Friday 29 February 2008

Old Mining Shack Gets Style at LuLu Wilson

Lu Lu Wilson,
316 E. Hopkins Ave.,
Aspen, CO USA 81611

Where is it?

From the front door head towards the bar, and head towards the back. Pass the bar (making sure you stop before the kitchens) and on the left you’ll find the door to the toilet.

What’s it like?

Lulu Wilson’s is set in an old mining cabin built in 1893 that was later the home of a woman named of that name. A strikingly large chandelier dominates the place, but mirrors and, well-placed antique lighting fixtures and stark white walls soon distract you from it. This place gives you as much a feeling of history as anywhere in the US.

The food is pretty damned good as well. A quick stop for a main course, soon turned into a leisurely three courses with wine and tea. And the starter and main were pretty damned fantastic. I’d have to say the apple crumble wasn’t up to much. I certainly could have done a better job – and lets face it that is the basis we all use to decide the quality of a dessert – even if it was the chef’s grandmother’s recipe.

The antique feel is continued in the toilet. A great mirror and the towel holder are fantastic. This gives some interest. Otherwise these are perfectly comfortable toilets. Nothing stunning, for example the tile is pretty dull. But they are claen and fit the the rest of the restaurant totally.

Marks out of 10:

8. Slightly dark, but quality with it.

Comments to the management:

Why change what is perfectly good?

Thursday 28 February 2008

Carlsberg Akademi: Probably the Best Toilets in The World?

Carlsberg Akademi
Gamle Carlsberg Vej 15,
2500 Valby

Where is it?

Starting from the front entrance, follow through the hall and then head right. Follow the corridor taking the opportunity to glance in the library as you pass. Keep going into the summer house, maybe stopping off at the bar as you pass, again heading right into the main hall. Across to your left you’ll see the signs for the toilets.

What’s it like?

Carlsberg has some cool adverts in the UK. My favourite is the club with polite bouncers, loads of taxis, and service you and I will never have. Carlsberg don’t do clubs, but if they did they would probably be the best clubs in the world. But do their toilets come up to scratch.

The venue for this event was the Carlsberg Akademi near the centre of Copenhagen. The Akademi is part of a Carlsberg family bequest and used to be the owners’ family home. Knowing this place is next to the factory you might think it isn’t going to be up to much. You’d be wrong. It’s a small, but wonderfully proportioned stately home. Add the fact that functions here attract unlimited beer and you have to say it’s a fantastic venue. Probably the best bar in the world! But what about the toilets?

Hey. The verdict has to be that it is not that bad. It’s not got the flash of some toilets we visit, but for a turn 19th century toilet it’s comfy enough. It also has some classical features galore. The first thing you’ll notice even before you get there is the quaint little people painted on the wall. Is it just me, but they seem like the sort of people you could have a nice chat to on the way past. Friendly toilets signs are unusual things indeed. Then you’ll notice the solidity of the place. Brass fittings, a solid door, stylish and solid toilet and sink; all of them add to your certainly that someone in the past invested well.

Then you notice there are already residents. Rather pale ones, maybe because of the slight chill, but the classic friezes on the wall certainly add a talking point. Even though they don’t exactly look your way when you’re doing your stuff, it could be all a little unnerving if you had partaken in a little too much of the local product.

Marks out of 10:

9. Classic oddities that will amuse in a fantastic setting!

Comments to the management:

Some classic touches that will provide a talking point!

Wednesday 27 February 2008

As Bathrooms at Car Dealerships Go, Raleigh's Johnson Lexus Is Tops

Johnson Lexus of Raleigh
5839 Capital Blvd.
Raleigh, NC USA 27616

Where is it?

From the drop-off area in the service section, head inside the building and follow the main hallway around until you come to a lobby in between the service department and the sales department.

The area has a modest coffee bar (serving free Starbucks coffee and various danish and pastries -- unlike, say, Lexus of Orlando, which makes you pay for this sort of stuff), business center, kids room, television lounge and more. The bathrooms are across the hall from the TV lounge.

