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Singing the praises of food & service
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I walked through the front doors of Red Robin Thursday afternoon and had to pinch myself.

After all, it had been at least two years since I first penned a column yearning for a Red Robin to come to Manteca – bringing with it its line of gourmet hamburgers and exceptional beverage choices.

It’s doubtful that my column had any impact on the actual corporate decision to locate in Manteca – the first restaurant to open its doors inside of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley – but I still felt a tinge of pride as I joked with the staff and made my way over to my table for the first of many meals that I’ll consume inside of those four walls.

Not needing to look at the menu (the first Red Robin I ever ate at was just outside of Olympia, Washington, and I’ve been an avid connoisseur of their dining wares ever since) I concentrated on the ESPN feed coming from across the bar, and was somewhat shocked at how quickly my server, Tiffany Gragg, was before me asking for my beverage selection.

Opting for the freckled lemonade (a savory blend of lemonade and strawberries for $3.99), I opted to order my banzai burger ($9.29) with bottomless fries at the same time.

“Do you want that with some pink or no pink?” asked Gragg – the perfect question in the day and age when pink in the middle of a hamburger is simply unheard of at some corporate chains. “Some pink,” I responded.
It literally took me three gulps to suck down my freckled lemonade, and before I could even look to see where my server was, I had a brand new glass sitting in the place of the old one – too transfixed on the television to realize she was walking up behind me.

Talk about service.

And while I took my time to savor the second of the three beverages I would consume on this outing, I was again startled as another server slid my perfectly cooked burger and steak fries in front of me.

From order to placement on my table – no more than five minutes.

Somewhat startled at the speed in which this came, I looked around and saw a relatively full restaurant for a training session and marveled at the speed in which this beautifully constructed burger was able to get from the grill to my hands in an almost impossible amount of time.

I smiled as I picked up the pineapple-accented goodness I was about to consume, and wasted no time in devouring it – savoring each tasty bite and taking the time to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to drive back over the Altamont when I’m done, or hop a flight back to California.

It wasn’t long before I was done, and yet another server appeared out of nowhere asking if I needed another drink and I wanted some more fries. I accepted the first and declined the latter, and enjoyed the satiation that comes from a quality meal.

After swigging back the majority of my third freckled lemonade, I quietly got up from the table, thanked the staffers for their kindness, and walked back through those doors – knowing full well that I’ll be back soon enough for another round.

The service was supreme. The food was amazing. And the fact that Red Robin is opening up shop right here in Manteca was purely priceless.

All I could do was smile.