Headlines from First Thoughts

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Restaurant Ratings

I've read many columns about restaurant ratings, but I rarely see a "kid-friendly" restaurants rating systems. So, here is Bill's first annual rating system of local restaurants. These are based on very objective criteria: color pages, color crayons, few stares from customers, manager doesn't cringe when we walk in, taste of food. It's all about Parker, you know.

1.) Sullivan's *****
Close to the house, good color pages, great tasting lemon ice drink. Me-Maw knows how to find it when she's in town.
2.) Bravo! *****
This Italian restaurant has it all. Color crayons, color sheets, dough. You can color right on the table, you can make your own something to bake in the oven. If you have the right server, you can watch them make your pizza. Downside: can we really afford this once each week?
3.) Texas Roadhouse *****
Running a close third, this place is a carry-over from Texas. Not only does the "Roadhouse" have peanuts you can throw (literally) on the floor, but they have a great window to watch the food preparation. Watch out, health department! Added bonus: real saddle to ride while the chef makes the flames go higher!
4.) McDonald's ****
All the major food groups, except Parker always orders "Chicken Nuggets and French Fries." Can't beat the toys. Dad loves the sweet tea. Where's a server to bring it to my table? Oh yes, this is fast-food.
5.) Chick-Fil-A ****
Better nutrition in the "Chicken Nuggets and French Fries." Needs better toys.
6.) Outback ****
Great for boys night out. Can't beat the cheese fries. Key boys night out rule: no vegetables!
7.) Chuck-E-Cheese ****
Great fun, not so great pizza. Bring your wallet and your watch; you'll need plenty of both.
8.) Our house ****
Cooks better food than most, healthiest cooking. Downside: we'd rather eat out.
9.) Snappy Tomato Pizza ****
Best pizza in town, worst seating (there's only one place to sit down). Order early; it takes awhile to deliver. Even better-- pick it up and see #8.
10.) Firehouse Subs ***
Firehouse effect always great conversation starter. How many times do we go over the fire equipment? Plastic fire helmet souvenir is nice touch. Not dad's favorite place. It's good and fast after church.
11.) Mellow Mushroom ***
Great pizza, closer to the church than most places. Big mushrooms make for nice atmosphere. Slower service, but good color pages.
12.) Pizza Kitchen ***
No color crayons or color pages, but makes up for it in location. You can usually spot a First Baptist celebrity working behind the counter and/or a parent leaving big tips for said celebrity.

Imagine how a parent, or any other adult, rates an experience at church. My guess is that several criteria are used every Sunday as people visit our church: parking, accessibility (can anyone find where things are?), nursery, friendliness, inspiration, location, people, safety.

It's comforting to know that as I read the New Testament, church has to be more than just what we offer others. We are extending an invitation to people to help us make this a better place and make a difference in the lives of others in downtown Knoxville. Instead of worrying about our weaknesses, we equally emphasize what our guests can offer us. Need a greeter in the parking deck? Come and be one! Difficulty finding a room? Stand in the hall and direct traffic. Want to provide something for children? We'll empower you to serve.

A relationship with Christ and participation in the church community is a journey together. It's all about each person serving together, you know.

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