Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant

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SassyGritsAL
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2010/01/07 16:13:16 (permalink)

Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant

Wentzel's Oyster House opened a restaurant in Huntsville, AL (where I live) and me and three other friends went to eat there last Sunday evening.
 
I ordered the shrimp dinner. It came w/2 sides of which I ordered coleslaw and a baked potato. The coleslaw was the only part of the dinner I liked. The plate came w/8 small heavy battered shrimp and a mealy baked potato. I don't like cocktail sauce so I ordered a side order of garlic butter sauce. It came in a very small bowl and wasn't even enough to coat the eight shrimp. The waitress first forgot my baked potato and had to bring it out later and then the hushpuppies were missing. She brought me out 2 hushpuppies that were about the size of a nicked and were dried up and very crisp (we who all got hushpuppies were unable to eat them and asked for a fresh order and they were the same). My bill w/tea was $21.68 and I was charged $2.00 for the side order of garlic butter sauce.
 
Don't get we wrong please, I don't mind paying for good food but this wasn't good food. I had heard so much about Wentzel's and was so looking forward to enjoying good seafood and to be honest with you I enjoy the food at Red Lobster better.
 
My other three friends were disappointed too. One ordered the same thing I did and didn't like hers either and my other friend ordered fried oysters and asked that they not be well done and they came out very crispy. My other fried ordered a sampler platter that came w/flounder, shrimp, fried oysters and crab claws. She shared some of her crab claws w/me and they were so tiny that several of them were just batter w/no claws in them at all.
 
Don't know if I will give them another try. Has any one else eat at Wentzel's and what is your opinion?
#1

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    seafarer john
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/07 17:29:36 (permalink)
    Our meals at Wentzels in Mobile a couple of years ago were all excellent -basically, all we ate was oysters. The service was also excellent and the beer was cold and fresh.

    It's a shame that a fine place like Wentsels would risk its reputation with careless expansion.

    Cheers, John 
    #2
    Greymo
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/07 18:10:05 (permalink)
    Wow  It is too bad that it turned out to be a bad meal.  I would hope that  this will change, but overcooked seafood spells "trouble" to me.
    #3
    mayor al
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/07 19:31:49 (permalink)
    I agree with Seafarer. The Mobile location was outstanding. We had a variety of Oysters, raw, fried and several flavors of the Broiled...plus shrimp, Crab Claws and the West Indies Salad. All were top of the line good.

    I am afraid some, or at least the one you visited, of the franchise stores may not be meeting the standards of the original.
    #4
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 08:26:06 (permalink)
    I have also only been to the original Wintzell's in Mobile and I loved the food (and atmosphere).  Sorry to hear your visit to the Huntsville location was a disappointment.   
    #5
    RibDog
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 09:09:20 (permalink)
    You know, why does it always seem that the original location is the best?  If a restaurant is going to open other locations, it should be done with the same high standards as the first.  And I agree that I have never had a bad meal at the original Wentsell's in Mobile.
    #6
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 09:29:03 (permalink)
    I agree with everyone else. I enjoyed my visit to to the original Wintzell's. I do remember , however not being overly impressed with the hushpuppies. Too much spice and not enough flavor.
    #7
    mayor al
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 10:05:40 (permalink)
    Rib Dog,
      Your question about Franchise 'quality' is a good one. Using Doe's Eat Place as an example...The original in Greenville MS is great, The Paducah KY Store operated by the son of the owner of the Original is also excellent (not quite the same ambience, but the food is as good). I have heard very good reports about the Little Rock AR Franchise Store, but haven't eaten there yet. The others (a couple of franchise outlets) haven't been heard from on this forum. I wonder if they are holding the standard? Did one in Oxford,MS close???

      Out West, I have long been a fan of the Farmer Boy's Mini-chain of Burger/Mex restaurants...from the days when there was just one, out near March AFB on the semi-freeway that later became the 215. When the chain expanded, the stores were generally operated by 'Family Members' of the original owner. They  maintained the quality I always liked. However as was recently pointed out to me, there are now 75 Farmer Boys reaching from Fresno to Las Vegas to the Mexican Border. The odds of maintaining that family-run atmosphere in that quick and rapid expansion of the business is pretty doubtful !

    I am afraid that Wintzell's franchisers may not have that same business attitude that the original owner has for his Mobile (and close-by neighborhood) restaurant operations.
    #8
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 10:44:31 (permalink)
    Al, I have also been to the Doe's in Starkville, MS and although I would rate it a notch below Greenville and Little Rock, it is still a very worthy destination.  I think the one in Oxford closed because the owners of the building (I think it was on a hotel property) wanted to put in a more upscale steak house. 
    #9
    beth moffett
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 11:10:31 (permalink)
    I have eaten at several of the chains of Wintzells and none are as good as the original--as a matter of fact, the original is not as good as it once was.
    #10
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 11:30:36 (permalink)
    I have been to the original Winzell's in Mobile three times.  All three visits were outstanding.  I am sorry to see that their ambitious expansion is not working.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 11:37:08 (permalink)
    Of the three Dreamland BBQs I have visited, the only one I liked was the original in Tuscaloosa.  The ones in Birmingham and Mobile were disappointments to me.
    #12
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 11:48:22 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    Of the three Dreamland BBQs I have visited, the only one I liked was the original in Tuscaloosa.  The ones in Birmingham and Mobile were disappointments to me.


