Restaurant Review: Cody's: Clearwater, Florida
Cody's Leaves a Bad Taste In Your Mouth - or an Empty One
While I'd love to tell you how fantastic the food at Cody's is, I can't. I can't describe the food because I never had any - minus the handful of peanuts that were waiting on our table for us when we arrived. In a competitive and profitable industry, service is everything - and the service at Cody's leaves a lot to be desired. More accurately, the service would leave a lot to be desired - if we had received service at all.
Menu - 4 out of 5 stars:
It may be a bad idea to walk into a restaurant salivating before the door ever opens - or maybe that's the best way to walk into a new place. The scents, atmosphere and bucket of peanuts had me drooling before I ever cracked open the menu, but once I did I was read for a full-course meal - and drinks - and possibly desert. The menu is larger than I expected, and there was a variety of options to choose from for any hunger level and practically any budget. Most entrees were priced moderately between $10-$20, and the food was described just perfectly enough to want to bypass the cooking process entirely and get straight to the food. They had everything from simple hamburgers to filet-Mignon and everything in between.
Atmosphere - 4 out of 5 stars:
I was excited to finally get the opportunity to go to Cody's on an early Sunday afternoon. We have lived down the street from this establishment for almost two years, but we tend to enjoy our favorite restaurants over and over again and only rarely venture out to explore new venues. Walking into the restaurant was impressive. It's a typical, laid back atmosphere, and it feels like you're kicking back on the ranch for a good, old-fashioned barbeque. There are plenty of decorations on the walls, and the atmosphere is comfortable and exciting.
Service - 0 out of 5 stars:
Service is where Cody's dropped the ball, and they dropped it in a big way. We walked in ready to eat and explore new dining alternatives to our usual stomping grounds. When we first went in, the hostess was missing, but quickly reappeared, listed the size of our party and led us to a table in what appeared to be a high-trafficked area. The restaurant was busy, but not packed to overflowing. We sat at our table, enjoyed a handful of peanuts, drew on the paper table-cloths with the provided crayons and perused the menu at our leisure. And continued to look. And continued to look some more. We sat at the table for over fifteen minutes - and were not even acknowledged by any member of the wait staff whatsoever.
Perhaps it was a fluke. Perhaps not. Five minutes after we arrived, another couple was seated at a booth catty-cornered to ours. They ordered their drinks within three minutes - and the waitress had not even glanced in our direction once. Perhaps that was a fluke as well, or we were in different zones with a different server. Five more minutes passed, and a group of four was seated at a table almost right next to ours. They were greeted and then asked for their drink order - all while we were sitting there, staring incredulously at the waitress. We were still never acknowledged, let alone greeted or offered a beverage.
After fifteen full minutes had passed, we decided to leave. We got up and walked out of the restaurant without anyone uttering a single word to us, apart from the hostess that originally seated us. We decided to go to the Sea Dog, right next to Cody's instead.
This experience was a bitter disappointment to both me and my wife. We were intrigued by Cody's and very impressed with the atmosphere. However, in a service industry like a restaurant, service is, indeed, everything, and if you miss the mark there, you miss out on repeat business, referrals and loyal customers. The menu looked phenomenal and the drinks were enticing and I wish that I had gotten the opportunity to try them. I know, however, that I will not give Cody's a second shot. If they drop the ball on service and customer attention when they're slow, how can you expect them to step up to the plate when they're slammed.
I fear that with new restaurants popping up all over the place in our neck of the woods, Cody's is going to fail - miserably. They have a brand new brewhouse literally 20 feet away from their front door with comparable prices and delicious food offerings. There are three new restaurants at the mall, less than two miles away. The overall sense that I got from this experience is that Cody's has given up - and if they have, they may as well close their doors now and throw in the towel for good. They wouldn't be the first ones in the neighborhood to shut down - and perhaps diners would be more satisfied if they did.
Resolution After the Fact:
After a brilliant and delicious meal at the neighboring Sea Dog restaurant and bar, my wife called Cody's to speak to a manager to complain. While the manager seemed nice, she also seemed to be making excuse after excuse for their failure in customer service, and implored my wife to give them a second-chance. She told my wife that if we come back, to flag down a manager in order to make sure that we're taken care of. Do you need to get the attention of a manager to make sure that you receive good customer service at this establishment? Thanks, but no thanks. I think we'll pass on a second-opportunity and continue our restaurant explorations elsewhere.