Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unexpected at East Side Mario's

*this review was done in Bayers Lake but the link from the Wing Night list is for the downtown location, I can't see there being a big difference in the wings though.

Garlic loaf and salad - as much as you can eat.  That’s what comes to mind when I think of East Side Mario’s and I always tell myself to go easy on that because before I know it the main course hits the table and I’m already full from overindulging, but it's so good.

I took it easy on the garlic loaf this time around to ensure there was enough room to try a pound of wings.  An order will run you $11.99/pound however if you arrive after 8:00 PM you get can all you can eat wings plus the loaf and salad for only $15, not a bad deal at all if you're on the hungry side.

Breading: 4/5 – A light crispy breading fully coated the wings and they looked great, from the outside.
Off to a great start

Overall Quality: 2/5 – The wings looked awesome when they arrived and were grease free.  The first couple of bites were promising and the chicken tasted great, unfortunately that took a quick turn in the wrong direction.
Kind of sludgy in there
I always start a batch of wings by ripping into a flattie for some reason, then move on to the drumsticks.  I’m not sure why but almost all of the drumsticks contained a fair amount of dark meat around the bone.  You may think it’s not a big deal and I’m exaggerating but that’s why I take pics.  Perhaps this isn’t a big deal to some people but I don’t find it overly appealing.
Not the most appealing
Sauce Selection: 2/5 - Mild, Medium, Hot, Honey Garlic or Garlic Parmesan are your options, Blue Cheese is also served with every order by default.  I went with Hot on the side.  I wish you could substitute the Blue Cheese with a different sauce if you aren’t a fan.  They are also served with a couple of carrot and celery sticks, perhaps people who eat those really enjoy dipping them in the Blue Cheese.

Service: 2/5 – We arrived a little after 7:00 PM and the place was still fairly busy but it didn’t take too long to get a table.  A few minutes after we were seated our drink orders were taken and they took a few minutes to arrive. 

The Bud draught arrived in a glass that mimics the look of a can of Bud, kind of a neat concept.  You can purchase the glass for five bucks which I wanted to do but they only had Bud light glasses, I’m not a huge fan of light beer by any means so I didn’t bother with the extra purchase. 

I took a swig and noticed what could potentially be an imperfection in the bottom of the glass (at least I hoped), but with a swirl of the glass and a poke with a knife due to my curiosity the imperfection turned out to be a couple of seeds (sesame or lemon I think) that began floating around. 

I wasn’t sure if I should really say anything or not since I hate bringing things like this to their attention but after a few minutes of contemplating I decided the seeds really don’t belong there so I mentioned it to the server on her next visit to the table and I also mentioned the hair we found in another drink too.  She didn’t give us a hard time at all and new drinks arrived, eventually.

We placed our order which consisted of two pasta dishes and an order of wings (of course) and waited for what felt like a very long time for the food to arrive (around 40 minutes).  It was nice to see a good quality wet nap and two extra napkins arrive at the table before the order.  I happened to have the luxury of being the passenger instead of the driver tonight which has a great benefit – bonus beers!  Well, that would have been great except we weren’t approached during the meal to see how things were or if drink refills were required, so one beer it was.

We waited once again for a long period of time after we were done eating until the bill arrived.  We were finally asked how everything was and I mentioned I didn't really care for the wings too much at all, she mentioned they smelled good. That was the end of that visit.  We were there over an hour in total, I don’t know why everything took so long. 

Size: 4/5 – The wings were a pretty good size, but as I’ve mentioned before it almost always seems like the bigger the wing the more dark meat you get. 
Pretty good sized wings
Overall rating: 2.8/5

I noticed the receipt contained one of those surveys on it so I filled it out and rated the categories for what I felt was appropriate.  I was surprised that the manager contacted me that same night and I called him the next day.  He was very genuine and really felt bad that we didn’t have a great experience and invited us back to give them another try.  I’ll try the wings next time I’m there and I’ll be sure to update this accordingly. 

I truly hope this was just an off night, it is comforting to know that the manager actually cared enough about his restaurant to want to have a conversation with me, that really shows pride so hopefully my return visit will end up being a great wing night, and if I’m lucky enough to no not be driving perhaps extra beer will be in order.

I also wanted to clarify that I don’t enjoy providing negative feedback about anything but this blog is about going out for wings and rating them based on the categories listed above during my visit, unfortunately not all experiences are perfect.  I don’t want anyone to think that I’m saying the same thing will happen to you, I’m just writing about my experience.

I also plan on re-visiting some previously reviewed places in the very near future that may have had an off day as well, stay tuned.

Also, if you have ever had the wings there please let me know, I’d love to hear about your experience as well.  Thanks.


  1. Always look forward to your reviews. I find you're always balanced in your opinions.

    1. Thanks, I really try to be balanced and don't enjoy negative reviews, but it happens and I try to include as much detail as possible and pics to show why things are rated the way they are.

  2. This seems like an honest and genuine review to me. It wouldn't take much for these restaurants to take it up a notch as far as service is required. When that happens a lot of the negative items don't seem so bad. I haven't tried these wings yet but they certainly don't look very appealing.

  3. I took Eastsides up on their all you could eat promo about a month ago with some friends. I have to say that my experience was almost a duplicate of yours when it came to the wings and service. It was very slow and wing quality was the same as mentioned.

    One in our party wanted wings with the sauce on them. First round no problem -- second round we were told they weren't permitted to do so on additional orders. When questioned about it we were just told "what do you expect, its all you can eat isn't it?".

  4. I've given up on ESM's - purely on the service component and interminable waiting, right from the start waiting to be seated, both from the former Micmac location and Bayers Lake too. Went to ESM in St John's, NL the other week, and it was slow there too!! Sadly the food has always also been just "OK", so not even the promise of great food as a redeeming feature. Unlikely to return ever (unless someone else is paying of course... )
    But your previous review of the Perfect Pour caused us to go there for brunch for the first time last week (was previously totally unaware of its existence!) and it was fantastic - keep up the good work!!

  5. Coincidentally, I went into this blog today to see what this blogger said about East Side Mario's wings. We went last night after a movie specifically for the all you can eat wing special.
    My comments:
    Wings were just sort of ok, your basic frozen wings. Sauce (mild) again, just sort of ok, basic store bought sauce. The second order was the garlic parmesan, not much garlic taste and VERY greasy, I used my napkin to soak grease off the wing before eating. My biggest beef was my puny $8 glass of wine compared to my partner's cheap $4 beer. Also, I HATE being handed my bill while the server is standing there with the debit machine. You should have time to look at the bill and think about a tip, before you pay. All told, probably won't be back.

    1. I like when they have payment options when handed the bill. I am usually ready to leave after I get my bill. Nothing worse than waiting for them to come back with debit after getting bill.

  6. I think it all depends on when you go. We typically do Tuesday evenings for date night before a show and it's pretty dead in there so service is a little faster and more often (for refills and checking in). Gotta say though that if this was the Halifax Breadman posting Mario's would be top tier. Bread is impossible to ignore there.

  7. Was there tonight and opted for the 1/2 price wings over the all you can eat. Got 7 wings for $6.50. Not the best of deals. Wings were so-so, speed wasn't too bad. Bartender was great.

  8. Hey, thanks for these info. So, I went to Marios today to have a pound of wings but it seems many of the costs posted here are valid only if a drink is purchased.. It could be better if the costs of wings without drink purchase are mentioned here as it would help to gauge where the wings are actually cheap without any additional purchase..

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