    Agreed, although I've never been to the one in Birmingham.
    I still say that the ribs at the original location in Tuscaloosa are better than
     
    #13
    Play27
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 11:56:52 (permalink)
    Never liked the crab claws at Wentzel's in Mobile and felt it was in decline when we left there many years ago!
    #14
    SassyGritsAL
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 15:18:32 (permalink)
    I too agree w/you about Dreamland. The one here in Huntsville doesn't even compare to the one in Tuscaloosa, AL.
    #15
    seafarer john
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/08 17:51:18 (permalink)



    ribdog: We'll be in St Pete 1/15 - 2/15 - on Treasure Island and then up in the NE. 

    Do you have any new joints we should visit  for seafood, BBQ, or anything else that is good and new to us?

    BTW: After all the years we've been going to ST Pete we stumbled one day last year upon that great old Italian deli/ wine shop , Mazzarro's - what a great find. Also found a great place for oysters in Kenneth City - fresh from Apalacacola for $15/ 4 dozen. 

    Cheers, John 
    #16
    tinkergold
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/11 15:59:55 (permalink)
    I, too, had a not so good experience at Wentzell's at Spanish Fort, Ala. when heading West on I-10 2 weeks ago.  on return trip East, i stopped at "Oysterella's" which is just East of the tunnel and on Battleship Parkway.  The raw oysters were devine! clean, salty & so flavorful!  also husband had shrimp & grits & fried green tomatoes....absolutely perfect & truly 1 of the best shrimp/grits i've ever had (this from a So. Louisiana foodie, too).  waiter's name was "Robbie" & he was wonderful.  the view of Mobile, the Battleship & Bay is spectacular - can't wait to head back that way in May.  will definitely stop there!
    #17
    David_NYC
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/01/11 21:02:14 (permalink)
    I've been to the original Wintzell's in Mobile twice, and had the charcoal-grilled oysters twice - excellent both times.

    A quick web search indicates the franchised Huntsville restaurant only opened on December 15th, 2009. Perhaps the Sunday night crew is still "green." Hopefully, things get better.
    #18
    fork and knife
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/05 17:35:00 (permalink)
    Sassy,
     
    I would like to ask you how many times have you been there? I have been several times and never have had an issue!  Even  with larger groups, it's been a pleasant experience.  Hopefully, if it was your first time, that you will give it another shot and it is great for you!  If so, will you please post it!  The reason I ask is that most of the time we only hear the negative and never the positive in a restaurant experience!
     
    Thanks
    #19
    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/05 18:46:48 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    I agree with everyone else. I enjoyed my visit to to the original Wintzell's. I do remember , however not being overly impressed with the hushpuppies. Too much spice and not enough flavor.


    I'm possibly a bit late to this discussion, but I was able to eat the one of the locations in Mobile (the one on Airport Boulevard) last month on a trip.  I had the grilled tilapia during one of my spasms of trying to eat more healthily, and I thought it was very good.  I also had the hushpuppies and thought they had a very good flavor and were not overly spiced, but were not the flavorless hunks of cornmeal you find at some places.  What was interesting was that hushpuppies only came with the fried entrees (including the tilapia) but not with the grilled entrees.  I paid $2.00 for a plate of hushpuppies and thought they were well worth the price.  Sorry to hear that some locations are not doing as good a job as the original place.
    #20
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/06 11:12:55 (permalink)
    fork and knife
    The reason I ask is that most of the time we only hear the negative and never the positive in a restaurant experience!


    Welcome to Roadfood, fork and knife

    I think you'll almost find the opposite of what you say around these fora.  For most of the threads posted in the Road Trips section and the Meet-and-Eat section, which is where you will find a lot of the user-generated informal reviews, you'll see that most places discussed are places that folks WOULD recommend to others.  For me, when writing my own reviews/reports/etc. (you know...when I actually do that!), it almost seems impossible that I could think so highly of so many places.  Fortunately, with this web site as a resource, I tend to limit my bad dining experiences while on the road.
    #21
    David_NYC
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/06 12:28:58 (permalink)
    Welcome, fork and knife.

    SassyGrits said in her review above that she did not think she would be going back to the Huntsville Wintzell's, so she probably only went one time. There have not been any other formal reviews here on RF about the new Huntsville location. The Huntsville Times, which Sassy Grits wrote about as a source of reliable reviews for Huntsville area places, does not seem to have posted a review of the food yet on their web site (though their blog indicated a review was to be published in their Go! magazine on January 14th.) SassyGrits also was the first one to have posted (on December 16th, 2009 in the News section) that the new Huntsville location was open.

