You've seen it happen. You know what I'm talking about.
Your favorite hole-in-the-wall place to eat takes a leap of faith and moves to a larger space. They expand their menu and the place that once had a line out the door at lunch and dinner can now accommodate dining for 100 people.
Is Bigger always Better?
Expansion is tricky. You have to balance on the (very) fine line between being able to physically serve more guests while still retaining the charm and exclusivity of the smaller, original location. Don't forget the Food and Quality. If you expand at the expense of the Food and Quality, you might as well save the time, money, and effort and just close up shop.
Lillian's Original Location
We've been watching the impending move Lillian's was going to make from their small, intimate dining room to the much larger space behind the Post Office. Literally, we've seen the construction and work in progress as we drive by on a daily basis.
Angel and I ask each other regularly:
Will they make it work?
What will it look like?
Will they be able to fill tables?
Are they making a mistake?
Is Bigger Better?
These little monsters were at Grandma's.
Last night we decided to take a chance and try out their new, much bigger location. We know from experience Lillian's always has a line. We were ready to wait for a good half an hour. I mean, how long could the wait be on a Saturday night at 8pm?
Yup, 90 minutes is right. Woah. Well, if we're going to wait 90 minutes for a meal we might as well take advantage of it tonight since we are kid-free!!!
We waited. We wined. We dined. The Food AND the Service was spot on. Our server Savannah was sweet and attentive and did her job selling us the specials. We started with the 1/2 dozen raw oysters. Raw Oysters are one of our favorite things to eat and we are always shocked by how few restaurants in our beach community choose to offer these on a regular basis. We live next the OCEAN for goodness sakes.
I ordered the Spicy Prawns in Fettucini. We like spicy food and we can handle the heat. We were not disappointed. The double chili icon next to the meal description was right on target. Angel ordered the special, Raviolis and sliced portabello mushrooms. Our only criticism was that the plating was less than stellar. The flavors worked, but visually the entree looked more like a small plate or appetizer.
Is Bigger Better? In Lillian's case, Yes. However, Bigger still hasn't helped with the wait time for a table. Plan on making a reservation or waiting 90 minutes on a busy night.