Not too long ago, my fiancee and I decided to buy a house in the area. She has a job that she enjoys, and we really like Carlisle — so we might as well start building some equity, right?
Surprisingly, we found a house we both really liked early in the process. After checking out a few other places, we decided to make an offer. Paperwork filled out, signed, wine bottles uncorked — let’s celebrate our first house offer! Of course, we then found out that same night that someone else had made an offer on the house (it was on the market for almost three months — great timing guys!). Their offer was better, and accepted, as we found out the next day. Total bummer.
Fortunately for us, it was time to hit up a new drinking hole. At first, we went to Fiddler’s, the pub at the Mayapple Golf Course, but there was a 20-30 minute wait. I hate waiting, so we decided to swing by Red Robin for some grub.
Red Robin had a wait for seating inside, but no wait for outside dining. It was a perfect 75 degrees at dusk — why did everyone want to be inside? We grabbed a table outside and enjoyed the sounds of the highway (not kidding — it really did add to the ambiance somehow).
Our waitress, Alexandria, came over and let us know there was a $3 Long Island iced tea special. My heart started racing. Readers of this column might recall me mentioning how my fiancee cannot control herself while drinking these (I might have also mentioned that it’s a total red flag I’m choosing to ignore). My panic subsided when she ordered a raspberry-flavored Gold Margarita. For $6, it was pretty small, but definitely full of some tasty booze.
The draft list was pretty unimpressive. All the usual suspects were present, but there wasn’t anything unique to be had. I got a pint of Newcastle, which is a fairly common English brown ale. It was good, but nothing special really. If the most exotic beer on your draft list is made by Sam Adams, it’s probably time to add a few options.
The food was much better. I don’t eat at chain restaurants much because one can usually get better food at a local establishment, but Red Robin has a lot of options and is usually pretty solid. My fiancee got some grilled chicken salad thing — boring. Whatever.
I, on the other hand, like to live on the edge. I wanted a meal that I would regret later. I found exactly that, with the Royal Red Robin. A juicy burger served with tomato, lettuce, cheese, bacon, mayo and an egg (I got mine fried), served with bottomless steak fries. I’m not big on fries, usually, but these were some of the best fries I’ve ever had. Red Robin offers a bunch of free dipping sauces for the fries, with the best being the “campfire” variety (essentially a tangy, light-colored BBQ sauce).
And the burger — oh, the burger. Juicy, greasy filling. It was actually pink inside, too, which was a nice surprise (usually at chain restaurants, the burgers are overcooked). The fried egg was a perfect compliment, too. I’m usually not picky with what goes on a burger but I might have to start holding out for more egg on future burgers.
My fiancee and I were pleasantly surprised by Red Robin, especially considering it was not our first choice. The booze was decent, the food was great, and the service was outstanding. The perfect cure for the house-shopping blues.
Michael Gleeson is a third-year student at Penn State Dickinson School of Law who likes brewing his own beer, cooking and blasting around town on his moped.