Thursday 5 February 2009

Toilet Out of Order? Not a Problem for Greens and Grille

Greens and Grille
4104 Millenia Blvd. Suite: 114
Orlando, FL USA

Where is it?

There are two entrances to this restaurant. The first requires you to walk through an outdoor seating area to reach and puts you closer to the bathroom than the second entrance but further away from the order counter; here, you are placed in the center of the dining room, with the order counter to your far right and the bathrooms just a short walk to your left.

To reach them from this entrance, simply turn left after entering the dining room and head into the little corridor in the back of the business -- the bathrooms are there.

The second entrance places you at the back of the order counter queue -- great for ordering and viewing the menu but not so good for reaching the bathroom easily. Here, to reach the toilet, you need to cross the entire dining room, heading towards that same corridor in the back of the business.

What's it like?

This chic, terrific neighborhood salad joint, located in the strip mall in front of the Mall at Millenia, takes a little bit of effort to figure out. The menu hangs on the wall at the back entrance (see above) and features a slew of options, which essentially let you put together a sandwich or salad of your choosing. But there are so many combinations, both pre-set and make-your-own, that you feel a bit overwhelmed standing there.

Worse still is the fact that the menu is placed in a small half-wall corridor behind the dining area, and as you stand there, confused by all the options, other people come in and often there's a pile up, which of course causes more confusion.

However, once you figure it out for the first time, subsequent visits become much easier to handle -- and this is a place worth visiting multiple times, believe me, the food is that good. After selecting an order, you head to the end of that line, where you give your order to a cashier. From there, you proceed through a series of cooking stations, in which an attendant fills your order. There's a salad station, where salad ingredients and dressings are selected by the customer and hand mixed by an attendant, a grill station where your meats are prepared, a bread station, a bar and more.

Almost all the ingredients used in the food here come from local organic farms, and you can really taste the difference between the salads here over, say, the salads at a buffet like Sweet Tomatoes. The meats and breads and greens too taste very clean and full of flavor, even invigorating. And most dishes cost an average of $10, making the place affordable for both lunch and dinner. A true find. I stop by every time I'm in the area, I like it that much.

The restaurant's decor is pretty modern, with several industrial touches thrown in. Divider walls often carry a facade of pounded sheet metal, the tables and chairs are metallic, the counters black and sheen, and the walls pretty bare, save for the menu posters and a few pieces of art here and there and some decorative signs indicating the organic roots of their ingredients.

The bathroom -- two one-baggers, one of men and one for women -- extend that motif, but with cozier implications. The colors here are softer, with brown-orange upper walls, matted sheet metal lower walls, and a simple white porcelain sink (very bare bones, very standard), white porcelain toilet and metallic trash can. The sink features copper/bronze-metal faucets (a nice elegant add-on). The floor has large off-white tiles on it.

Across from the toilet is a small dark wood chest of drawers, on which stands a can of air spray (apparently, the people here aren't afraid of asking people to keep their own smell quotient down -- a similar idea we've also seen at places like Hale Groves, Pearl Restaurant and Polk's Fresh Market, among others), a box of tissues and a roll of paper towels. (Unfortunately, I didn't look inside.) There is also a dark wood square stool in front of the sink. These pieces were nice add-ons, I thought, some of the nicer pieces of furniture I've seen in a bathroom since my visit to Shiki at the Beach, which had a slew of Japanese woodwork in its one-bagger.

The walls have some framed paintings on them, which accentuate the cozy factor here. And the ceiling has a speaker built into it white pipes in the house music -- another nice touch since when I visited the corridor outside got a bit crowded because the men's room was out of order, but thanks to the music I felt like I had more privacy than I did and enjoyed myself more. It was a very good experience.

Also worth mentioning: When most places have one bathroom out of order, and are pretty busy, the remaining bathroom becomes an utter mess of spills and filth. (Heck, in some places, that's a given even with all the bathrooms are working, like my experiences at Sleuth's Dinner Theatre's Sherlock Theatre toilet, or at Maurice's BBQ in Santee, SC).

But that wasn't the case here. Despite the hordes of people, many of them who lined up the use the one toilet that was working here, the facilities themselves were very clean and odor free. Quite an accomplishment, I thought.

Marks out of 10:


Comments to the Management:

Outside of fixing the other bathroom (which I'm sure has been done already), I've got nothing negative to say. This was a very good bathroom that was made all the more impressive by the way you successfully maintained it during a busy stretch and kept it very clean. Kudos.

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