A children’s theater production…Shrek and company…Not so good dining experience…

Madighan, Camille, and Maisie at The Stages Theater in Hopkins where the four of us saw a local production of Shrek.

By the time we uploaded yesterday’s post around noon, it was time for me to go back upstairs to our hotel room to change clothes and head to Greg’s home in St. Louis Park for a children’s theatre event.

Camille had purchased four tickets for us and Maisie and Madighan to see the new production of Shrek at the popular Stages Theatre in Hopkins, an often sought venture for kid celebrations and special events.

It was odd but the theatre didn’t have a parking lot in downtown Hopkins, a sleepy town known for its annual Raspberry Festival which my sons and I attended 40 years ago when we lived in nearby Minnetonka in the 1970’s.

“Hopkins Raspberry Festival

The Hopkins Raspberry Festival is an annual event in Hopkins. The Hopkins Raspberry Festival was founded in 1935 as a way to boost business during the Great Depression of the 1930s. A date of July 21 was chosen to hold the event to coincide with the peak of the raspberry-picking season. The festival now takes place the third weekend in July every year.
The Raspberry Festival is overseen by a board of directors supported by many additional volunteers and local civic organizations each year. Most of the volunteers return from year to year, with some being active for as many as 20 years. Since its inception, it has evolved into a dynamic community celebration with activities including music, sporting events, royalty coronations, craft fair, and parade.”

Hopkins, only consisting of four square miles (with a population around 18,000) is also known for it’s highly rated high school, low-priced movie theatre and of course, the Stages Theatre.

The Shrek production was well done with performers skillfully singing and dancing throughout the musical production. The storyline was light, as the case for most children’s productions and of course, it had a happy ending.

Madighan, Camille, and Maisie at the Stages Children’s Theater.

When the production ended, we made our way back to Greg and Camille’s home where I dropped them off, stopping to say hello again to Greg and Miles who was busy working on one of Greg’s vehicles. 

Back at the hotel around dinner time, Tom and I jumped back into the red SUV to head out to dinner to a restaurant where we’ve dined for no less than four prior occasions during this past month we’ve been in Minnesota. 

There were few diners on a Sunday evening in the now-familiar establishment. Waiting for a table for five or six minutes at the hostess stand, we wondered when we’d be served, noting many open booths and tables.

Asking for a booth, the hostess stated they were no available booths and yet, we had a clear view of two booths that only needed to be cleared. Tom pressed for a booth while I waited patiently curious to see how this situation would roll out. 

With an added level of insistence, Tom finally got the hostess to see we were serious about getting a booth.  Their wooden high-top chairs aren’t comfortable and we wanted a booth. Had there not been any available booths, of course, he wouldn’t have pressed the issue.

The small intimate theater was freezing in today’s cold weather.

The hostess finally agreed to clear one of the booth’s tables explaining we’d have to wait  for “several minutes.”  We waited quietly and finally were escorted to the booth, handed menus while graciously thanking the annoyed hostess. We rarely make any type of fuss in any types of venues but felt insistent in this particular case.

Each time we’ve dined at this restaurant, we’ve ordered the same items off the menu. Perusing the menu for other options, we still ended up ordering our usual items which had been perfect on all of our past visits. We waited for 30 minutes for the food to finally arrive. 

The restaurant continued to be quiet with few tables filled. Tom’s food was cold (obviously from sitting under the lights and not being served promptly and mine had the wrong type of meat and was missing items. 

I’d ordered the shredded beef for my chop salad and they brought a chunk of badly charred steak that was grossly overcooked. Waiting five minutes for the waitress to return to the table to explain our “issues,” she finally whisked away our plates, returning 10 minutes later with a new hotter dish for Tom.

Another view of Paulette and Mark’s beautifully landscaped lake property.

Again, my order was wrong. All they’d done was cut the burnt steak into tiny cubes and delivered it with the salad on a separate plate which I’d requested. There was no way I was going to eat those burnt little chunks of beef. Again, she returned my plate to the kitchen while I insisted Tom eat his meal before it got cold again.

Finally, my meal arrived but the salad was missing the avocado and bacon. I didn’t bother to mention this at that point. Since I don’t eat bottled dressings, I’d asked for sour cream when ordering. It still hadn’t been served. 

Again, I waited, this time for the sour cream which arrived in the tiniest of containers, way too small for the amount of lettuce in the bowl. It was comparable to putting one tablespoon of dressing on a huge salad.

At last, the waitress brought me a reasonable portion of sour cream. At this point, we’d had enough and I asked to see a manager. We waited for 10 minutes for her to arrive.  When she approached us, she immediately mentioned she was aware of our “issues” and was going to”comp” our dinner while apologizing profusely for the food and the service.

Paulette and Mark’s view of Ham Lake from their yard.

We appreciatively accepted her apology and the “comp” and finished our meals. Will we go back?  We’ve loved this restaurant on all of the prior occasions. We’ve agreed to give it another try but not on a Sunday when a lighter staff may have contributed to the problems with the food and service.

We haven’t mentioned the name of the restaurant since our comments aren’t intended as a bad review.  If all turns out well after our next visit to this establishment, we’ll write a good review. Why tarnish their reputation over one bad experience?

Today, Miles is with us for the day. Soon, Tom will pick up Sister Beth in Blaine to take her to the airport for her return flight to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was her second visit to Minneapolis since we arrived and was a surprise intended for Margie’s birthday party on Saturday night. 

The end of the day from Paulette and Mark’s yard in Ham Lake.

On Friday, while Tom attended the “Back to the 50s” event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, I collected Sister Beth at the airport and drove her to Patty’s home in Blaine. I never mentioned it in Friday or Saturday’s post for fear of spoiling the surprise element.

That contributed to mine and Madighan’s driving time on Friday, including dropping Tom at the fairgrounds and picking him up later in the day during rush hour. She was quite the trooper when we spent nearly five hours in the red SUV.

Today, after Tom returns around 1:00 pm, we’re taking Miles fishing. It will be another pleasant and busy day.  We hope you have a good day as well!

Photo from one year ago today, June 26, 2016:

It was business as usual with Tom wearing a sarong as the required dress to enter the monkey temple. He had a hard time managing the steps. He just didn’t have the same experience as women who’ve worn long dresses, knowing when to hold up the hem for ease in walking. For the final figures as we wrapped up our first two-month stint in Bali, please click here.