August 1, 2012

Chalkboard Cafe

          About a week ago a restaurant opened up about two blocks from my house, I was really excited because I was hoping it would be a good simple comfort food place.  They have been working on this restaurant forever, pouring a ton of money into it, so I am thinking hey this place just might surprise me. My wife, some friends and I went there about a week after it opened, and I must say it did surprise me.
          Okay, I am not one to blast a restaurant, I always try to find something good to talk about, this isn't one of those reviews.  It was warm out when we decided to go to Chalkboard and when we stepped inside I think it was hotter inside than outside.  You would think with all the money they put into the place air conditioning would have worked itself in there somewhere.  I don't mind sweating if it is for some good food, at this point I had my doubts but I was still optimistic.
          We sat down and our waiter came over and took our drink order and as he was walking away he said "oh yah we only have one salmon salad left so if you want it you better order it now".  It is 6ish on a Friday how are you out of anything already?  There was a tiny chalkboard over the doorway with about five main courses on it, this is when I started thinking what have we done.  When we were ordering the kitchen door opened up and you heard the cook say we only have two turkey left.  So let me get this straight you have five main courses and two are gone already? Hmmmmm...  Whatever we are here and we are going to try it.  My wife got the shrimp scampi pasta and everyone else got the pulled pork sandwiches, I also got a side salad with my sandwich.  This is where my patience and optimism ends for this story.  My salad come out and it is very tiny ($4) and I can not mix the dressing around without the salad falling on the table because the plate was so small, so I just dumped the dressing on top.  First off it is salad from a bag and when I get to the bottom of the dish there was a green/brown slime under the lettuce.  It was frozen and thawed, I know this because I have done it accidently at home, frozen lettuce that is thawed out turns into a goo.  I told the waiter and he said they would take it off the bill, no sorry or anything, then he asked me if I wanted another, nope not at all.
          Our mains came out and I will start with the wives dish, five shrimp on some pasta, done.  Nothing else, oh wait there was a single basil leaf on top, the pasta was so bland, no salt in the pasta water at all.  All I could taste when I tried her pasta was oil and onions.  Why onions in a scampi dish, beats me.  The shrimp my wife said were ok, but I didn't try them being that there were only five ($11). The pulled pork sandwiches were ok on the flavor but way too much sauce on them.  The sandwiches were so sauced up the bun fell apart, they could have somewhat avoided this by toasting the bun first.  After a few bites all I was getting was fat and soggy bun so I was done with that.  The sandwich came with a side of a half ear of corn, how can you screw up corn?  They did, dry and tasteless corn which tasted like it has been left out under a heat lamp all day.  I just don't get how you make corn so bad it is so simple.
          After all this we decided to leave and get some pizza at a local pizza place.  We paid more than we wanted to that night just because we paid for two dinners.  The best part of the night my friend introduced me to a pizza place I didn't know about that had awesome pizza.  When we got home I posted on their Facebook page about how bad the dinner was, it got deleted and I got banned from the page.  There was no hey sorry about the food, nothing, just delete and ban.  Most restaurants start out great and fade off because they can't afford the quality of food after awhile in a small town.  This place just decided they would just start off that way.  I wish someone would give me some money to open a place I could cook better with my eyes closed.
          Look, I didn't go there expecting five star food, all I wanted was someplace close that I could get some quality comfort food.  I really didn't expect to be eating pizza by the end of the night.  In my opinion I wouldn't ever recommend someone to eat here, save your money and cook yourself.  Needless to say this place did surprise me just not how I wanted to be surprised.

Food 1 of 10
Service 2 of 10
Price 3 of 10
Overall 1 of 10

800 10th Ave
Brackenridge, PA 15014

Chalkboard Cafe on Urbanspoon
Sorry no pics I just wanted to leave.


  1. for some claiming not to be out to dish a resturant you sure went out of your way. Are you sure you were at the chalkboard cafe? I was there, the food was great, low price, down home stuff,,,, and did i mention the beer selection is awesome and cheap. appears your one the hard to please people that get your jolly's out of complaining... I happen to know the owners, they don't claim to know everything there is to know about the resturant business however i can say it sorta sounds like your a little jealous . They had a dream and followed it. Can you say the same? Your a local boy just remember where you came from. Have you had the guts to talk top the owners face to face? Maybe you should try it, your way off your mark andf if your a resurant critic, maybe you should try McDonalds, seems like that's about your taste....

  2. Anonymous, I am sure you won't read this being that I know nothing about food. Have you read any of my other posts or just this one? I try not to criticize or complain, I always try to find the positive with any restaurant. I am not sorry for what I wrote, this is how I feel about this restaurant. I do not know the owner so it wasn't like I wrote it because of something personal. The food was horrible and they can say wow we have 400 likes all they want, from the same people that probably like Eat N Park and Kings. All that processed and frozen food mmmm mmmm good. I wanted this place to be good I really did. Maybe if you like this place McDonalds is more your style. You want good food go to Spoon or NaCl or if you can't drive that far or afford it go to Elements out in Sarver and see what really good food tastes like. But hey I don't know anything. Also they may have 400 likes but no one will ever know how many dislikes because if you put something bad on their page it gets deleted and you are banned from putting anything else up. I will keep this comment up because I am not scared of some negative feedback. Thanks for your opinion I will remember it next time I am out, I don't want to be considered too harsh anymore.

  3. The place was awful!! Tasteless food. The ice tea was even tasteless!! WASTE OF MONEY!!

  4. It's difficult for me to take this "review" seriously when you begin with: "I was born and raised in Pittsburgh; however, there's nothing special about the city except for sports." Either way, these people are working hard to bring this area an enjoyable and affordable dining experience. A week after they opened? Give me a break. Give them some room for growing pains.

  5. I have to say since i have ate their the 1st time i did enjoy their food and the 2nd time i had the steak hoagie it was very good but my bun was cold which i like mine warm or toasted but either way i liked it. Now i do have to say when i went the 1st time and got a salad because usually i always get a salad before my entree it was very small and it did cost $4 bucks. I was a bit disappointed and i did point it out before that the salad is really small for a deep price. Produce is cheap for restaurants it isn't going to break the bank to give a nice sized salad.

    Anyways, you are doing your job as a Food Critic and i know how the Critic Industry works and you are just doing your job to let people know.

  6. I am a regular at the chalkboard and have been going there 3 times a week for 2 years now. It infuriates me that you were so fast to bash a place on the first few weeks of operation. Of course there are going to be bumps in the road when you are new to the restaurant industry and trying your absolute hardest to make a name for your self in a competitive industry. The chalkboard cafe and pub does something that no other place has the courage to try now rotateing the menu every week to keep up with the demand of the ever so tasty comfort food. The incredible beer selection, the service and the always amazing food is why 2 years down the road the chalkboard cafe and pub continues to grow and get more popular! So I want you to take one more try at a place before you go straight to the internet and bash a place because you are a cheap ignorant person and should stay at home and cook for yourself. People like you are naturally miserable and just look for a reason to let other people know how miserable your life is. 2 weeks into business and you go to the internet wowwwwwwwwwww. Cut me a break 2 years and counting the place is flourishing and there is a reason for it.Enjoy soup and salad at the olive garden sounds like your price range.

  7. The Chalkboard Cafe is permanently closed. It's extremely difficult to make a long term success out of any restaurant. Luck is a substantial part of the formula.

    But I must say that I was a customer at the Chalkboard Cafe shortly after they opened and wasn't impressed. First impressions are so important in this business. I did post some constructive criticism on their web site, but rather than address it, they deleted it.