, excellent customer service, fair pricing and tasty food. I will be back!
Ann-Marie McCoy is a contributing writer for AtlantaSoulFood.com. It is a premier guide to American, Caribbean and African soul food restaurants, caterers, personal chefs and food product manufacturers.