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Normally, if I suffer a bad experience while dining at a restaurant, I prefer simply to not publish an article rather than slamming the place.  However, on Saturday, February 26, 2011 I threw my journalistic ethics to the wind after suffering though one of the worst dining experiences that I've had in a couple years, courtesy of Mr. Subs.

Photo:  I've walked past Mr. Subs for years, and always wanted to stop by, as they have a large sign that says BURGERS, and posters of yummy combination meals plastered on their windows.  They're also a locally owned, mom and pop operation, and I definitely prefer to patronize the little guy.  So on this early Saturday afternoon, while on my daily walk, I stopped by Mr. Subs to enjoy a burger for my lunch.  

Photo:  Mr. Subs refers to their burgers as "Charbroiled City Burgers," and they offer a dozen or so varieties, with most of the priced below $6.00.  The menu states that "All City Burgers come with 1/3 lb. of fresh beef, served with homemade thousand island sauce, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and seasoning.  So I bellied up to the counter and placed my order for a "Charbroiled City Burger," an order of fries and a draught beer, and I was stunned when the girl at the counter asked me to fork over $10.16!!!  That's way too much to pay for a burger (not a cheeseburger) fries and a beer... my first inclination was to simply "no thank you" and head out the door, but I'd been wanting to eat at this place for quite some time, and publish an article, so I paid for my order and sat down at a table near the counter, where I could watch off the action.  I also made it very clear to the young lady at the counter that I was going to take a few photos and publish my dining experience on my Web Site, which would amount to free advertising for them.  She didn't seem to comprehend what I had said... oh well.  In retrospect, I should have followed my first inclination... to reject the

Photo:  Mr. Subs features a clean, comfortable dining room.  The format is that you place your order and pay for it at the counter, then pay for it, and when it's ready, one of the folks at the counter will place your order on the counter and tell you it's ready.  The three gentlemen in the photo were the only other customers in the restaurant during the time of my visit, so counting myself, that made four customers and three staff members.  With a ratio like that, you'd expect fast service, but after sitting at my table and nursing my beer for 15 minutes, I got up and ordered anther beer, and maybe after another five minutes, my order was ready, and a gentleman that I'll refer to as "Mr. Manners" beckoned me to the counter to retrieve my order.

Photo: The owner, and guy behind the counter goes by Benny, but I prefer to call him,  "Mr. Manners."  This unfriendly dude didn't just place my order on the table and give me a friendly wave... he stared me directly into the eye, pointed at me, and wiggled his index finger in a "you'd better come to me" manner.  Whatever... So when I went to the counter, he said, "I want to talk to you."  OK, Mr. Punk, "Benny-Boy," talk to me... Then he said something like "I saw you taking pictures and you're not supposed to take pictures in here."  This dude didn't just say this, he looked angry and he looked at me in a very threatening way, as if he meant to intimidate me into cowering like a timid, little mouse.  I've been around the block a few times, and I know my rights, so I gave it to him with both barrels, and told him:

*  The restaurant is open to the public, and serves the public; the dining room is open to the public to walk into... therefore nobody has any expectations of privacy from photos, as long as the photos are "g" rated (mine are...)
*  There were no signs posted saying the photography is prohibited
*  Unless it's clearly posted, there is no law prohibiting me from taking photos
*  I was only taking "general" photos, therefore a model release isn't required
*  Call the police to arrest me if I'm breaking any laws

After I had that little conversation with him,  "Mr. Manners" lost it... his face got beet red and he started blubbering and babbling incoherently, and wasn't making any sense... he looked rediculous.  I looked at him, and just started laughing.  Then I told him I was going to sit down, photograph my meal, enjoy it, and I would nevr come back to his place again.  I also told him that my pen is mightier than the sword and that I was going to publish an article, detailing my dining experience, and that basically I'd be slamming Mr. Subs.  The only thing "Mr. Manners" could say was "enjoy your meal,"  which I did... the burger, fries and beer was adequate, but quite forgetable.  I made sure that I used up the entire bottle of catsup, but you know what... I love catsup on my fries!!!

The above photo shows "Mr. Manners" hard at work behind the counter, getting my order ready.  In case your interested, it wasn't like I was snapping photos like crazy, as before his temper tantrum erupted, I snapped a total of three photos, all of which I've published.

Photo:  This is what you get for $10.16 at Mr. Subs:  A "City Burger," fries and a beer.  The burger was good, but unremarkable, cooked perfectly, and the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles were fresh.  The fries were crispy golden on the outside, and nice and chewy on the outside, and not too salty.  The burger was that, just a burger, and didn't include cheese, and altogether, quite forgettable.  I'm not going to say that the price of this meal was outrageous, but for what you get, I feel it's pricey, and even if "Mr. Manners" hadn't proved to be such a boor, I probably would have never return to Mr. Subs.  Combine the high prices, very slow service, and the completely unacceptable behavior of "Mr. Manners" ... I'll never visit Mr. Subs again.

To sum it up, if you want a very forgetable burger at an inflated price, and if you like being insulted by a character that could be at the very best described as a "cad," and you want to pay for the pleasure of being insulted, then Mr. Subs is your kind of place.  As for me, I feel that Mr. Subs deserves to be a victim of the current recession, and to be shuttered and padlocked for good.

Mr. Subs
199 Cirby Way, Suite 1
Roseville, CA 95678
916 783-3322

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