    Besides being covered in guide books, Wintzell's restaurants in Mobile and Guntersville have received positive reviews  in the Restaurants section here on RF. The roadfooddigest section also has a few posts about the franchised Wintzell's:
    http://www.roadfooddigest.com/?tag=/wintzell's+oyster+house

    This site is not  like yelp, where when the AP 'odd news' wire carries a story about a restaurant, 200 crackpots post ridiculous tales on that restaurant's review page. I think most of the regular posters here understand the significance of posting a legitimate bad review.

    Like many of the other posters here, I have found that the franchised locations of a noteworthy restaurant are sometimes not as good as the original. The challenge for the franchisee is to get the quality level equal (or almost equal) to that of the original.
    post edited by David_NYC - 2010/02/06 14:30:23
    #22
    Born in OKC
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/11 02:35:39 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    Of the three Dreamland BBQs I have visited, the only one I liked was the original in Tuscaloosa.  The ones in Birmingham and Mobile were disappointments to me.

     
    There is also a Dreamland in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta and it is pretty decent, in fact, probably my favorite nearby  BBQ at present.  (See my comments under the Dickey's thread in BBQ about one bad franchise near me.
     
    I've only eaten at the original Wentzel's in Mobile and most recently last November.  No complaints there!

    #23
    mbrookes
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/02/11 14:10:57 (permalink)
    I have not been to the Wentzel's in Hattiesburg, MS, but my husband went and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, we plan to eat there next time we are in Hattiesburg.
     
    The story about Doe's in Oxford was correct. It was doing great business and always crowded. The site owners wanted to go upscale and opened a yuppie-do-da place that I hear is not nearly as good as Doe's was. 
    #24
    bobthomas18
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/06 23:56:12 (permalink)
    I spent last weekend in Huntsville and checked Roadfood to determine where to eat Saturday night.   I was prepared to drive to Wentzel's in Guntersville & saw the Huntsville Wentzel's after driving only a mile or so from the hotel.  I stopped & ate there. I had fried oysters & fried green tomatoes. I thought they were great. I liked them so much in fact that I took my daughter,son-in-law & 9 year old grandson there for lunch Sunday. (They missed Saturday nite because they were at Space Camp.)  I shared fried green tomatoes with daughter & her husband. I had fried oyster & fried soft crab combo with a salad. It was all good. Son-in-law didn't like the slaw that came with his meal but it looked good to me. I'm trying to expose the grandson to non kids' meal type food & he's learned to really like steamed crab. Wentzel's had fried or sauteed crab claws on the menu. We tried to convince the grandson to try them that way but he didn't want to. With no prompting from any of us the waiter suggested that he'd see if he could have them steamed. He got them steamed & enjoyed them. I sampled them & they were good too.  This the first time I've ever been in Alabama but if I go again & I'm near any Wentzel's, I'll go again.
    #25
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/09 12:23:18 (permalink)
    I have only been to the Wentzel's in Mobile.  I have been there four times and never ever have I been dissapointed.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #26
    BelleReve
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/18 11:36:23 (permalink)
    A few years back, I went with a tour group from NOLA to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit then later we all ate at Wenzel's in Mobile, and it was great.  The food was very good and and the staff was very friendly and accomodating (about 40 of us).  We had several choices as part of the tour package, mostly fried seafood, when I added on their signature West Indies crab salad I'd heard so much about, and thought was excellent.  Though I paid for the additional salad, I was impressed by their waitress who refused a tip, saying the group had already included a gratuity for her.
     
     
    #27
    oDey in LA
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/21 11:42:28 (permalink)
    Wintzell's Oyster House (PENSACOLA)
     
    Is presently scheduled to open by the end of May in PNS. The location was formerly Copeland's which has been closed for some time. Renovations/Decorations now in progress to resemble the other ones. Located on Chase Street near McQuires across from the Civic Center parting lot....
     
    I will give them at least 30 days to get their act together then give it a try.  In the meantime I will make it often to Jerry's Cajun Rest... North 9th Ave for some of the best around . I hope to take the pics and post something soon on Jerry's. Jerry is a fine business man and is revered in Pensacola. NOLA's loss is our gain... 
    #28
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/21 13:39:33 (permalink)
    mbrookes
    The story about Doe's in Oxford was correct. It was doing great business and always crowded. The site owners wanted to go upscale and opened a yuppie-do-da place that I hear is not nearly as good as Doe's was. 
    Can you imagine getting rid of a Doe's for something else?  What a huge mistake!

    #29
    Lizzieslulu
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    Re:Disappointed at Wentzel's Oyster House Restaurant 2010/04/21 16:35:56 (permalink)
    Has anyone tried the Wentzel's in Montgomery, AL? It opened last fall.
    #30
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