What's it like?

I've been to only two Lexus dealerships in my life (this one and the aforementioned Lexus of Orlando), and both exude sense of luxury that seems more akin to high-end hotels like the Wynn Las Vegas or Mansion on Forsyth Park than a car dealership. (Hell, the Nissan dealership I bought my most recent car from was more traditional in terms of decor.)

Thanks to the abundance of art found on the walls here (nice art too, not just tacky stuff you'd buy at the bargain bin of Michael's Arts and Crafts or American Signature Furniture) this dealership often feels like an art gallery first and a car dealership second -- quite an accomplishment considering that most car dealerships offer little sense of comfort.

As mentioned earlier, you'll find plenty of distractions here, from a small cafe serving free coffee and pastries to a fully functioning business center to a very friendly staff that always seems ready to lend a hand. (In my customer survey on this place, which I filled out while waiting for my companion's car to be fixed -- an oil change -- I noted that my experience at this dealership was so good that I would considering driving up from Florida to experience it again..... which of course says perhaps a little too much about my opinion of my hometown Lexus dealership, which isn't bad but just not even remotely in the league of this establishment).

The bathrooms here are palatial and luxurious on many levels. Inside, you'll find cool marble tiles along the floor and walls, with a regal blue pattern set in to change up the monotony some. The two urinals are separated by a granite divider, and the two stall doors are separated by both granite (for the divider's foundations) and wood (for the doors themselves).

The stretching vanity counter is composed of a single piece of black granite, and the sink stations are well-spread out, offering the using lots of room (perhaps even too much) for use. Sinks and toilets are sensor-driven, though the soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers are not.

I'm not so much bothered by the latter, since automatic towel dispensers can be kind of a pain (especially in trying to get that second strip after you've already got your first). The soap dispenser is another matter, however -- and that's really the only flaw I found here. They are built into the walls on each end of the vanity, so that they bookend the structure. Because the vanity is so long, you have to stretch a good ways just to lather up your hands -- and because of that, the chances of spilling soap on your return trip are increased. Why not place automatic soap dispensers by the sinks instead of manual ones away from the sink? Seems like an awful long way to travel to get some soap.

Still, the place is spotless, everything is in working order (which is more than what I can say about my last visit to Lexus of Orlando) and the cleaning crew here pumps in a delectable air freshener. As Lexus dealership bathrooms go, this one is tops.

Marks out of 10:

9. Would have been a perfect 10 were it not for those soap dispensers.

Comments to the Management:

Great job here. The place is a true oasis. If you fix the issue with the soap dispensers, you'll be among the Where's the Toilet elite.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Flying Saucer a Haven for Lovers of Beer and Sticky Floors

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
328 W Morgan St
Raleigh, NC USA 27601

Where is it?

From the entrance, walk to the back of the place, keeping the enormous bar on your right so that you're heading towards the kitchen entrance. After the bar, turn right, into the back dining room, and then hang an immediate right into the hallway found just past the bar's cashier. The toilets are there.

What's it like?

This mammoth, cavernous kitschy beer hall serves approximately 200 beers on tap and offers a wide menu of delicious bar food, much of it with a modern German-American slant. The bratwurst nachos, for example, sound like they would be atrocious but in the end they turn out to be delicious, understated little munchies. Just as impressive are the homemade pretzels, which are chewy on the outside and doughy on the inside -- just about as perfect as hot pretzels can be, really.

The main attraction here, of course, is the beer selection -- as I said, there are more than 200 varieties on tap alone. The gimmick here is that if you drink a pint of all 200 (at a maximum of 3 beers a day), you will get your name put on a "flying saucer" that is then hung on the wall of the place -- a sort of trophy to commemorate the accomplishment, if you will. The dining hall walls are decked with these saucers, each of which carries an amusing, albeit somewhat drunkenly composed, victory statement uttered by one of the people who have succeeded in drinking these 200 pints of beer.

