I am not normally a bad review kind of guy. I normally give a place the benefit of the doubt. I have been a cook at enough places to know that not everything goes right and that there is no accounting for tastes. I’ve seen the good and the bad in kitchens both large and small. But my experience at Knoxville’s Latitude 35 restaurant last night was exceptional even to one as jaded and assholian as myself. After a round of non-doubles disc golf at the newly redesigned Morningside Park, me and my buddy Garyishungry ventured to Market Square to find a hamburger or tacos. Not too difficult of a task, one would think. The taco option was full to the gills and I am impatient, especially when hungry and sweaty and wearing a sun-visor. So we crossed the Square to Latitude 35 where we were happy to find seats at the end of a crowded bar. The place is nice inside and has two distinctly different bars and a nice warm decor. After a brief wait we ordered a couple of pints which were delivered in plastic cups. Plastic cups for 4.00 pints of beer. Noone else had plastic cups,which was kind of perplexing, but i wrote it off as a called-in-sick dishwasher or the like. Looking over a fairly pedestrian menu I opted for a grilled cheese with white cheddar, bacon and granny smith apples, while my buddy went for a hamburger proving his willingness to stick to the original plan in the face of plastic cup infused diversity. DId i mention that it is an open kitchen and we could watch the expo station, which is where the food leaves the kitchen and final plating occurs, and that is where the story turned ugly. And hairy. ANd probably way into jam bands. The guy working the expo station, aka the expediter, put on a show bad enough to make a very hungry Me to cancel my food order. Here’s a bullet point list of why this guy grossed me out:
- He did not wash his hands once.
- He kept wiping his hands on his apron and a towel
- He dropped the towel in the floor , and then continued to use it
- He dropped a pair of tongs in the floor, used to grab fries, and wiped it off with the Towel
- He decided to use his dirty hands instead of the tongs to grab the fries, apparently at random intervals
- He tightened up his luxurious pony tail, no hand washing afterwards
- He hiked up his drawers, no hand washing required of course
- He approached the bar to get a drink of water. I told him he should wash his hands, and he replied “yeah i guess i should” then went back to work with no hand washing
- His long luxurious hippy hair was merely tied back in a pony tail , not covered to stop it from getting in food as is required since he was handling ready to eat food, aka MY FUCKING FRENCH FRIES, with his bare ass dirty hands and/or the tongs he picked up off the floor.
Long story short, we left without eating. The bartender comped the beers after i complained to the manager and we tipped him ten bucks for not being a huge douche. He said that this kind of thing never happens, but i don’t think i really believe him. In a downtown fairly bursting with places to eat, I would avoid Latitude 35 like the plague. The food may taste good, but I will never know because watching it being prepped and plated made me opt for a chain restaurant where at least I could see a clean kitchen and watch people with clean hands make my average but satisfying burger.