It has been recently mentioned that Stroud’s is considering buying the old Stephenson’s Apple Barn location on US 40 and Lee’s Summit Road. Would be a good location for them with the large Bass Pro going in down the road. Given that the old Apple Barn has poor accomodations for guests waiting in bad weather, it sounds just like what Strouds would be looking for.
We decided to try Stroud’s again since it’s been a few years, so yesterday we went to the North location. Arrived at 4:15 p.m. and it was after 5 p.m. before we were seated; meanwhile we were continually jostled in the lobby by the many others that kept pouring in. A woman standing next to us commented to her husband that it was always like this, and she didn’t know why they kept coing back — not a good sign, Usually the food and atmosphere qualifies the wait. The list when we were seated was claimed to be 90 minutes out.
We were seated in the small dining room off the front lobby, and it was so chilly nearly every person in the room had their coat on, and yet the fireplace was not in use — perhaps it’s inorperable, but at the rate they’re packing customers in, I think it would be an affordable consideration for diners.
Service was friendly and prompt. The salad was very poor quality: a plate of withered and browning iceberg lettuce with a cucumber slice and a plastic packet of dressing. No butter served with the crackers, had to ask.
Despite waiting nearly 20 minutes from ordering, the chicken was not freshly cooked. Luke warm at best, and several pieces were dry inside, and undesirable. My wife’s chicken breast was reasonably hot, so she was happy with it. The flavor was okay, but again, unremarkable considering the experience you endure to get to it. The gravy was excellent home-style. The green beens tasted right out of the can with some ham thrown in; they were very firm and almost undercooked. Odd, considering there were nearly a hundred people eating when we arrived, and they had been open for several hours.
The cinnamon rolls were Stroud’s regular feature – a bicuit-like soft white bread with a cinnamon and sugar glaze. Tasty.
All in all, I can’t recommend Stroud’s to anyone, unless what you’re looking for is an hour-long wait in a dangerously cramped room to pay almost twice what your dinner is worth. It’s truly not much better than what you’d expect from a CrackerBarrel-type restaurant, and certainly not worth $14 a head for a three-piece chicken dinner and soft drink. The portions are generous, but an over-sized serving of average tasting and low-product cost food isn’t worth the uncomfortable wait coupled with an extra $5 per person charge over what other equally tasty chicken dinners are selling for in the Kansas City area.
Somehow Strouds has gotten a name as the place to eat chicken in Kansas City, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. There have been numerous restaurants serving better dinners for less, and with a more enjoyable atmosphere, particularly in the wating area. I love country-style restaurants, and log cabins are a favorite, but the charm of the structure doesn’t make up for the fact that Strouds seems to know they’ve cornered a market, and don’t have to try anymore.
Why are there fewer KC-based chicken places? Easy — restaurant owners want people to pay a minimum of $12 a seat to eat, even though a half-chicken dinner as served at Strouds barely has a $4 product cost. That’s a lot of profit to expect. Considering you can get a lot more chicken at a fast-food place (or god-forbid, cook it yourself) for the money, people probably stop going to sit-down restaurants and dropping $60 and $70 to eat what you can get from KFC and Popeye’s for $18-$22.