The bathrooms aren't as fun as the dining hall though they aren't as awful as similarly minded establishments. Still, given the kitschy sense of humor exhibited in the dining room, I half expected the bathrooms to be similar to the ones found at the Pig and Whistle Pub in Florida, which is overflowing with amusing novelty signs. Sadly, that isn't the case.

The floors here are green linoleum and very sticky to walk on, the walls simple white drywall and decorated with an assortment of beer novelty signs, as well as some event listings and clippings from the area's alternative presses (the Saucer is located near NC State University and thus caters very much to its collegiate surroundings).

The vanity is made of black marble and contains two sink stations set beneath a long mirror. You'll find two urinals here and two stalls, one of them for the handicapped.

Outside of the sticky floors (they're sticky enough that you'll have to lift your feet with some force to free yourself after standing at the urinal for a pee), the toilets were pretty clean. Though, it also showed some signs of wear and tear and the management may want to look into making some updates in the coming year or so.

Marks out of 10:

7. Really a 6, given the very sticky floors and lack of imagination employed here (especially compared to the dining room), but the dining hall is so much fun I had to raise the score some. This is a great, fun place to spend an afternoon -- especially if you love beer!

Comments to the Management:

Unless the sticky floors are a selling point, you may want to solve that problem relatively soon. Also, consider adding more items to the bathroom walls -- maybe even some of those flying saucers you're so proud to give out.

Monday 25 February 2008

"Welcome to the Awful Waffle"

Waffle House
1646 Bells Highway
Walterboro, SC USA 29488

Where is it?

This is a small restaurant, so finding the toilet isn't difficult. After entering the building, you'll find yourself in the middle of the establishment. Ahead of you is the lunch counter and the grill. To the right is the dining room, filled with its sea of Formica tables and such. To the left is a hallway leading to the bathrooms and storage room.

What's it like?

This 24-diner chain, found throughout the southeast U.S., has never been one of my favorite places to eat. The food is decidedly greasy, and the menu consists of a lot of items I would not normally eat unless I had to -- notably breakfast foods, which I've never been much of a fan of. (However, those who like their pancakes, eggs and hashbrown patties heavy with oil may find the place delightful.)

Of course, we stopped here because we were driving northward on a national holiday and nothing else was open -- and we were hungry enough to suffer through the eventual indigestion it would produce. The experience wasn't bad -- the wait staff was friendly enough and the service speedy. The food was okay -- I had a hashbrown patty with cheese and some Jimmy Dean sausage on the side, while my companion had a slice of country ham and some eggs -- not exactly the tastiest breakfast ever but not too bad either. The cuisine left only a slight bitter taste in my mouth after the fact, which was cured by some anti-acid chews and ginger ale. Yum.

The parking lot of this place was filled with vagrants and overflow parking from the hotel next door, so I assumed the bathroom would be horrendous -- which tends to be the case when you have too many people using it too often. But it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. It wasn't great either, mind you.

The men's room is a tidy space, maybe five foot square in size. A toilet on one side, a sink in the corner opposite that, and a trashcan in the far back right corner. It's somewhat clean but still considerably worn down, and it smells not so much of human waste but of trash and mildew -- and the smell grows more sharp the longer you are in there.

The bathroom's door is made of heavy metal and has a heavy steel latch on it instead of a lock to seal it -- my first impression, when I walked in, was that it was once used as meat locker before the storage closet down the hall was created. Clearly, this is where I'd like to be if the place were ever held up.

The toilet and sink are your standard white porcelain models -- clean but not exactly sparkling. The floors are covered with that horrid dull brick-colored tile you seem to see in so many places these days, though this one was cleaner than some of the other places I've been to that use it.

The highlight here is the sink, which packs in a lot of options into its corner space. It's a small sink, maybe only a foot or so in width, and above it, just over the faucets, are a air dryer and soap dispenser. Unfortunately, these items are also a bit lower than required, making it hard not to drip soap onto the faucets when applying or having water dribble everywhere when drying your hands. Still, I guess the thought is there.

