In the company of a veteran restaurateur, there is more than a little guilt when walking into a dining establishment brandishing a coupon.
We’re not exactly cheap but we enjoy a good deal almost as much as we enjoy kibitzing over a glass of wine. By being attentive to the wallet, we can afford to meet for lunch a little more often.
So, we cashed in a Groupon for Smacky’s on Broadway.
This out-of-our-way place would never have been on our radar without a little prodding and our taste buds would have been the losers.
Our guilt quickly melted away. After the friendliest greeting we’ve ever received, the owner asked us if we knew the routine and then quickly laid out the plan. When asked what he might recommend, we got a guided tour of the menu.
Oh, what a menu of unusual combinations for sandwiches and wraps. As we stepped back to consider what we wanted, we were already sold.
One thing jumped out for one of us – a hot Rueben. It’s a good thing it did, because the wide variety of mouth-watering sandwiches makes a decision for the hungry almost impossible.
The Rueben was “hot” because of the diced jalapeños. For someone trying to hit every Rueben listed in a Rueben review in this newspaper, this unpublished discovery is probably the leader in the clubhouse. Not too sweet, definitely not plain, it’s a sandwich that always comes to mind when considering a lunch date.
Making a decision was equally difficult for the other diner, who went with the special, on this day the Black and Blue chicken wrap. The wrap, blackened chicken with a little tang from the anything-but-overpowering blue cheese, was as good as advertised.
But let’s get back to those coupons: In a business that operates with a 20 percent margin, a half-off coupon can only be considered the cost of advertising. The restaurateur insisted that if you were pleased with the service, food and cleanliness of the business, as we were with Smacky’s, a bigger than usual tip should follow if you hope to find it open the next time you want to visit.
We couldn’t wait to share our “find” with friends. Unfortunately Smacky’s is not open on weekends; a big loss for out-of-town guests.