Friday, April 09, 2010

Our First Visit To Denny's

Well, it took until the fifth morning for us to visit the new Denny's located on Western Avenue in Rancho Palos Verdes.
I don't feel it is fair to make a real review of the entire outing because today marked the first Friday the new Denny's has been in operation.
Some time ago, there was a Denny's restaurant on Western Avenue near the corner of Western and Park Western. When the Ralph's Shopping area was remodeled some years ago, the old Denny's closed.
That Denny's was thought of quite well by it customers and the opening of the new Denny's was highly anticipated for months now, even before most folks knew what was replacing the Planet Kids store.
As it happened, I talked to the assembled wait-staff and managers during a meeting a week ago on a Thursday evening. I wanted to know when the restaurant was opening so I could post that information on several of my blogs.
During a short conversation I had with the head manager and with many ears perked up because of the stranger attending the meeting, I told everyone in the room that their new work location was highly anticipated and they should expect to see large crowds from the opening of the doors.
The entire wait staff, cooks and managers seemed surprised and somewhat shocked when I told them the information. They were all also quite pleased smiles abounded all through the seating area.
As it came to pass, I was not wrong one bit. The Denny's has been packed.
By 8:45 this morning all the seats were filled and there were customers waiting for table openings.
The two sides of the restaurant have parking spaces. Naturally all the spaces were filled. I expect that when the Asaka Grill finally opens there will be an average of ZERO spaces for customers of that site, right next to Denny's.
It looks like the workers at both restaurants will have to park somewhere other than the parking lots for those two places. I hope they don't choose Trudie, Highmore, or Jaybrook, thank you very much.
As you may have expected, there were two cars in the Marie Callender's parking lot as we walked through it. You may want to enjoy Marie Callender's while it is still open because it certainly looks like their customer traffic has dropped off and will continue to drop off as Denny's becomes more well known (not like it really needs it).
Because I should not offer a real review of the place, I do want to share some impressions and comments with the opening week and I think it is going to take a couple of months before a true set of opinions can reveal what normal experiences at Denny's should be expected.
The restaurants hours are as follows;
From 6:00 AM on Friday and until 11:00 PM on Sunday, Denny's will remain open.
All other times Denny's hours are 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.
It appears that the conditional use permit does not permit Denny's to post the "Always Open" sign found on just about every other Denny's.
Parking is bad and probably that won't go away in the forseeable future. I have seen times when there was parking along Western Avenue, even directly in front of Denny's.
The south parking lot is also going to be used by customers of Asaka Grill once it opens AND if Denny's customers don't take up all the parking. This lot also has some spaces it takes skill to get into and out of. They are the spaces sort of behind the restaurant and near the gate that we found closed preventing a throughway between the two parking areas. I hope Denny's management open the two sets of gates behind the restaurant and leave them open during business hours.
You will be greeted by friendly and I really mean friendly managers and those showing you to your seat. They are a bit rusty with their actions but since there is nothing "normal" about Denny's yet, that is quite fine with me.
I remember with other Denny's that once ordered, it sometimes takes an eternity for the food to arrive. Please be very patient during your visits to Denny's in the coming months. The food you get might be cooled off by the time it finally arrives, but I expect that when the Denny's finds its normality, food will arrive sooner.
We had to request from someone other than our wait staff for the bill. We ended up getting copies from two different employees and did I mention they were friendly?
There is absolutely no reason for Terri and I and whoever visits Denny's while with us, need to add another vehicle to the parking lots.
Since those of you who know what I look like know I still need to lose lots of weight, I was pleasently surprised by the make-your-own Grand Slam. That size of Grand Slam is not the size I remember and I never needed that amount of food I remember filled the plate.
My Grand Slam consited of two regular size eggs, amout the smallest portion of hash browns I have seen in any restaurant in R.P.V. and San Pedro, two sausage links and two pancakes, each about 1/4 to 1/5 the size of my beloved Fluffys enjoyed at Rex's Diner.
The price was $5.99 and other than the eggs being cool, somebody like me need to learn to live better with smaller portions and at a price I can live with.
It looks like tables and chairs could be added to the dining area if the C.U.P. allows for that. But with the parking lots full with the amount of tables and chairs there already, more tables might create problems.
I did write to officials and our city's Traffic Safety Commission about something I observed that I feel could be a safety hazard and a potential for liability with R.P.V.
We saw many Denny's customers heading north on Western making a U-turn from the left turn lane for the south entrance to The Terraces.
Normally, that turning lane is overflowing during commute times and the added number of customers choosing to not go into The Terraces but rather making U-turns will add to the congestion along northbound Western and probably more collisions.
I don't have a solution for my thoughts but I don't think drivers will heed NO U-TURN signs on the medians of Western.
Of course we saw a "true Pedro thing" when we visited Denny's. Even though the restaurant is physically located in Rancho Palos Verdes everybody knows everybody else who live in San Pedro so many of you will meet friends and/or family members when you go to Denny's.
It's just like the Target where many of us can't get through a visit where we don't greet somebody we know.
The consequences of having the new Denny's where it is makes me think that perhaps Marie Callender's will continue to be a very good restaurant for our elderly friends and neighbors.
Many folks who are up in their years find comfort when they take their meals at Marie's. I think it has been that way for years. Whether Marie Callender's can survive what I expect to be a big drop in business is something we won't know for some time.
As for Asaka Grill, I haven't found any notice of when it may open.
Denny's is now the new monster on the Avenue. Folks who eat there will hopefully do other shopping along Western in both San Pedro and R.P.V. I do hope they visit Marshalls' more than they visit Ross. I also hope they visit Trader Joe's more than they visit the store near Peck Park.
For dining pleasure similar to Denny's I hope they visit Coco's over Carrow's and Azteca over Taxco. I certainly don't folks visiting Domenick's and Niccolo's. Eating at Baja Fresh is a good thing. I hope you like the ice cream at 31 flavors more than Coldstone Creamery. All of the above eateries are wonderful, but some of them help our General Fund grow with portions of Sales Tax dollars that flow into R.P.V.
For the high school football and party crowds, having Denny's open all night on Fridays and Saturdays is a good thing. It allows revelers the chance to continue in a safe and comfortable environment and it also provides more food options to those who need to eat because they drank too much alcohol.
For me, sobering up at the IHOP many year ago when it was open late helped. I was all done with that by the time the old Denny's opened or I chose not to cross Western while drunk. It was easier staggering home from IHOP than just about anywhere else.
So please, ENJOY DENNY'S! When it becomes a normal "San Pedro" restaurant, then I think we can make fair reviews. I use "San Pedro" because that is where our hearts still side with.