Marks out of 10:

4. It's cleaner than expected, but it's still pretty grimy, and that not-so-heavenly aroma of trash and mildew in the air certainly isn't something I'd like to experience more than once.

Comments to the Management:

An air freshener or two -- or even some spray -- would be a nice addition. And if you can, consider lifting the hand dryer and soap dispenser a little higher, so we can actually get our hands in there and give them a proper cleaning.

Friday 22 February 2008

Bathroom at Mansion on Forsyth Park May Equal Elegance of Wynn Las Vegas' Facilities

Mansion on Forsyth Park
700 Drayton St.
Savannah, GA USA 31401

Where is it?

Enter the hotel through the main entrance at the back of the valet roundabout. Pass the reception desk and head left, down an elegant art-filled hallway, past a swanky bar on the left and into a central atrium on your right, which contains -- of course -- more art. (The hotel is literally overflowing with it.) At the rear of the atrium (facing opposite Drayton Street), you'll see two large wooden doors leading to a banquet hall. Head towards them and then turn left or right -- the women's room will be down the hallway to the left, the men's to the right.

What's it like?

In 2007, we named the Wynn Las Vegas bathrooms beside the store Mojito's as our top toilet experience of 2007. It was a regal, marble-filled environment filled with amazing architectural frills, top-notch cleanliness and peaceful feelings. These facilities seem match those qualities at every turn, only in a unique manner.

This public restroom, in the equally elegant Mansion on Forsyth Park, at the southernmost end of Savannah's historic district, rivals the sophistication and stylishness of that bathroom, making it an early front runner for the best of 2008. It's a flat out amazing toilet experience -- not to be missed. In fact, if you're visiting Savannah, make a point to visit these toilets after eating at Lady and Sons -- you'll thank me later.

Visitors here enter through a plain wooden door -- an unassuming beginning to the experience. You think you're about to enter a simple modest toilet when you approach the door -- but that notion gets turned on its head once you pass through. Stepping inside, you find yourself surrounded by dark woods, glimmering marble tile and thick walls. Some beautiful artwork lines the walls as well, some of it modern, some of it more tradition, some of it surprisingly haunting -- which is not something you always expect to find in a public toilet.

Solid marble covers the floors and forms the vanity counter -- both elements identical in style. The vanity itself features three well-spaced sinks, each with automatic faucets and ornate soap pumps. The soap dispensed here is glorious and silky -- some of the best I've ever tried in a public toilet -- and the towels found here -- real towels, not imitations -- are plush, thick, thirsty and fresh-smelling.

The urinals are angular in design and come divided with thick privacy barriers -- clearly, you get your own space here. Even better are the toilet stalls, which essentially are their own room. Just close the door and you've got perfect privacy, no matter how busy it is in the main area. Private speakers in each stall pump soft house music into the stall, enhancing the sense of privacy all the more.

Marks out of 10:

12. Amazing at every possible level. Kudos.

Comments to the Management:

As I said with the Wynn, I would like to move here. Perhaps the Wynn can be my summer home and this one my winter chalet?

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Though Not Perfect, Toilets at DeSoto Hilton Are a Saving Grace

Hilton Savannah DeSoto
15 East Liberty Street
Savannah, GA USA 31401

Where is it?

Not too tricky to find, once you get into the hotel. That latter task, however, is a bit difficult. From the street, head up on the sidewalk, then up to an elevated sidewalk, and walk under the hotel's awning. Once there, keep walking to the back of the large roundabout found there, and look for a second awning on the back left of the area -- this time over a pair of swishing doors. (Note: There is another opening for a bank to the right, and it looks suspiciously like an entrance to the hotel. Don't go in there, it's a bank!)

Once inside, walk in, keeping the concierge and front desk to your left. About halfway down the lobby, you'll see the bathrooms on your right.

What's it like?

For hotel lobby bathrooms, there are very good, though nothing exceptional. However, the fact that we found them when we were in dire need (and I'm talking total hold your breath and waddle EMERGENCY!!!!) -- and that we got no trouble in the process -- gives it a special spot in my heart. Thank you, DeSoto Hilton, thank you -- because of you, I avoided surefire embarrassment. You're a hero in my book.

