Monday, July 19, 2010

The Discriminating Diner

The Discriminating Diner Visits
Two Local Dinner Theater Attractions

Now that summer is here, some of the more popular local attractions are not as busy as when our visitors are here. So this time the Discriminating Diner went out and about to visit some of these attractions that include a dinner of course.

First on our stop was the Broadway Palm Theater located on Colonial Blvd in the Royal Palm Square. The show at the time was Footloose, the musical version of the popular movie of the same name. For one price you get entertained as well as partake in a buffet dinner. The layout of the theater is decent and allows for good viewing of the show but sometimes you sit at a table with people you may not know. If your table of eight is full you may have some difficulty seeing the show unless you turn your chair. The sound system is average and on the night we were there they had some problems with it. The music was not live and I prefer live music to canned music. The play it self was average as fair as talent goes. We did notice a few mistakes the made at times which is not such a good thing. Mistakes happen but when the audience notices them it takes away from the overall experience. However it was an enjoyable performance.

The buffet is decent but not outstanding. You will not walk away hungry though. They have a salad bar, entrée bar and a dessert bar. All have a decent selection of choices which vary from time to time. They offer a full bar for adult beverages which of course are not included in the price of your ticket. Ice tea, water and coffee are and with free refills. However soda is not included and nor are there free refills. The cost is $1.75 each and if you take your children or if you like soda it can be rather costly. Ticket pricing for children and students is considerably reduced making this more affordable to families. Just don’t drink soda. To view ticket prices Click Here

The service was good however. They are very attentive and offer refills with great regularity. The servers and even the bus help are very helpful and friendly. They have individuals w ho escort you to your seat and show you the way to navigate the buffet. The bathrooms are large and clean but if you go at intermission plan on waiting in line ladies. They also have a store selling mementoes of the evening. I suppose to keep costs down, not every one gets a program. There is one program for every 2 individuals which you can return at the end of the evening for recycling.

The Broadway Palm overall is a decent nights experience but can be rather costly and they could provide a better experience if they only kicked everything up the quality a notch. Perhaps because they have been doing this for sometime they have fallen into a routine of compliancy.

Our second adventure took us to the Mystery Diner Theater Train. Here for once price you get to solve a “Who Done It “murder while riding on a train north to just south of Punta Gorda and enjoy a leisurely meal. The price of the ticket does not include any beverages. They also offer a full bar of adult beverages. They also suggest a $6 tip per person. So, plan on spending more than just the price of the ticket here. Ticket process $59-$69 They offer no discounts for children.

The menu offers soup, salad, a selection of 3 entrees and dessert along with choice of bread or rolls. The quality of the food is quite surprising and was very good. To view menuClick Here 

The rocking of the train car took a bit get use to but before long it seemed very normal. It is décor is cute and is meant to remind you of trains back in the day.

The play, now that was an interesting experience. It was a campy, eye rolling and gut groaning experience. The lines were really cute but the plot…let’s just say it is not Tony Award wining but it is not meant to be. It is meant to be a fun experience and there they succeed. The ending while meant to be a surprise was lame and nonsensical. It left you scratching your head or shrugging your shoulders saying “I don’t get it”. It was good for some laughs though. The actors do a great job pulling the audience into the play thereby making you part of the experience.

The service was fair. It took sometime getting drinks and refills. The spacing between meals is slow but that is due to the fact that they play is occurring and service occurs in-between acts of the play. The staff is very friendly though and the actors greet you as you leave the train.
Overall it can be a fun experience and if you have visitors in town, it is certainly something you will want to do…once…just once.

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