Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad and the tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.
Food Quality: 4
Business Meeting: 3
Average Score: 3.25 of 5
Would it really be the first column of January if we weren’t searching for a healthier option? My loyal readers will know that usually foods of the ‘fit’ variety aren’t often on the menu. Last year was filled with reviews of all kinds of burgers, fries, and hearty meals. But in 2022, I hit a new decade of age, so it’s time to take off a few pounds.
Salad is the first thing that comes to mind when eating fewer calories, so this week I jumped back to the Palmetto side of the river for the salad bar that immediately comes to mind – Ruby Tuesday. I end up at this establishment once every few months, and it’s honestly never amazing, but not bad enough to say I’m not coming back. However, it may finally be losing its place in the rotation.
Upon entering, I found an empty hostess stand and one woman sitting on the bench reserved for customers scrolling her phone. It wasn’t until she stared me down that I realized she was in fact the greeter and our server. We arrived at basically high noon to a half empty restaurant. Never a great sign. But we got a menu promptly and she was quickly ready to take our order.
As a place known for salad, I was surprised at the few items labeled “fit and trim” on the rest of the menu, but opted for the Hickory Bourbon Chicken, which when paired with rice and grilled zucchini is under 500 calories. Our other option was the endless garden buffet, so we were off and running.
Here’s the trouble, Ruby’s food is generally not bad. My chicken was a bit under seasoned but the sauce was excellent, and the grilled zucchini is one of the best veggie options I’ve found around. The garden bar is fresh and packed with options, with plenty of things to make a salad not healthy, like eggs, ham and French fried onions. I think that’s why I always end up coming back to be a bit disappointed again.
I also had a bit of sticker shock as the cheapest entrees started at $13 – and just heading to the salad bar alone will set you back $11.99. To add it to a meal is $6, which would make lunch 20 bucks, without a drink! With a tip, one person could spend $30 on lunch.
Lest you think it was all a bad experience, I did get to see a senior citizen (and honestly, most of the crowd is senior citizens) breaking it down at her table to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. But unless you enjoy that sort of people watching or really have a hankering for a salad bar, there are just too many great places to eat lunch around to settle for a not bad place.
1183 Knox Avenue