See, we were in Savannah for a weekend and walking around the town, heading to a ghost tour. Naturally, it being a ghost tour (we did with Sixth Sense Savannah Ghost Tours, which were fair but at times kind of overdone as well, -- and the experience was made worse by the fact that it's a walking tour and a member of our group had some serious gas issues, which he wasn't shy in sharing), it takes place in some desolate areas, and the meeting place we were told to start the tour was in a pretty sketchy spot to begin with. Thus, when the urge to hit the bathroom came, we were literally up a creek (and you know what type of creek) and didn't know what to do. Everything around us was closed, except the 7-11 in cracktown, and that certainly wasn't an option.

So we started rushing back to our hotel, scrambling and trying to keep our wits about us. After a few blocks, we found this woman dressed like a Rockette in a Santa suit on the side of the road. Now, normally when we see a woman like this on the side of the road, we just avoid her, because we're not really into that sort of stuff. But this time, we couldn't afford a delay.

We asked her where the nearest bathroom was -- and she thought and thought and thought. It was brutal, waiting for that answer. And then finally she let out with it -- DeSoto Hilton! "Take a left at the next intersection and it's right there!"

Bless her! Bless her! Bless her! And bless the Desoto Hilton!!!! Bless you both!

We rushed there and just made it, and the fact that it was clean and receptive made it all the more impressive.

It's a long bathroom, with three stalls and three urinals set across one another. A vanity is set at the front, when you walk in. Marble tile covers the floors and most of the walls -- other areas are covered with clean white tile. The vanity is made of a solid slab of marble. The sinks also have wonderful smelling soap and ornate faucets with fancy trim. It's a decent bathroom.

Of course, it also has some faults -- the worst of which is that the toilets sit very low to the ground -- like less than a foot. So when you sit down, you immediately fall, which is somewhat unexpected, especially when you're in dire straights. It's also especially hard to get up from the toilet after relieving yourself (you know how your legs just kind of go, right?).

Also, I found this strange brown paper object behind the commode -- no idea what it is, and it's been bugging me. (If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment.) I poked at it with my shoe and it didn't move. It wasn't squishy though. Very perplexing. And frightening!

And finally, the third stall (which I headed to first) was empty but looked like it'd just been used -- and the toilet was stuffed with you know what and the seat liner was just sitting there..... very gross. Other than that, the place was spotless and smelled great, thanks to a floral air freshener.

On the plus side, when you leave you can read a plaque in the roundabout stating that you've just pooped on a spot that carries some importance to American history. The hotel was a site where the US army placed barracks and other military fortifications against the Brits during the Revolutionary War -- which I find ironic, because after my visit I also left some barracks and fortifications there. HAH!

Marks out of 10:

9. Really a 7, but it was such a saving grace that I had to lift the score. Thank you, DeSoto Hilton, thank you!

Comments to the Management:

So perhaps they don't patrol as often as they should, and perhaps there are unidentifiable brown things on the floor -- who cares? THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FOR US, DESOTO HILTON. Next time I'm in Savannah, I'm definitely staying with you! If things turn badly, I might never leave!

Thursday 14 February 2008

Historic Pink House Dim But Cozy

Olde Pink House and Planters Tavern
23 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA USA

Where is it?

The restaurant's bathrooms are on the second floor but because the elevator wasn't working and the stairs were shared by both the wait staff (carrying large trays of food) and customers, I opted to hit the bathrooms in the Planters Tavern, which is in the basement of the building. There are stairs heading that way from the dining room, but the easiest way to get there is to go outside, decend the stairs to the tavern's entrance, and walk across the tavern (keeping on the same side as the entrance) and into a dim, wooden hallway there. The bathrooms are down that hallway.

What's it like?

This establishment was built in 1771 and, according to the plaque outside signaling it as one of America's historic landmarks, over the years it's been a military headquarters, a private home, a bank, a tea room and more. Today, it's a decidedly old-fashion restaurant and tavern, decorated in dim lights (and often candlelight) and heavy wooden furniture and filled with creaky wooden floors and antique portraits on the walls. Think American Victorian, and you get the idea.

