The Old Fourth Street Filling Station, Blech!

Last night Celeste and I decided to do something different for dinner so we headed to The Old Fourth Street Filling Station in Winston-Salem.  Take a wild guess which street it’s on.  Anyway, we were able to get a table on the patio which is very pleasant as restaurant patios go, but that’s pretty much where the pleasantness ended.  Before I get into the bad let me start with the one or two positive’s of our experience:

  1. We ordered a couple of beer’s which were both fine, if not spectacular.  I had a Hefe Weiss and Celeste had  a Red Oak from the eponymous brewery in Greensboro.  The glasses were clean and the beer was cold so no complaints there.
  2. We ordered the flash fried calamari as an appetizer and it was tasty and well-cooked (not rubbery), although the portion was kind of small.

There endeth the positives and here begineth the negatives:

  1. Our waiter was slow and had zero personality.  I’m usually very forgiving of wait staff because in my two month attempt at waiting tables as a college student I firmly claimed the position of Worst Waiter Ever.  Still, this guy was a humorless dolt and he managed to make us feel rushed in our ordering and then extremely delayed in our exit.
  2. I ordered the Seafood Pasta ($17) and I can tell you it’s the first time I’ve had scallops so over cooked that they almost snapped when I cut into them.  If there’s a spice in the restaurant it didn’t make its way into that dish, although they made up for it with an over abundance of butter/oil.  Perhaps they felt they needed to grease the tubes to enable the seafood to actually make it to my belly.  Whatever the reason it was pretty bad.
  3. Celeste ordered the  Brie and Spinach Stuffed Chicken ($17) and got about two forkfulls down before giving up.  She asked me to taste it and regrettably I did so I’m able to give you my own description of the dish.  You know when you burp and a little something comes up with the burp?  The chicken tasted like that little something.  Celeste was relieved when I gave her my opinion because she was concerned that maybe there was something wrong with her.  She had a hard time believing something could taste that bad.
  4. When the waiter returned to ask if we wanted to order coffee and dessert we couldn’t say no fast enough.  Apparently that removed any incentive for him to get back to us because it took at least 20 minutes from the time our bill was run for us to actually receive the bill and then it took another few minutes for us to get the payment processed.

Unfortunately the food left a remarkably strong aftertaste so we went to the Borders at Thruway to have a cup of Seattle’s Best coffee while we browsed some books.  Thankfully the coffee killed the taste but I can tell you that for the rest of the evening we paid gastronomically for our little dinner adventure. 

Suffice it to say we probably won’t be back, but if you’ve had a good experience at The Old Fourth Street Filling Station please share them in the comments.  In the interest of fairness I’ll be happy to move them into a separate post as well. 

Update: I’m adding this because I’ve had a bad feeling about this post all day while I was working in the yard.  In thinking about this I should have asked for the manager while at the restaurant to let him/her know that we weren’t happy with the food.  Unfortunately I’m really uncomfortable doing that so it usually doesn’t occur to me to do it.  I don’t usually look to get my money back, and I wouldn’t have asked for it in this case, but it would have been the better thing to let the manager know and to attempt to rectify the situation.  If nothing else they would know that they might have a couple of dishes they need to work on.  I figure the best thing I can do at this point is to send the management a note letting them know about our experience.

Also, as I noted above, I’d like to hear from anyone else who’s eaten at the restaurant.  Please leave a comment sharing your experience and I’ll be happy to move them to a separate post in the interest of fairness.

8 thoughts on “The Old Fourth Street Filling Station, Blech!

  1. Esbee

    I’ve eaten there twice. Both times I thought the food was fine, but I wasn’t blown away like I think I was supposed to be. It wasn’t awful, just kind of meh.
    What you had sounds awful, though. And in a city with 5 kablillion restauarants, you needn’t have to risk it again.

  2. Jon Lowder

    Fec, it was truly nasty chicken.
    Esbee, I agree with you and thanks for sharing your experience as well. Part of the problem is the heightened expectations, especially when you take pricing into account. While $17 entrees are middle of the road in large cities, here that’s getting close to high end. If we’d been eating at Joe’s Spaghetti Shack and the entrees were $7 each then I think we would have just shrugged it off. Well, all except the chicken.

  3. Kathy

    I am so glad to have found your blog! My sister emailed it to me this morning, when we were discussing Esbee’s blog.
    I love the burgers at the The Old Fourth Street Filling Station. The burgers and the brie appetizer are awesome!
    I hope you give it another try.

  4. Jon Lowder

    Hey Kathy,
    Thanks so much for the comment and for visiting my little ol’ blog. Just checked out your site and it’s fantastic. I’ve added you to my reader.
    Thanks also for the comment about the Filling Station. I think our experience is a great example of why running a restaurant is such a tough business. If you have one off night you can really lose customer(s) forever, and that was the thought that I had when I re-considered my post. That’s why I decided to ask for other comments and I’m going to create another post if necessary.

  5. sarahsouth

    i’ve eaten there once and it was pretty underwhelming. not as bad as your experience, though. your burp aftertaste is one of the most vivid and hilarious food descriptions i’ve ever read!

  6. Mandie

    I’ve eaten there once with a large group of friends, and I thought it was fantastic. I even took photos of all the food. We ate Sunday brunch, in April, on the patio. Betty thought the shrimp and grits were excellent, and the salad I had was huge. The pancakes with fruit were to.die.for. The omelets and fries were good, too.
    I’ve seen the letter from the chef, and I hope you do take them up on the offer to go back. Hopefully the second time will be the charm.


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