I’m giving this place 2 stars because actually the food is not bad and the variety is practically limitless. If you’re looking for a quick bite around lunchtime, this is a place you’ll come to often. But it’s not the kind of establishment you want to linger in. Some people will eat here once and make a point to never eat here again.
The food is kinda pot luck. You can almost get anything here. It could be some generic Chinese food one day, a burrito, funky Korean tacos, a salad bar, soup, sandwiches, pizza, baked potatoes, kale & freekeh curry. And the prices are reasonable. You could spend a lot but something about the atmosphere of the place keeps your budget low.
It’s kind of a unique setup: each table, or seating area if you call it that, has this a low wall separating you from the other patrons, so you have some privacy. But somehow the privacy takes away from the social aspect of dining. Plus, you can hear everybody else around you. I couldn’t believe some people next to me were actually holding a conference call on speakerphone nearby.
I don’t know if it’s some kind of feature or gimmick of this place, but sometimes random people will interrupt you while you’re eating and ask obscure questions: “Hey did you see ‘Better Call Saul’ last night?” or “Is it raining out?” Once, this other patron came by and asked me for a status report and I thought that was wildly inappropriate. But then I remembered this was actually a person from work and, it’s true, I did owe her that status report.
The lighting and environment leave a lot to be desired. Even with a little daylight, harsh fluorescent light should never be so liberally. Carpeting is a bad idea where food is being served. You can tell a lotta food (or whatever it is) has been spilled on this carpet.
The decorations on the walls are an odd pastiche that don’t brighten things up much. One looked like a list of phone numbers, another a schedule of some sort, some diagrams and handwritten notes. There’s some photos of people and a couple of funny New Yorker cartoons. Some pennants for local sports teams. Go Mets. Or Redskins. Or the Arlington Spy Ponders, whatever they are.
I saw some tables actually had a whiteboard. I guess if you have kids you can occupy them with the whiteboard and they can doodle while you’re waiting? But smelling dry erase markers while eating got kinda nauseating. They really need to do something about that. Maybe a chalkboard?
You’d think they’d provide better seating but the idea of a swivel chair with rubbery armrests was just gross. I couldn’t pull the seat under the table and it just kinda made me realize there’s something to be said for functional seating designed for eating and relaxing and less about swiveling and wheeling around.
The service, well, there simply is no service. I had to get all the food myself. They supply all the paper plates, plastic forks and knives and napkins you could ever want. They have a Keurig coffee maker and a water cooler, which usually works. Although once, I saw a patron had to put a fresh 5 gallon jug in the water cooler. That’s some pretty heavy lifting to ask patrons to do.
One good thing, I guess, was there was plenty of room for my laptop and they supply a computer and a good sized monitor too with speakers at every table. Free decent wifi, plenty of outlets and USB ports and they even have ethernet ports at each table which I had never seen before. I was actually able to check personal email and get some work done. They let you pick out your own music. I brought headphones because, for whatever reason, I tend to eat alone. I’m crazy that way. They actually have a phone at each table. This made no sense. Plus when the phone rang, there was no way I would pick it up. Not only did I have a mouthful of food, I’m not going to take reservations for this place.
Oh yeah, no reservations. This place is pretty much available anytime. I’ve had lunch here more times than I can count. But you can get breakfast here and I’ve started to have dinners there too. Dinner is really a letdown because without daylight, it’s all fluorescent lights and, even though there’s less people around and no conference calls in the background, it’s kinda depressing. Definitely not a dinner place to wind down your workday. I’ve heard it’s really dead on the weekends so I’m avoiding that entirely. But if you’re looking for a quick bite in the middle of your day and you have to get back to work super fast, this place definitely does the trick.
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