So last night Ryan and I went to dinner at a popular local Austin restaurant (which in the interest of avoiding another Clambake Jake's incident we'll refer to as, let's say, "Luey's"). Recently this eatery opened a location just a hop skip and a jump from our house so we visited the new establishment to see if it would be less crowded than original recipe Luey's. It was....disappointing.
The wait wasn't too bad - 25 minutes, but for a Saturday night in Austin at a crowded eatery, that's not too shabby. If we'd gone to downtown Luey's on the weekend the wait would've been an hour or more, so...there's that. As it was a pleasant night out, we plopped ourselves on a bench in their cute garden waiting area and had margaritas.
Here's where the differences between original Luey's and suburban Luey's began making themselves clear. The drinks weren't BAD, per say, but just incredibly mediocre, tasting strongly of margarita mix. The food was similarly unremarkable. It was fresh and tasted ok, but I couldn't put my finger on why it wasn't as good as my usual plate of Luey's Special until Ryan made a good point.
"Well, their grill probably lacks the flavor layers of a 25 year old grill"
I think he hit it on the nose.
The decor had the basic Luey's elements, from the hubcaps on the ceiling to the funky paint on the walls, but was missing touches like the customer signed stickers covering the hubcaps and the fun randomness of the Elvis/fish theme.
It just seems like the more local chains expand and become a "brand" the more that brand is diluted. I think in the future we'll stick to visiting original Luey's on off hours and wait for the day when new Luey's has developed some personality and more flavor.