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April 23, 2008

7 things wrong with Catie Girls

1. Tuna burger was dry and mealy even though I was warned it would be cooked rare.
2. Roasted vegetable chips had clearly sat in a warming oven too long and were hard and dried out.
3. I got 3 shot glasses of soup as a side? Why 3 when a similar amount might have been contained by a . . . cup? If 3 shot glasses were so necessary, why not 3 different soup shots? How about just plain old - why?
4. Tuna burger bun was soaked through with butter so that it was inedible and fell apart in my hands as soon as I touched it.
5. Jerk fried chicken didn't have a crust? Does fried chicken have rubbery skin instead of crust?
6. Corn bread was undercooked. Mmmmm, lukewarm dough.
7. Everything was so salty, including the margarita, it seems that Lot's wife was working the kitchen tonight. Could there be anymore salt in town or did we eat it all?


  1. There are also major service issues with this establishment. Have you seen the email going around where Catie replied to a customer complaint and admonished her customer? UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! I think half of Springfield read it.

  2. I think that emails are not that reliable a source to judge a person. Let's face it, Bill Gates was supposed to send some money for every email we forwarded. So much for email content. They can be altered to reflect anything good or bad. So, I decided to go and see for myself. There was nothing close to what has been said in the blogs on a negative tone. Someone certainly has it out for Catie Girls because the same issue surrounding the incedent is being posted. I found the food excellent and the wait staff very pleasant...very attentive. So, I stand by my belief that Catie Girl didn't write half the crap that has been in that email. Someone has doctored it up to try and discredit an otherwise great place to eat. Maybe they are relatives of someone working at Bennigans hoping to shut down all the competition.

  3. I don't have it in for them and I haven't read the email. I had heard many good things from people who had eaten there. I was doubtful that a young untrained cook would be worthy of the praise I'd heard but I was prepared to admit that it was better than I'd thought. My list is strictly based upon my experience. Any place can have a bad night but at the prices they charge, I'm not likely to return to give them a second chance.

    The place oozes pretension but that is a great marketing device so I don't fault them for it. Still, pretension sets a pretty high bar so you have to deliver on every dish on every night.

  4. I was a consistent customer for many months at Catie Girls, because I really enjoyed several items on the menu. However, I have completely stopped eating there for several reasons, but most importantly the SERVICE. The service never improved. It is as if she hired all of her friends but no one knows HOW to serve. During my last experience I had made reservations but still had to wait 45 minutes for a table. Then it took over 3 hours to eat. The food took over an hour and a half. No one ever bussed the table. At the end there was not an inch to place anything. Drinks were never refilled. To make matters worse, because the service was so terrible, we were there at closing. Everyone, including Catie herself, came out and sat at the tables in front. WE WERE STILL WAITING FOR ANYONE TO BUS OR BRING US THE CHECK. It was like begging for service. Although the food is decently delicious. The service has always ruined the experience. Lesson be learned. Dont hire friends, hire experience. If anyone has the email where Catie responded to a customer I would love to see it. Please Post!

  5. Anonymous. I hadn't heard about the email when I wrote this but once it seemed that I was being pegged as a complainer who based my opinion on an email rather than my palate, I looked for it online and found it somewhere - I don't recall where.

    I didn't have trouble with service although I did go midweek and around 7pm. For me, it was strictly the quality of the food which seems to be inconsistent. I still know people who love the place, but I know first time customers (those who view eating as a recreational activity and eat from coast to coast) who just get bad food. I note that they're first time customers because they won't return. I would guess it's a lack of experience.

    For example, I believe I saw in the paper that they recently celebrated their anniversary with a Hawaiian luau. So, it's Illinois, it's fall, and you have no experience cooking island food. Why a luau? I think they should turn off the Food Network and go to culinary school instead serving what they think is cool. Some training would make their ambition more fruitful.

  6. I am sorry that your trip to Catie Girls was not a great experience. I eat there 1 to 2 times a week. I love the staff and look forward to the wonderful choices they offer. I have never had a bad experience at Catie Girls. If you want plain and boring food that is served lighting fast - go to McDonalds.

  7. It's amazing to me that if you don't like Catie Girls there's someone willing to attack you. They served me the saltiest food I've ever eaten (and I eat the crumbs on the bottom of the pretzel bag) and you suggest that I stick with my own kind at McDonalds? How tedious and pretentious of you.

