Tonight’s adventure was decided by the word gingerbread.

There’s a fun sentence I’m sure few others in the world are able to honestly utter.

So as we were discussing via group text the options for tonight, there were several options on the table, but it was Ted’s mention that the Lab Rat draft at R Shea’s was “something that involved gingerbread.” OK, that’s intriguing. So I looked up their Facebook page and discovered the real name of the beer was “Nutella Stuffed Gingerbread Deep Dish Cookie.”

Well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I mean, with a name like that it’s either going to be amazingly delicious … or amazingly horrendous. There will be no middle ground.

Spoiler alert: it’s the former. But I only know that from one sip. More on that in a minute.

We were a bit concerned about getting a table – because the Valley location is about the size of one floor of my house, and every time we drive by it’s pretty obvious the place is pretty popular. So Ted headed over directly from work so as to get in and get a seat. Which he was successful in doing.

He was also successful in getting a glass of the Lab Rat. Shane and I, not so much. We sat down, our server comes right over, we ask for it … and are greeted with the news that it just tapped out.


This is our luck, friends. We can’t win the lottery, unless it’s the “sorry-we-just-ran-out-of-the-really-great-tasting-beer-we-only-make-a-small-amount-of-and-it’s-not-on-the-regular-menu-or-always-available” lottery.

I have to believe there really is such a thing. Because it happens to us more often that I like to admit.

Instead we settled for one sip of Ted’s delicious beer, just to confirm that yep, we really would’ve enjoyed a whole glass of that. Then I got a glass of the Snicker Dude, and Shane got the Peppermint Milk Stout Nitro.

Fancy glasses all around

I guess in retrospect we should’ve had a feeling this night would be a bit of a crapshoot after that beginning. Hindsight.

Because after we got our first round of drinks, it took a hot minute for the server to come back over to take our food order. Shane filled his time by playing the alphabet song trying to remember the name of the sandwich he used to order that he didn’t see on the menu anymore.

Fast forward to about 20 minutes after we finally placed our orders, when it came to him that it was called the Boxty. He yelled it out in the middle of our conversation like a prize winner on a game show. Or someone with sandwich name related Turretts.

His actual sandwich on this evening was the Angry Pig.

Ted ordered the Cuban.

Yes there’s a reason it’s in the box. We’ll get to that in a minute.

I ordered the Italian sub.

We also got the pretzels with beer cheese and clearly we were hungry when it arrived.

That really was a full plate of pretzels when it came to our table. Trust us.

So we order, we drink … and the pretzels show up … and then mine and Shane’s food arrives. And we started picking at it. And by picking at it I mean Shane ate all of his chips and half of his sandwich, while I ate my chips.

And we realize Ted still doesn’t have his food. Which is weird, because, well, we all put our orders in at the same time. And we’re all sitting at the same table.

Cue flashbacks of the times we went to places like that diviest of dive bars in Rittman where the food in each of our individual orders was delivered from the kitchen in hour long increments. Because who doesn’t love a 4-hour dining experience at a place serving $1 cans of beer?

So yeah, by the time it was all Sadi and done, Shane and I had eaten most of our meals and yet there was still no food for Ted. And before you think we’re giant jackasses, we offered him to eat half of our sandwiches, and chips, and pretzel. He declined and told us to eat. I think Shane and I were more concerned with where Ted’s food was than Ted was.

Which kind of makes me wonder what might be in that amazing gingerbread beer that suppresses appetites, but that’s neither here nor there.

Of course as this is all unfolding we’re also trying to grab our server to let her know we’re missing an entire meal at our table, but she must’ve taken the world’s longest smoke break or been elected to make a run to the store – maybe for the ingredients to get Ted’s Cuban? – because there was no sign of her. For the entire time it took me and Shane to eat our meals. Which also means we were up for drink refills as well.

And before you assume she had a table on the other side of the restaurant, one glance around told us that most of the place – which was full when we arrived – had cleared out.

We finally interrupted another server from her part time job of flirting with the table of guys near us, and asked her about both Ted’s order, and also the potential kidnapping of our server.

And so began the 20 Questions of “wait, what did you order,” and “what did the others at your table order,” and “oh wait didn’t you order a Turkey Club?” (he didn’t). Our server eventually resurfaced (she’s alive!), only to use her excellent detective skills to deduce that she had put the sandwich in as a Turkey club instead of a Cuban! OK, wonderful, but like – was it an “invisible” Turkey club? Because even if she entered that into the system, well that sandwich somehow never made it to table either.

So now we have two missing sandwiches, and a still unfed Ted. I sure hope our server’s absence wasn’t to study for an upcoming math test, because this word problem is a toughy.

At this point, as we were pretty much about ready to just finish our beers and leave. Ted actually told the server to never mind the food and just take it off his order. Which apparently are the magic words, because not two minutes later someone from the kitchen shows up with a Cuban in a to go box! Ta-Da!

According to the kitchen staff, they said that as soon as they started talking about the “lost order” – well, they started making it.

The plot thickens.

In any case, Ted decided to just eat the sandwich since it was there, and, well, quite frankly when you’ve had as much beer as we’d had by this point you do kind of need to think about putting some real food in your system too.

I mean, we had to amuse ourselves somehow

I think we managed to try pretty much most of the different beers on the menu between the three of us.

So yeah, not the best night at R Shea’s. Which is disappointing, because usually we have much better service and overall a better experience when visiting there. The beer and food was still good – but it’s hard to forgive the exemption of an entire meal, and a server who never comes back to check on us and can’t be found for a good portion of our visit for us to even voice our concerns.

All this to say, I’m sure the next time there’s an amazing sounding Lab Rat on tap we’ll still come in to check it out … but we may just plan to come early a s get a glass, then eat dinner elsewhere.