Thursday 2 August 2007

Blinded by the lights at Bill's Elbow South

Bill's Elbow South
The Oviedo Marketplace
1280 Oviedo Marketplace Blvd.
Oviedo, FL USA 32765

Where is it?

A little confusing to find. The place has two entrances, one closer to the mall's food court entry and one in which you enter from an outdoor patio. Either way, once you're in, go right until you're past the indoor bar, then veer into the little hallway behind the front-most dining room (the hallway is in between that and the semi-open kitchen) to find the restrooms.

A sign painted on the wall will give you the general whereabouts, however if taken literally the sign will also lead you into the kitchen, so tread carefully, lest you want to come face to face with a line cook......

What's it like?

This modest tavern, a local favorite for years that was once nestled in a hard-to-reach spot in the middle of Oviedo (and felt a little more colorful there), took over this spot (where the Oldenberg Brewery and Restaurant, a high-end brew pub with good food and drink, once stood) more than five years ago. While much of the original tenant's elegant dark wood decor remains, that place no longer feels elegant or stuffy. Instead, the spot has been filled with plenty of country charm, including a menu filled with comfort food favorites and tons of NASCAR photos and pennants. Not exactly the greatest comfort food spot in town, but it's certainly worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood, especially if you like chicken fried steak.

The toilets, like much of the decor, look exactly the way Oldenberg left them, though the wear and tear on them since Oldenberg's departure is apparent. The floors are covered in sleek black and white tile, the walls in sheer white tile and off-white paint, the counters are shiny metal and dressing room lights line the sink vanity area.

Of course, the decor here doesn't quite fit with the down-home-country vibe of the rest of the place, but then again it isn't too out of place either, since the ornamentation everywhere here is a bit piecemeal.

The bathrooms are clean for the most part, however the combination of tile and metal creates an awful echo in here which may make some visitors feel a bit awkward, especially during a noisier visit. Also, the bulbs along the vanity burn very, very bright -- so much so that they blind you for a minute when you enter.

Those same bulbs burn very hot too. When you hit the vanity after your stop, to wash your hands, you'll feel the heat emanating from them. A little jarring, if you think about it: One minute, you're relieving yourself, then next you're feeling like you're under a heating lamp at McDonald's. (Warning: You may want to apply some sunblock if you plan on staying at the vanity for more than a minute!)

Marks out of 10:

7. Perfectly acceptable, barring a few missteps.

Comments to the Management:

Needs a little touching up to hide the wear and tear and also you might want to consider lowering the wattage of the bulbs around the vanity.

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