    I'm actually an excellent cook with a well-defined palate who hasn't eaten at McDonalds for years (not because I'm I have an ill-defined sense of superiority but because I'm just not into the place and I'm not a 10-year-old.) The simple fact is that I went to Catie Girls and the food was bad. I don't actually view this as an opinion so much as a fact. Review my comments and you'll see that they are concrete observations rather than "I didn't like it."

    My question to you is how did you stumble upon my observations of a meal I ate 10 months ago? If I had to guess you are an employee or investor and it is your turn to troll the Internet doing damage control - this would explain the Catie Girl stormtrooper mentality that exists in every online reference to the place. If not, you seem awfully aggressive for a simple restaurant patron. Do you get this upset when someone doesn't like your favorite gas station.

  8. Here is the email, Anonymous....start at the bottom and read the progression towards the top.

    Sent: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 9:06 am
    Subject: Think twice before going to Caitie Girls - this is how they treat their customers
    WOW!!!! How Completely unprofessional! For starters, Caitie, this is now about how I do my job, which I am outstanding at by the way, THIS IS ABOUT YOU! It is obvious you are very new to this business and lack the tact of handling constructive criticism. It's defensiveness like this, that will put you out of business, because you're right! I do have plenty of other choices downtown, and will definitely never be back to your establishment. Several times in my e-mail, I referenced the good experiences I have had, but instead, you addressed issues that were never even brought up. My grievance with the tuna burger was not how rare it was - it tasted awful. I never said that my server was inattentive, in fact she was quite good, considering the chaos in your kitchen.
    Funny, I am a previous bar/restaurant owner and have had to deal with these situations on rare occasions. Never in my wildest dreams would I have considered being as defensive and unprofessional as you to a customer. You've got a lot to learn as a business owner in this town if you think you'll ever survive - reputation is everything, and as many complaints as I heard flying around yesterday, you'll be lucky to make it through the summer =) Good luck...

    Note: forwarded message attached.

    From: caitie barker
    To: t jacobs
    Subject: RE:
    Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:59:25 -0400


    I'm very sorry for your unsatisfactory expierience today and I thank you for your patience and understanding. However, in a restaurant there has always been and will always be the occasional bad day. Today was one for us. I'm sure you yourself are not perfect in your occupation either. Restaruant employees are the hardest working, and most underpaid people. Yet they show up everyday and start the impossible task of pleasing 100 people completely at the same time. There are a few things I would like to point out to you. If you have a problem, please direct it to the dining room manager in the future. That is what she is there for. If you do not point out the problem at the time of service (i.e. the tuna burger) we cannot correct it. Even if you are in a hurry, we can give you a quick gift certificate for the next time you return. Also, we had about 85 guests seated in a matter o f 5 minutes. Unfortunatly yours was one of the last seated. Now if you have three cooks with 85 tickets in front of them at the same time someone is going to have to wait a minute. There is no way around it. If you would like to be in that position please let me know and I can arrange it so you can better appreciate the situation. We use the highest quality products and make everything totally from scratch. We have never ever claimed to be a fast dining expierience. If you want something in under 30 minutes guranteed there are several other options downtown to choose from. As far as the piece of grissle goes. We actually use REAL chicken here that we pick by hand, so please forgive us if we over looked a piece of grissle in three cases of chicken. Also, out of the 60 bowls of french onion I sold today. I recieved 6 verbal compliments and nearly every bowl was licked clean. You are the only one with a negative comment. Please remember that everyone has different tastes. And again this goes back to the letting us crrect the problem while you are there. The crusting of the tuna burger is our fault and I apologize. There is a misprint on the menu which we have not be able to get corrected yet. We decided not to crust them. The pineapple is grilled ahead of time and served room temp. And the tuna is only seared on both sides then served rare, as it is stated on the menu. If you would like it to be more done in the future, please let your server know and we will be happy to accomodate.

    I'm sorry if your server was unattentive. We try to predict and prepare for what business we receive, but it is impossible as we cannot read minds. I assure you they did the best that they could and we will try to be back to our usual selves next time you visit.

    Also, just in hindsight, I see that you sent this email at around 1 pm.. I'm glad you were in such a hurry to get back to work so you could send me this email on the clock instead of doing your job that you had to get back to so quickly.

    By the way, what is it that you do for a living? Perhaps I'll use your services someday and send you a critique of how you did on one of your worst days of the year and see how much you appreciate my feedback.

    Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 13:08:21 -0700
    From: t jacobs
    To: caitie barker
    Let me start by saying that I have frequented your establishment on several occasions for lunch and dinner both, and have always been more than satisfied with the food, service and atmosphere. Perhaps that is why today seemed like such a let-down. Our group of 5 arrived at 11:40 a.m. for lunch. Thirty-five minutes later, I inquired as to how much longer it would be, because we would have to return to work shortly. I was told our food would be arriving shortly. Meanwhile I sat with an empty glass of tea for ten or minutes, after being told they had run out, and more was brewing. 4 out of the 5 orders finally came. The order of Chicken and Biscuits had a large piece of gristle in it, and the 2 orders of French Onion Soup were so salty that they couldn't be finished. Again, I want to reiterate that we have eaten at your establishment several times, know how fabulous the food is and even brought along new patrons with us to try it out.
    Meanwhile, 5 minutes later, I received my entree...the Tuna Burger. It was completely inedible. It was not crusted and looked like it had been warmed in a pan for a couple minutes and served. The pineapples, etc were not grilled at all, and in fact were cold. I actually left your establishment hungry when usually I am more than satisfied. I only ate one bite of the tuna burger and in hindsight, should have sent it back and had it taken off my bill. We were in such a hurry to get back to work, though, I just left. Another patron approached one of your wait staff while we were leaving, saying that they had waited to long, and were leaving as well.
    I very much enjoy coming to your establishment and hope that this was an isolated incident. I look forward to coming back in the future, and knew that as a business owner, you would appreciate this feedback. I look forward to your response.

  9. We came from Chicago to spend a few days in Springfield and then onto St. Louis. We were very pleasantly surprised by Catie Girls. The atmosphere was bright and fun. We had good service (with a smile!). We were served promptly (even though there was a large party in the restaurant). The food was fun, interesting, tasty, and not boring. It was great comfort food with a twist. We (two adults and one 9-year-old boy) eat out a great deal in Chicagoland and feel that this restaurant would do well here in Chicago. We would go back and we would recommend others to go too.

  10. If you're looking for a ho-hum fast-food experience don't go to Catie Girls! If you're looking to eat the same old boring food that's found all over this town, don't go to Catie Girls! If you want to line up at a trough at 6pm and be home by 7, don't go to Catie Girls!
    If you're looking for delicious gourmet entrees, with artistic presentation and jaw-dropping great test, then yes, go to Catie Girls. People it takes time to prepare food of this calibur. Enjoy a glass of wine or one of their awesome martini's...sit back, relax and enjoy the BEST food this town has to offer!
    The people who are bashing this place have no taste and don't understand fine dining. They should stick to McDonalds or one of the fifty mexican restaurants in this town!

  11. Anon: I'm so tired of Catie Girl fans thinking that they are gourmands and that anyone who doesn't like the place is just some fast-food, buffet-line redneck. I have always tried to point out that this post is just an honest critique of my experience (a critique that I am both intellectually and culinarily qualified to make.) This post is about a meal I ate more than a year ago and still I get wanna-be hipsters trying to shout down my opinion as if they ate the crap, including uncooked food, that was placed before me. I know a lot of people who like the place, but I don't know any foodie who walked away with a positive opinion. So, no more politeness. If you feel that these untrained cooks are our local Escoffiers, then you are either too young to know your aspic from a hole in the ground or just another no-nothing blow-hard who is desperately trying to hide he redness of your neck. (Or, as I suspect, you are one of Catie's possie trolling the Internet to remove or question all of the negative experiences others have shared.)

  12. Wow. I have never read such rudeness. My Daily List, et al, I hope you all feel really good about what you wrote here. Catie was a girl trying to make a business. You above who were so negative sound like you have some other problem with Catie and her restaurant. Catie was a good person and a very hard worker. The negative commenters above should feel ashamed of themselves. And to My Daily List: up yours. If I had written such ugly things I would not put my real name on my comments either. You are the pretentious redneck in this conversation. Jack Ass!

  13. Odd, that I comment on a bad meal but I am personally attacked - even 5 years later. Must I be a lying, red-neck who had a personal vendetta against a person I never met? Couldn't I just as easily be a well-educated professional who enjoys cooking and good food, who just happen to have had a really negative experience at a restaurant? I never had a problem with Catie, since I didn't know her, but I do have a problem with the attack squad who focused on discrediting anyone who had a negative opinion of the restaurant.

    By the way, "pretentious redneck?" Aren't these opposites? Does this mean that I drink PBR from a goblet? Or, that my double-wide is decorated with Mid-century Modern antiques? I'm used to people who understand the meaning of words so I'm not 100% sure whether you mean this as a compliment or insult. I'll go positive and thank you for the kind words.

  14. The service was crap...And this "good person" was speeding and ran a red light and almost killed an 88 year old woman....And Catie died because she was too stupid to wear a seat belt...