The menu here is filled with gourmet takes on low country classics: A fabulous scored flounder covered lightly in apricot sauce; a succulent rack of lamb served with seasonal, locally grown vegetables; expertly prepared side dishes like Hoppin' John (rice and black eyed peas, essentially), sauteed grits cakes and more. It's elegant, sophisticated and somewhat reasonably priced, considering its a the gourmet meal (expect to pay about $40 per person). Definitely worth the splurge.

The tavern downstairs is dark and decidedly colonial. The walls here are made of deep, dark wood, and only a few dimly set lights and a lone, welcoming fireplace illuminate the interior. The tavern serves the same menu as the dining room, only in a more intimate, casual setting. The bar is just a bar -- no specialty brews or anything -- and drink prices are a bit high but the ambiance is so inviting it doesn't matter. It's one of those places you feel honored to have a drink in. Next time I visit, I hope to have dinner in the tavern as well.

Or course, while the dining room and tavern are very colonial, the bathrooms have a strange nautical feel to them. They are dark, like the dining room and tavern, but they are also elongated, narrow and small, like the bathrooms found on a boat. (Not as thin as Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, mind you, but still pretty thin.) The men's room is a long, thin rectangle, with the toilet on one end, the sink on the other, and an empty stretch of about six to eight feet in between. The walls are brown wood here, like the rest of the tavern, and the only decor is a picture of George Washington, which hangs over the toilet. Also noticeable are the mass amounts of supplies found here -- on my visit, the toilet was literally covered with spare toilet paper rolls, and the sink had many fresh paper towels sitting atop it. Clearly, they are expecting the worse here.

The facilities were clean, though a bit worn down from the day, which I guess was expected since we had a late seating upstairs. They are also somewhat removed from the tavern area, and though the tavern isn't exactly boisterous, it can get a bit noisy, and as a result the toilets do offer some solace to the visitor.

Marks out of 10:

8. Essentially a 7, but the colonial decor and feel are so impressive I had to raise the score a notch.

Comments to the Management:

It wouldn't hurt if these toilets were a bit wider, but that might involve a serious renovation, which would take away from the place's charm, so what can I say? And I would suggest placing a storage cabinet in the bathroom somewhere -- but where? Even a small, narrow cabinet would blog access to half the bathroom.

Wednesday 13 February 2008

Luxury and Charm Abounds at Lady and Sons

The Lady and Sons
102 W Congress St
Savannah, GA USA 31401

Where is it?

This restaurant contains three dining rooms, one on each floor, along with a gift shop. Each floor, and the gift shop, has its own bathroom. Most people enter through the gift shop and then wait there for their names to be called, after which they are led to a table on one of the three dining rooms.

The gift shop bathrooms are located across from the cashiers there. The others are a bit harder to find, but it seems most are set in the center of the building, near or around the elevator shaft, and off a hallway leading to the kitchen. As long as you're near the elevator shaft or in the center of the building, you should be able to find the bathrooms with some relative ease. There are signs as well leading the way, so it's not that hard. Still, this is a bustling place so expect plenty of distractions along the way.

What's it like?

The last time I visited this southern food mecca, I found myself unimpressed with the heaps of fried foods offered here. They were decent, don't get me wrong, but nothing special -- nothing that got me craving southern food in any way. Walking into the place this time, and after having such a horrible experience at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House (the restaurant's sister property) the day before, I was expecting the worst from this place.

But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The food here was clean, freshly prepared and flavorful -- and perhaps for the first time in my life I tasted the heavenly possibilities of properly fried chicken. Yes, it was that incredible! (I even mistakenly picked up some fried white meat -- which I normally pass over because it can be bland -- and was astonished by its moistness and complexity of flavor. Wow!)

