We visit Oakland once a month. It's a small town with very limited choices for food and coffee. Tolly's trumpets their "history" there, going back to 1968 and over multiple ownerships. There's a gleaming soda bar, chandeliers, period furniture, and wooden carousels. Very decorative. They reopened (again) in late 2012, and we've gone in twice since then. We didn't stay the first time—no fault of theirs, we were simply in a hurry and the soup special didn't hit a chord.
This week we took a neighbor's ten- and thirteen-year-old daughters to Duchess Sanctuary (rescue horses) for a tour, and afterwards everyone agreed ice cream sounded good. So, in to Tolly's for Take 2. Let me get right to it: this was a total fail. Mom said "keep your peace unless you have something nice to say," but even she would have commented on the (lack of) service we received that afternoon.
We were the ONLY customers as we came in; the waitress (I use the term generically, with apologies to the legions of FRIENDLY women and men who serve their customers) seemed surprised to see anyone…she came out from the kitchen area saying "Hello, welcome to Tolly's," and that was it for any personality. My wife ordered a sandwich and soup (no half sandwich available, sorry), the girls split a cheeseburger, and I had a hot fudge sundae (drivers' rights). No nuts, sorry. Said waitress appeared once…still no one else in the place besides us, maybe she was helping with the breakfast dish-washing?
The girls decided they'd like to split a sundae, and as young girls and boys sometimes do they "hesitated" a bit as they talked over what they wanted on their treat; it was only later, when we were home, that my wife told me the waitress (I really hate using that word here) actually ROLLED HER EYES as they made up their young minds!! Since this woman had approximately thirty or so years on them, I would expect a dose of understanding…experience…something indicating friendliness. Not available, sorry.
After we paid the girls looked around as we walked slowly toward the front door—when I held it for them the server (there! that's what she was!) was five feet away, fiddling with the cash register, and she said nary a word as we exited, still the only people in the restaurant. I hope the dinner guests fared better than we did.
For us, Tolly's is "history"—the food is average (greasy French fries), and it avoids one star only because the restaurant appeared to be clean. The next time I'm in Oakland I'll try the bar across the street, bring a sack lunch, or drive three miles over to Sutherlin. 'Bye!
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