The Feed Store

Today I had lunch at a restaurant I have never eaten at before – The Feed Store, in downtown Springfield.  Was it good? Meh.  The sandwhich I had wasn’t anything that I couldn’t make at home, I’ll leave it at that.

What did turn me off was their lack of adherance to what I’ll call Restaurant Protocol.  I’ll explain.  A friend and I got in line behind a few other customers and waited our turn.  The first protocol deviation came with the orders being taken in the line and not up at a counter, register, or at the table.   In fact, while the counter did exist, its only purposed seemed to be to barricade the workers into the kitchen.  Poor workers.

Next, when it was our turn to order, what I did not realize was that “our turn” was supposed to entail knowing what we wanted to eat without having ever been there before, or having looked at a menu.  The waitress looked and sounded confused when we asked for a menu and more time to figure out what to eat.  It felt like we had screwed up some secret Feed Store Handshake.  So she handed us a pair of menus and ackwardly tried to figure out where we should stand while she took the next customer’s order.  It very much felt like this situation had never arisen and they just didn’t know what to do – I mean who goes to a restaurant and not know what they’re going to get!?

We later place our order, and then she explains how we get our food… get this – we each received a slip of paper with a serial number on it, were told where to sit, and were then instructed to listen for our number to be called, and upon hearing it, raise our hands.  Raise our hands?! Since when are the little numbers that sit on your table insufficient?  No, that would be too normal!  Instead, don’t try to have a conversation while you’re waiting for your food lest you’ll never hear your sacred number being called by the woman at the front of the noisy restaurant.  I failed, and missed my number being called.  Damn you, Feed Store.

I think the only worse method for distributing the food would be to just pass the plates from table to table until it gets to the person that ordered it – beer at a baseball game.

So I give The Feed Store a failing mark.  The food was ok, but you’ve got to stick with the protocol unless your food is amazing; otherwise it will just feel like you’re eating in the Twilight Zone.  I’ll stick to Monty’s, Jimmie John’s, Head West, and even Subway.





7 responses to “The Feed Store”

  1. Mark Avatar

    Ok, the name is the FEED STORE; what exactly did you have in mind? I pictured bales of hay and a trough before the first time I went there..


  2. EJ Avatar

    Well since it’s a RESTAURANT in the UNITED STATES, I figured I would use prior restaurant experience to navigate the unfamiliar territory.

    I was wrong 🙂


  3. Marie Avatar

    I like the pickle spear and orange wedge that come with the sandwiches. However, I don’t recommend buying a sandwich just to get the pickle and orange. What I really like is their cheesecake. That’s very good. I don’t know how they stayed in business for 25 years.


  4. Kathy at Avatar

    Sorry that you did not have a good experience at the Feed Store. I work on the Old State Capitol Plaza and am a frequent patron of this restaurant. The place is always packed with regulars working downtown who know exactly what they want to eat. I generally place an order by telephone and then go pick it up because the place is nuts during lunchtime. Their cold sandwiches are so-so, however I think their chicken salad is pretty good. Their soup is their best offering in my opinion, all varieties are excellent. And their desserts are, well, they are the icing on the cake after a hot bowl of soup! I can see based on their strange operation how a newbie would be confused. They are trying to move people through there too quickly without much concern for patrons happiness and comfort. It’s not the place to have a relaxing lunch, that’s for sure, but I love it for take out!


  5. EJ Avatar

    Kathy, my wife said the same thing about the soup. She basically wouldn’t accept my complaints about the restaurant because I didn’t try the soup 🙂

    I didn’t really have high expectations going in, and I’m not seriously complaining about the food; based on how many people go there, I figured the simple cold sandwich I had wasn’t their forte.

    Thanks for visiting!


  6. John Avatar

    I think the Feed Store is the most overrated restaurant in Springfield. I agree with you on all points, Eric. I always think the food there is more akin to what you’d be served in a cafeteria in a large state building than in a restaurant. And I think that matches how the restaurant operates. It’s really a glorified cafeteria, but unfortunately your choices are pretty limited to poor sandwiches and okay soup.

    The soup is only so good. I’ve eaten at the Feed Store several times, always thinking, “Oh it has to be better than I think it is.” But it isn’t. I certainly wouldn’t cross the street to get a bowl of their soup.


  7. Sally Avatar

    Sorry you were disappointed. The Feed Store is one of my favorite lunch spots. The menu is on the wall as you walk in. The soup is so good I’ve bought gallons for a christmas party. The Wisconsin Cheese is yummy. The sandwiches surpass the peanut butter I get at home, and the pickle & orange are always crisp. Give ’em another try!


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