Monday, January 2, 2012

Scottie's Smokehouse R.I.P.?

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was playing a lot at Scottie's Smokehouse in Orange, California - so much, in fact, that I made the National Top 100 list for Lunchtime Trivia.

I continued to play at Scottie's Smokehouse in November, including the November 16 12:15 pm PST game. I scored 4429. I didn't know it at the time, but that would be the last game that I would play there.

But it wouldn't be the last game anyone would play there. NTANLN played Lunchtime Trivia on November 23, and regular DDOOWW played Buzztime Trivia on November 26.

Four days later, on November 30, I showed up at Scottie's for lunch, and found the place was closed. I made sure that it wasn't a Tuesday, then drove off to eat at Polly's (which does not have NTN). I thought nothing of it at the time.

I didn't make it down to Scottie's in December because I was very busy on a proposal and couldn't spare the time to drive down to Katella for lunch. And after that proposal shipped, I was on vacation.

On New Year's Day I was reading various Yelp reviews, and ended up looking at the reviews for Scottie's. The average of the reviews is high, but I found myself looking at some of the negative reviews, curious about why they were negative. As I made it through the few one-star reviews and and got to the two-star reviews, I ran across this December 4 review from Cheryl L. in Orange:

Well whatever any of you think about Scotties, good or bad.......They have shut there doors for good as of wed 11/30/2011........packed up in the middle of the night and left........not very professional no wonder you had to shut your doors, Scottie you are great but you need to keep your wife at home she has no business sense......If you open another keep her at home with kid.

I then re-sorted the reviews by date. John K's 12/16 review tipped me off about an Orange County Register article. Fast Food Maven Nancy Luna received an e-mail from Darren Scott. Part of the e-mail read as follows:

After much consideration and reflection, my wife and I have decided to close the restaurant and pursue other interests. Among the factors that influenced our decision, the main one was that we lost sight of what was most important to us. That was, our contact with our friends and guests in the restaurant. We found ourselves dealing with non-food-related issues, instead of talking with our clients, improving our service and food quality. We used to receive a lot of input and suggestions from our guests on a daily basis. That was lost when we moved to the bigger place.

The closure seems to have been without notice. Luna notes that there was an overdue rent sign on the door, indicating the Scott may not have communicated with his landlord. And as of January 1, NTN Buzztime apparently hasn't been informed about the closure either, since I was still able to access competition pages for the venue.

However, a search of the Site Finder reveals a new (to me) NTN Buzztime location, Out of the Park Pizza in Anaheim Hills. Oddly enough, however, as of January 1 no one had played Lunchtime Trivia there. And their website doesn't mention NTN Buzztime at all - not a good sign.

Oh well, there's always TGI Fridays out in Yorba Linda. And I know there's an active group of Lunchtime Trivia players there.