Saturday, December 20, 2014

Roy Rogers (Rockville) Food Review

Roy Rogers returns to Rockville!

It took what seemed like forever, but Roy Rogers finally opened their newest location this week, along the Pike in Rockville, Maryland... inching closer to the nation's capital. It took me the rest of said week to find time to get out there; but unfortunately my first visit proved hardly worth the wait.

For starters, where's the magic? Despite a long line of customers at four o'clock in the afternoon, the restaurant felt dead. There's a reason Roy's is our #1 rated fast food restaurant; yet the new Rockville location has a long way to go, in terms of reaching those lofty standards. Ordering a cheeseburger combo without cheese required the assistance of a manager, and an extra two minutes of standing around. My advice? Cashiers should be fluent in English (just sayin'.) At least the cashier apologized, on top of being very polite; but nobody likes waiting, do they?

Roy's famous Fixin's Bar

Eat-in orders means no holster fries; so if you want the classic brown fry holder (I'm all about nostalgia) ask for carry-out, then eat-in. Mine came as part of a 1/4 lb. Hamburger Combo (large.) I also ordered a Biscuit and small side of Mashed Potatoes with Gravy (for test purposes, of course... not unadulterated greed.) I had to ask for my drink cup (oops) which was quickly filled via Roy's terrific Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser. After grabbing a tall table near the front, and cleaning it myself (tsk-tsk) I took a look around, as I waited for my name to be called.

This newest Roy's isn't big, but looks relatively clean (my table notwithstanding.) There's one TV against the back wall, and a long, red awning over a row of tables along the side. When the weather improves, diners can take advantage of a relatively spacious outdoor seating area. As I mentioned earlier, there's also a resonating feeling of blah throughout the restaurant. This could have something to do with Roy's dreadful country music background (Wyonna's "Girls with Guitars," Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl.") I'm all for creating atmosphere; but at some point, you have to know your customers. This is Rockville, not Nashville.

1/4 lb. Hamburger & French Fries

My food order took some time to assemble (over five minutes) despite an abundance of staff (opening week extras, I like to call 'em.) The manager-in-charge took turns talking to staff in-person (and on his cell phone, will sitting at the table next to me.) All the while, three other employees stopped in front of the bathroom to chat about nothing in particular. Normally, no big deal; but they were blocking a paying customer from exiting the restroom. Two of them actually saw her waiting to squeeze by, but failed to budge. Eventually, the customer circumvented the trio, who conveniently ended their confab immediately after. Keep in mind, customer service is usually at its best early on. Uh-oh.

Mashed Potatoes and Biscuit

Food quality was a mixed bag. Fries were almost cold, and the burger average at best (Thank Heaven for the Fixin's Bar with a new Sauce of the Month - Boom Boom!) The biscuit felt identical to a hockey puck, probably several hours old and barely lukewarm. On the plus side, the mashed potatoes were piping hot and flavorful... close to delicious.

I'd be lying if I told you I was excited to come back. Finding a Roy's within 15 miles from home should have been reason to celebrate; but instead, I left relatively disappointed. I couldn't even scan their receipt (wrong format?) to Roy's iPhone app, missing out on credits, etc. Can you say "brand loyalty?" Better yet, can you say "room for improvement?" Let's hope this was a case of opening jitters, and not a sign omen of things to come.