(Boyfriend, K and I floating triumphantly in front of PNC Park during a Pirates game)
After we returned our kayaks, we discussed lunch options that would offer delicious fare and plentiful drafts. The answer seemed clear: Rivertowne Northshore.
I had never eaten at Rivertowne before, but I am a fan of their beer, especially the pineapple Hala Kahiki. I assumed that a restaurant linked to such a reputable brewery would have equally as fantastic food. I assumed incorrectly.
Our group was quickly seated at an outdoor table close to the river and our meal seemed to be heading in the right direction... Until our server arrived. I have no idea what her name was, but her blank expression may be permanently etched in my brain. We all ordered water and then Mr. P asked "do you have a drink menu?" She blinked at him, tilted her head to one side and said "yeah... I think so." After a few moments of uneasy silence, Mr. P asked "umm... May we have one?" I also asked her to check the status of my beloved Hala Kahiki on draft, which only seemed to confuse her more.
She vanished for several minutes and reappeared to let us know that no, Hala Kahiki was not available on draft, but was available in a can. She did not come back with a drink menu. At this point, we were annoyed and ready to place our food orders.
Both K and I ordered individual buffalo chicken pizzas, while Boyfriend ordered a standard cheeseburger and fries. Mrs. P got an individual bacon pizza and Mr. P opted for chicken wings. Our server was incredibly awkward while taking our orders and may have been half asleep during the process. She skipped K completely and seemed distracted by sudden movements. We weren't fans, but she did manage to bring our drink orders without disaster: two Hala Kahikis for Boyfriend and me, one Framboise for Mrs. P and a draft for Mr. P.
Our food was brought to the table in staggering order, which always irritates me as a patron. There is always one person sitting there empty handed while everyone else has his or her plates, but feels too awkward to eat. Soon enough, we all had our food and were ready to dig in.
My pizza looked good and I really, really wanted to like it, but one bite told me that if there was menu-promoted "fire sauce" involved, it was a small amount. Our server had provided a side cup of additional hot sauce,so I poured some directly on to a slice of my pizza, then took a bite. I thought that the sauce tasted oddly sweet and not at all spicy. K agreed and Mr. P took the initiative to taste the sauce before proclaiming "this is French dressing." We laughed about it, then informed our server about the mix-up. She did not seemed amused, but did bring us actual hot sauce quickly. Once the correct sauce was brought, the pizza was decent. It certainly wasn't the best buffalo chicken pizza that I'd ever had and I was annoyed that I had to have extra sauce to even make it the slightest bit spicy. Fire sauce, indeed.
When Boyfriend's lunch was delivered, I knew that he was excited to have a cheeseburger after a grueling kayak session. I also knew that after he had one bite, he was disappointed.
To say that his burger and fries were room temperature would be generous. I tried one of his fries and they were hardly warm; however, Boyfriend sucked it up and did not complain for fear of having to confuse our lackluster server even more.
Mr. and Mrs. P each enjoyed their respective meals, but did not care for the lacking service provided during our meal. I have also been blessed with painfully sweet and kind friends, so they would probably highlight positive traits of a meal that included a side of botulism.
We finished our meals and hightailed it out of there before the impending rainstorm began. I have full confidence that I will not return to Rivertowne for food, but the shoddy service and food won't stop me from enjoying Rivertowne brews, especially the Hala Kahiki.
There are some places that should focus solely on what they're best known for and Rivertowne Northshore seems to be one of those. Come for the beer, stay for the beer, but whatever you do, don't trust the buffalo sauce.