Of course, before continuing, let me say that the Lady and Sons is set in a remodeled warehouse just a few blocks from the Savannah River, in the historic center of town. It's a very popular place -- mostly because tourists flock to it because of Deen's celebrity status. The etiquette here is that reservations are not allowed: You arrive at 11am to put your name on a list for lunch (or at 5pm for dinner) and then are given a time to come back and claim your table. Unless you've been waiting there a while or rudely muscle to the front of the sign-up line, you're often told you will have to wait two to three hours for your table. If you're starving hungry, this of course will cause a problem. If not, then I suggest strolling around the area some -- there are countless shops, attractions and whatnot in the immediate vicinity to occupy you time. Hopping on one of the historic trolley tours is a great option, as it easily kill a few hours -- just keep an eye on the time so you won't miss your table calling. If you do, you're table will be given to the next person on that list.

Once inside, you're taken to the aforementioned gift shop, where you can peruse the many Paula Deen-branded items available or hit the bathroom. Soon after, you'll name is called and you're led to the elevators and told which floor to get off. Once off, a second greeter meets you and takes you to your table. The dining rooms here are spacious but also crammed, thanks mostly to the many tables stuffed into the restaurant. The decor mixes southern charm with warehouse barrenness, so it feels like you're inside a warehouse that also just happens to be a country kitchen. It doesn't sound like it should work, but it does.

Once at your table, you can either order off a menu or hit the buffet. Most people head for the latter, since it's the most affordable option and lets you taste more food. (The a la carte items tend to be a bit pricey as well, though -- so I saw from the people ordering them -- they also seemed to be well-sized.

I opted for the buffet, where I found succulent versions of baked chicken, baked fish, fried chicken, smothered steak and several sides, like mashed potatoes, green been casserole, sage stuffing, lima beans, collard greens and more. As said earlier, everything was wonderfully fresh and flavorful -- and surprisingly complex in its spicing, given that it's southern food and meant to be pretty bare bones. It was so good, really, that stuffed as I was, I felt impelled to return to the buffet line for more. Especially when our waiter Reggie came around to say that fresh fried chicken had just been placed on the buffet. Bless you, Reggie.

The biggest surprise here, however, was that my experience was so much better than the last time I visited, and that Uncle Bubba's was so awful this time over the last. Perhaps there is a conspiracy afoot here?

Anyway, onto the bathrooms: I visited two of the four toilets found here: The ones on the top floor (where we ate), and the ones on the ground floor (which we passed on the way out). I was about to head into the gift shop ones while we were there, but they called our names too quickly for me to get a look, so I had to give that one a miss.

The top floor ones were the larger of the two. It had one spacious stall with a nifty green wooden stall door around it, one urinal an done sink station. The bottom floor one was a "one bagger,"also spacious. Both toilets had an old-fashioned saloon look to them, with small mosaic-like while tiles covering the floor, green wood on the walls and dark marble counters and vanities. Also several turn-of-the-century photos covered the walls, extending the old-fashioned vibe.

The toilets and urinals are white porcelain but also angular, which gives them a sense of elegance, especially when contrasted against the green walls and white floors. Sinks and soap dispensers were automatic, though both the first and third floor bathrooms soap dispensers were not working properly and pump bottles had been placed alongside the sink as a backup. There were no towels here either, but in their place were high-efficiency hand blowers, which jetted out air with considerable force.

The only fault I found with either toilet was that each was located in busy stretches, and as a result you hear -- and sometimes even feel (especially if someone bumped into the walls) -- the passing traffic a lot while inside. This is especially true of the bottom floor toilet, which is positioned right next to the opening to the dish room -- or so it seemed -- and made me feel like someone was always trying to get in while I was there. They were also a little unkempt from the day's use (our seating was at the end of the lunch shift) but outside of that these were clean and comfortable -- which is more than I can say about Uncle Bubba's.

Marks out of 10:

8. A little worn down from the shift, but clean and comfortable -- and a hundred times better than Uncle Bubba's.

Comments to the Management:

Not too much to improve upon here -- so maybe this store should communicate better with Uncle Bubba's, because that place needs some serious help.