~Review by Chuck Bradley
Excited by the prospect of another BBQ option in the area, I hurried north to Keizer today to give it a try. According to the advertised hours, they are to be open form 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday. I arrived at 12:05 PM today. Cody Eldridge, the proprietor, was there. The closed sign was in the window. I walked in. The following conversation ensued:
CE: I’m not ready yet.
CB: When will you be ready?
CE: About an hour.
I don’t know his circumstances, but I think if a large piece, on my new eatery, had run in the local newspaper and was also launched on that paper’s facebook page the day before, I might get up a little early that day to prepare for the onslaught rather than open two hours late. No apology or explanation was offered. No thanks for stopping by. None of the people skills requisite in a operating a thriving restaurant were apparent….yet.
I returned shortly after 1 PM as I was very curious about the food he has to offer. The fellow reportedly has years of cooking experience in several local restaurants. The Keizertimes article suggested several additional Sauces, but today he offered Apricot, Apple and Sweet and Spicy. Meat choices were Chicken and Beef Brisket. Wraps were available in Flour, Spinach, Sun Dried Tomato and Jalapeño-Cheddar. In addition to Meat, Wrap stuffing options were; Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Onion, Olives, Jalapeños, Mushrooms and Carrots. I understand he plans to offer Chicken Quarters and Ribs on Saturdays to test the demand level and expand those to his weekday menu if warranted.
This is not set up as a sit-down restaurant. Two couches and coffee tables were in evidence. If one wanted to eat at coffee table height, I suppose you could eat there, but the physical set-up strongly recommends take-out orders.
I ordered a Brisket Wrap on Spinach Tortilla with Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Lettuce, Onion, Olives, and Jalapenos. He removed the Brisket from a Crock-Pot type vessel (BBQ?) and cut off slabs which he then cubed into large chunks. The chunks were actually too large for Wrap application and pulled out of the wrap in larger than bite sized pieced as I endeavored to eat. Three of the large pieces were more than half fat. As you read these criticisms, remember the price of this Wrap was only $3.95, so maybe I’m being overly critical.
I should mention that when I returned, Mr. Eldridge was reservedly cordial. Still, at no time was I ever properly greeted or thanked in any way. I suspect that his extensive restaurant experience was mostly served in kitchens and not face to face with the public, which may explain what I experienced. He needs to work on customer service and courtesy skills.
I hope as time passes, he gets his schedule worked out and conjures a little “glad to see ya’” enthusiasm. Both are free and will go a long way toward assuring his success.
Phat Cat BBQ
4906 River RD N
Keizer, OR 97303
Hours: 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday (Maybe)