I am torn. In a perfect world, I resent having to choose between good food and good service when I go to a restaurant. When compelled to choose, I prefer the good food. The biggest part of why I go to a restaurant is to eat something delicious that I cannot easily prepare at home. That said, I also eat out because I can do things I can’t at home– for example, I can sit on my bum, wait for people to bring me stuff, and then have them clean it up and take it away. Good service matters less than good food, but it matters too. Happily, most restaurants don’t make me choose between the two. Sadly, Bubba’s 33 in both Midland and Odessa does. I eat there because the food is consistently good, the prices are reasonable, and I love the atmosphere of having lots of televisions on to watch lots of games of sportsball. I keep waiting a couple of months between visits because every time I go, something weird happens service wise which makes me want to not go back for a while.
As a write this, I acknowledge that my experience may not be the same as everyone else’s. I welcome your comments below, and for that matter would be happy to post almost any decent comment from the restaurant management itself. For the most part, this particular post is a review of a visit from roughly 7-8:30 or so (p.m.) on Friday, September 29, 2017 to the Odessa location. My first visit, however, was in late January or early February of this year to the location in Midland.
Quickly about the Midland visit: It is the same menu and a very similar layout. The food was delicious, and everything that passed by our table on its way to someone else also looked good. The service weirdness there requires descretion to describe on a family website, but I received abundant evidence later that evening and into the next morning that the Shotgun Shrimp– which had tasted delicious on the way down– had either been bad or undercooked. I called to complain the next morning, and they sent me a couple of gift certificates. It was a lovely gesture, although I did not use them before they expired. It took a while to build up the confidence to eat there again. The food was delicious, however, so I eventually did.
A few months down the road, I went back without my wife but with my two kids. The pizza, wings, and burgers were great, although the service was slow and somewhat poorly coordinated. So, we waited a few more months to make the visit I am principally describing here. This particular visit happened with my wife and my 9 year old. My 9 year old had just completed baseball practice (in the rain! good times), and all three of us were very hungry. We arrived a couple of minutes before 7 and could immediately see that there was going to be a long wait. I inquired as to the wait time and was clearly told 20-30 minutes. Thinking this sounded reasonable, I put my name on the list, took my pager, and off I went. It is easy to wait when lots of televisions are showing lots of sporting events.
At 7:40, I went back to the host stand to inquire as to the status of our request to be seated. I said it had been 42 minutes on a 20-30 minute wait time, and I wanted to see how long it would be. To be clear, my problem wasn’t with the wait itself. My problem was with the fact that the wait was rather longer than we had been told to expect. So that, all by itself, was service problem number 1.
Service problem #2 quickly followed. The hostess responded that she had told us 30-40 minutes and it had only been 36 minutes. That. Was. Not. True. I informed her that this was incorrect, and it is likely that I was not as warm and friendly as I would like to imagine when I did so. I resent people who look to my face and tell me an untruth. I was also troubled by her 36 minute calculation. I am a profoundly monochronic (one who pays attention to the clock) guy, and this calculation was also incorrect. It can only mean that they did not put us properly on the waiting list in the computer for several minutes after they handed us the buzzer. She later acknowledged, “That’s right, I did tell you 20-30 minutes.” They then sent someone to clear off a table, and several minutes later we were seated. That quickly appeased my very hungry 9 year old, because he was into the Los Angeles vs Colorado baseball game which was on several of the screens.
Our waitress showed up fairly quickly to ask for drink orders, and we got iced tea (with a lemonade for the boy). My wife was driving so I had the chance to peruse the cocktail menu, which I did while waiting for the tea. We also ordered the glazed bacon appetizer. It comes with 5 incredibly thick slices of pork belly, and by the time I thought to take a picture we had already eaten four of them. Seriously, this appetizer is fantastic. It is served with two dipping sauces on a bed of crispy, shaved potatoes. The food showed up fairly quickly, and we were happy campers.
When our waitress came back to take our dinner orders, I asked for a beer. She did not ask what size beer I wanted, and I did not think to say, We also ordered some boneless buffalo wings, a 16″ Italian Margherita pizza, and a small wedge salad. The beer came first, and I received this enormous tanker of a thing in which I should have attempted to swim. I prefer smaller beers, because it is easier to keep them cold that way. Also, I was a 43 year old man out with my wife and child rather than…. well, rather than the set of choices I might have made 20 years ago which would have led to ordering this beer on purpose. The good news is that when the bill came the “Modelo Especial Bubba” only cost $6.25. It was a great deal, and it was still not what I intended to order.
The rest of the meal was rather more straightforward. I enjoyed the salad very much. The wings weren’t great, but they were still solid. The pizza, however, was amazing. Either Bubba’s or Jersey Girl has the best pie in town, and we enjoyed that very much. This is the second pizza I have had there, and they were both fantastic.
After we got our food, obtaining our bill and paying it were straightforward. I’ll even go back to the restaurant, because I legitimately enjoy the food and find it to be fairly priced. It would be a great place to watch football with my buddies one Saturday. I just won’t go back as often as I might, because something weird service-wise happens every time. I have to really want food and beer and sports to make it worth it.