Every time my father works on the east side of town, he visits the Nestle Foods Stouffer’s Outlet store located at 5750 Harper Road in Solon, Ohio. Surprisingly, Stouffer’s thrift store is not very well publicized. I searched for information on their website, but was not able to find any information on it. Regardless, I knew about it through my family. Since we are expecting a new baby any day now, we wanted to stock up the freezer with some easy prep meals. Some of the best advice we were given in our lamaze is that the best gift people can give you after you have a baby is food and easy preparation meals because the last thing tired parents with a new baby want to do is prepare a meal.
Shortly after we arrived in the Stouffer’s parking lot, we were surpised just how busy the parking lot was, but after giving it further thought, it was a Saturday. It was proof to us though that the place is not that much of a secret, because it was crowded the entire time we were there. Overall, we scored some excellent deals, and luckily we have a chest freezer with an abundance of extra space to store all of our finds. We picked up large trays of lemongrass ginger chicken ($4.99), baked apples ($3.99), Mac and Cheese ($5.99), and lasagna ($8.99). Considering the large trays serve easily 4 people, they were an excellent value. In addition, we picked up lots of lean cuisine items and other smaller easy serve trays of food that we can easily pick up and make on the go.
After stocking up, we headed over the Michael Symon’s new restaurant, B-Spot. Around Cleveland, Michael Symon is about as famous as it gets when it comes to food. His other successful restaurants have all been very well received, including Lola and Lolita. Unfortunately, Bar Symon never worked out, but we were there to try out the new endeavor. B Spot is a burger joint, and was recently awarded the Best Burger in America at the 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, so surely it is worth trying.
B Spot is located in an upscale shopping center in Woodmere. Somehow we had been missing it during our trips to the Trader Joe’s location next door since B Spot was kind of tucked in the corner of the plaza. We arrived shortly after noon, and the place was packed. We were initially told it would be a 15-20 minute wait and we were the first on the list; however, a table was being cleaned as we arrived, so we were quickly ushered to our booth. The atmosphere of the restaurant is different than his other places, with more of a relaxed atmosphere. On one wall was a giant collage of beer cans. Above the bar were detailed parts that resembled the assemblies you receive with model kits. The facility also opened up into the mall and had a door for access to the patio during the summer. For a Michael Symon caliber restaurant, I was surprised though to see that the place was not terribly large and could foresee long waits during peak times. If you know Michael Symon, most of his restaurants focus on pork, the pig, swine. B Spot is a totally different franchise.
The menu features burgers ranging from $6-11, and the detail to the toppings were well thought out and unique. We ordered the chips with Parmesan fondue and rosemary ($5.00), my wife ordered the Symon Says (burger with bologna, coleslaw, whip sauce, & American cheese; $8.00), and I ordered the Fat Doug (burger with coleslaw, pastrami, Swiss, mustard; $9.00). We asked our waiter, who was some young kid with a horrible attitude, if they had a kids menu, but they did not. In our opinion, that was a huge error on the part of the restaurant. If you are going to have a burger joint, you need to at least have some type of option for kids. I was not about to order my toddler son an entire $10 burger, that he may not eat. So my wife and I shared parts of our burgers with our son. He usually is not a huge meat connoisseur, and usually prefers vegetables to fries, but this time he dove right in.
As I thought about the lack of a kid menu some more, I realized Michael Symon is missing out on a potentially huge profit margin. Not only did you not get additional money from us had we ordered a “kids” item, as people become aware of the non-kid friendly menu, you are pushing clientele from ever even coming to the restaurant. Honestly, we would have even paid $10 for an additional meal, if it had even been labeled as a kids meal. B Spot could easily create a smaller version of their basic burger, label it as a kids menu, and rake in additional funds. My wife summed it up excellently at the end that Michael Symon must not have kids, otherwise he would relate to our situation.
Anyways, back to the food we did order. The food arrived promptly and hot and ready. The chips were nice and crispy and featured an excellent fondue for dipping. In addition, each table comes with a caddie full of additional sauces. The balsamic steak sauce tasted great with the chips. The burgers were good enough on their own, that they did not need any additional sauce. B Spot also features a separate pickle bar that you can take your burger up to once it arrives. My wife picked up an assortment of pickles, which our son LOVED! Needless to say, our son ate a ton of pickles, a couple of chips, and a lot of both my wife and my burgers. We were all successfully full at the end and thought the food was a great value. The service on the other hand needed some improvement. Our waiter had such a poor, cocky attitude that it kinda took away from the experience. However, we really want to take some additional family members once some of the other locations open up in the future. Our son loved it so much, that his belly must have been content, because within 5 minutes in the car ride, he was asleep.
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