***WARNING READERS: These photos are from Pixabay and are not at all an accurate representation of Jean Jean’s House of Food.***
A couple months ago, a restaurant opened up in my college town. The restaurant itself could be considered a structural embodiment of the word random. It is a restaurant that serves “Chinese food” (I’ll explain the quotations later) every day except for Sundays, which are reserved for soul food. Although, the catch is that this concept of ‘soul-food Sundays’ has not yet been implemented. The restaurant is housed within a property that is known for its failed businesses, and it is already surrounded by a variety of several other restaurants that serve Asian food.
This restaurant raised my friends’ and I’s interest. I will not use this restaurant’s real title in this article because the owner himself is following his dream and I gotta respect that. Instead I will use fake name for the restaurant that will still convey the restaurant’s…uniqueness.
My friends and I arrived at Jean Jean’s House of Food around six o’clock. Only about three quarters of our party had shown up at first and even though the restaurant was practically empty, we waited about 10-15 minutes and then the waitress/hostess let us sit at the restaurant’s longest table.
We still had two other people to wait for, but we were all pretty hungry and almost instantly started looking at the menu. The first thing we all noticed was how every meal on the menu (with the exception of one, a soup) was $13.50. Every item on the menu was just chicken with a different type of sauce- this was the moment I knew we struck gold.
The waitress came by the table, I forgot her name so let’s just call her Mary. Mary came by to ask us what we wanted to drink, one us asked what the options were and she said:
“We have: water, tea, Pepsi, Diet-Pepsi, Diet-Coke, and we’re out of regular Coke.”
I was simply taken back by the options. For one, Coke and Pepsi are often considered the same thing (even though they’re NOT) and this is why restaurants either have one or the other. Secondly, I don’t think it is even allowed to serve both of these beverages at the same restaurant. Third, you gotta give Jean Jean’s props for trying to please everyone.
Mary further mentioned that they also served milkshakes, and that surprised me even more than the thought of Pepsi and Coke under the same roof. My friend Eli asked what flavors of milkshake they served, and Mary said:
“Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and we can also mix them all together.”
Eli being the risk taker that he is went with the neapolitan option. I was scared for my friend but it was his choice to go with it. Eventually when we received our beverages, I watched as Eli took a sip of his milkshake and the smile on his face turned into one of those polite awkward facial expression when you taste something bad at a restaurant.
Twenty minutes had passed, at this point we’re still waiting for our two other friends to arrive and Eli is pretty confident that the restaurant watered down his milkshake. We all decide to order our food and we all sound like we’re saying the same meal because like I said, everything on the menu was just chicken with a different sauce. Right as we have finished ordering, Mary collects the menus and starts walking away. Ironically, just then, our two friends Colt and Anna, who we’d been waiting for, walk in.
Now that our orders were going to be coming at different times, I started thinking to myself how perfect this evening was. I love my friends, and they all love this type of crappy situation sort of stuff. The whole time we smiled, laughed, and just had the funniest time, enjoying the experience we were all sharing. Then the food arrived at our table.
We all shared the expression that Eli had on his face previously in the evening. The chicken did not taste like chicken and the sauces were way too strong. The egg rolls that came with the meal just had peas and carrots in them, and the noodles used for chow mein were spaghetti noodles. The best thing was the rice, and well…it’s just rice.
As we were finishing up…WAIT did I not mention that there is a free dessert bar? Well there is a free dessert bar and it was lit-ish. The free dessert bar included: flat brownies, hard cookies, and sour cheesecake.
As my friends and I pushed through dessert we all looked at each other, with a nonverbal agreement we decided that it was time to go. After paying our bill we all left the restaurant. I’ll never forget Jean Jean’s House of Food, I can’t think of another restaurant that has left me with such a strong impression and I don’t think I ever will again.