Jim said...

The service at most restaurants is usually not too good during their first week or two of business, and I think most people expect that. However, if the service doesn't improve, and if it takes forever for your food to get to your table, you can expect to see a "FOR LEASE" out front soon. Nothing kills a restaurant faster than poor service.

As far as Marie Callenders goes, I hope they can ride out their slump in business. I'm sure that after their customers try out Dennys, they will be back to Marie Callenders were they can count on hot food and good service.

With your line of thinking on reidents spending money in their own cities so their city gets sales tax dollars, maybe Janice Hahn should go to Trani's instead of Think Prime

M Richards said...

Thanks Jim, but NAY, NAY, NAY to having Janice eat at places other than Think Prime, Admiral Risty's, Terranea, Trump National, Denny's, Coco's Azteca, Jack in the Box (Western) Niccolo's, Domineck's, Saladish, Carl's Junior, Baja Fresh, IHOP, Lucky Star, Maui Chicken, H. Salt, and a few others.

I want and hope everyone eats at the eateries listed above especially the first four. We really get a bang for the big bucks those four places charge.

I've eaten at probably 90% of the restaurants in San Pedro, save for Neal's which I really need to get to.

Jim said...

Mark, how could you ever urge anyone to patronize anything run by Donald Trump? I ask this not because Trump is a jerk, but because he is suing the City of RPV for 100 million dollars.

M Richards said...

Jim, good point! Okay everyone, don't spend even one penny at what I normally call Ronald Frump's Ocean Fails Irrational Golf Course.

As we all watch Save Our City III grow, we will learn that this new group fears that if the proposed initiative for The Marymount Plan succeeds at the ballot box in November, it could mean that the Donald, the York property owners and who knows who else might start floating initiatives to take away the responsibility and processes voters provided to City Council members they put onto the Council.

The Donald is another real reason that the proposed initiative for The Marymount Plan must be defeated.