Monday, May 4, 2009

The Classic Cookie: 409 W. Gregory

Monday, May 4, 2009
Classic CookieI think this is the shortest lunch I have ever eaten in Kansas City. I rolled up to Classic Cookie on the north end of Waldo at about 11:30. I knew it was a small space and wanted to get there before any noon rush. I'm glad I did.

The small but pleasant dining area was mostly full when I arrived, including a long table of 6 or 8 folks. Smartly the Classic Cookie has small four-top tables that can be pulled together or pushed apart to accommodate groups of varying sizes. That being said, this is not a good place to have lunch with a large group. The place is simply too small and it gets very full at the height of lunch hour, as I was soon to discover.

I know this is a popular spot for breakfast/brunch but have never been because the idea of waiting to eat while hungover has never appealed to me. Nonetheless I was surprised at the steady stream of folks that continued to walk through the door throughout my meal. By the time I got my food, the wait for a table was up to 20 minutes.

Some people opted to wait by the front door, creating a somewhat awkward environment in which they were obviously impatient and watching everyone else eat. Some folks waited on the bench outside because it was a nice day. Others decided to leave and go elsewhere (probably the Mexican place on the corner). I have no idea why you would show up to a tiny restaurant with three other people at noon on a weekday and expect to be seated right away.

This place does have a nice vibe and I can see why people like it. It is casual and decidedly non-corporate feeling. The small size really contributes to the atmosphere which is bustling, energetic and fairly loud. The staff persons are extremely talented, conversational and friendly. I had a menu within a minute of sitting down, my order taken quickly, food that arrived within 10 minutes and my check just as I was finishing.

Classic Cookie

While I waited for my food to come out of the kitchen, my server brought a basket of cookies and mini-muffins to my table. There were about 3 cookies and 2 muffins, which seemed like overkill for one guy, but I made a valiant effort. The cookies are good, but nothing mind-blowing. I had a peanut butter, a chocolate chip and an oatmeal (I think). I can't remember the muffin varieties, probably because I'm not a huge fan of muffins in general.

I had a half chicken salad sandwich with a garden salad for 6.25. The salad contained the ubiquitous mesclun greens and croutons with a fine balsamic vinaigrette. I would have liked more things in the salad since I don't really care for croutons, but I survived.

Classic Cookie

The chicken salad was pretty dry, without much seasoning. It was all white meat, but was otherwise unremarkable. Now, those who read this blog know that I have an intense dislike for mayonnaise. But yes I do eat the occasional chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich. These items are not nearly as chock full o' mayo as they once were at most restaurants worth their salt, so typically I can stomach them and even succumb to the periodic craving for them as I did at the Classic Cookie.

My bill came to 8 dollars and change--quite reasonable for a full service lunch. A 15% tip would come out to about $1.30. Now, in my estimation any tip under $2 is bullshit, I don't care what the conventions of tipping tell us. I was also eating in a very small restaurant as a solo diner. My table could have been occupied by four people and I think it makes sense to throw percentages to the wind and tip at least $3, especially when the service is this good.

Classic Cookie in short is a great little neighborhood joint that serves very typical American lunch fare, and they do it reasonably well. I like the owners and the staff, and the space is somewhat invigorating for those who can stand the crush of Caucasian humanity the comes with it. The food won't win any awards but it is freshly prepared and good quality. The baked goods are a nice touch too, and they are available for bulk carryout from the bakery case. So I can recommend this spot to folks looking for a casual, feel good lunch in Waldo.

12 comments:

Matt said...

15%? 20% is standard. I agree with the $2 rule though.

The DLC said...

He he, good point Matt. I was just trying to exaggerate the absurdity a little. Unfortunately there are plenty of people who break out the dreaded "tip cheat sheet" with regularity. I haven't tipped less than 20% in years (since I quit my one and only waiter job).

Matt said...

I got ya. When I was younger I was tempted to carry a tip cheat sheet just so I wouldn't have to do bad math in my head, but then I just realized I should round way up. I was never a waiter though.

Papias said...

As a general rule, I find that doubling the sales tax and rounding up gives you a pretty decent 20%. But I always tip more when they:
1) Keep my refill filled
2) Are friendly without being hovering
3) Are cool to my kid. - not kidding!

Matt said...

The hovering rule is important.

JJSKCK said...

The $2 rule should be law. I hate going to lunch with co-workers (all of whom carry no cash whatsoever), then seeing them write in a tip of $1.20 on a $7.80 bill. Happens all the time.

I don't think 20% is standard by any means. I never tip less than that without cause, but I think most people do (see the above co-workers).

My attitude is this: on a $20 check, the difference between 15% and 20% is a DOLLAR. That dollar means a lot more to the server refilling your Diet Coke than it does to you.

Oh--and doubling the sales tax in KCMO gives you about 20%, due to a misguided convention law which increases the sales tax for restaurants. However, it gives you only about 15% most other places. And the sales tax may or may not include alcoholic beverages...

Matt said...

Oh god - aren't impatient-with-wait-people co-workers the worst? I'm always so embarrassed by their rudeness. It's like they don't realize that she has other tables and other people to tend to besides you.

Emily Catherine said...

I agree that the minimum tip has to level off, like a bell curve, as you get to the lower end. I grew up with a dad who would leave a few quarters stacked under the edge of a plate (ooh, surprise factor!) for our family of four. Ugh. I constantly try to pay just so I don't have to see my companions struggle to add a dismal $2.30 for a $16 tab at a local spot with fantastic service.

JJSKCK said...

The thread has been over for a while, but I had to add this: on a recent business trip, I witnessed a $7 tip laid on a $63 tab. By a manager. WHO WAS ON A FREAKING EXPENSE ACCOUNT. All because the waitress, who was pleasant as could be, forgot one cup of minestrone soup and the person who ordered it had to wait 4 minutes for it. I wanted to run, not walk, out of that place.

The DLC said...

I'm not a big fan of penalizing waitstaff for every little oversight. It's about the overall experience. 15% is the bare minimum even for pretty bad service.

Oh and comment threads never die on KC Lunch Spots. The power of Google makes every post live forever.

Matt said...

Oh god - I hate when people overreact to simple human mistakes. Who cares if the waitress forgot your soup, it's not like she came and took it away from you. I feel like restaurants work the same way as alcohol, it can show who you really are underneath, which for a lot of people is a giant asshole.

MarianLibertarian said...

As a former (and sometimes pulled out of retirement) waitress, my tip math goes like this Dine alone: $3 or 20% whichever is higher. Dine duo: $5 (if we're splitting the check) or 20% whichever is higher. Anybody who tips like shit has never worked in the service industry. Retail doesn't count.

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