Follow the Cheap Bastard as she scours the city, looking for a good -- or at least non-lethal -- lunch for less than 10 bucks.
Eight old dudes, sitting at a table near the back, had buckets of empty wine and were clearly mid-serious-slurred-conversation when I walked in. Cedars Mediterranean Mezza & Grill (8141 Walnut Hill Lane) is BYOB. I had not seen anyone take advantage of BYOB at lunch on a Tuesday before this day. It was a wonderful sight. I couldn't tell if they were arguing about President Obama or pants with zippers. I don't think they were sure, either. "The zipper broke when I sat down, and these pants are only 20 years old! Thanks, Obama."
I ordered the No. 6 lunch special: pita wrap (beef, chicken or lamb) with relishes, sauce and a Greek salad for $7.99. They handed me one of those numbers on a stick and told me my food would be right out.
At this point, I realized that Cedars offers cheap people the perfect setup: It's order-at-the-counter-and-then-get-all-the-benefits-of-having-a-server-without-being-required-to-tip-a-server time. After you've paid, you sit down and a server comes to your table to ask you what you ordered to drink. He brings you your beverage, your food, and then asks you if you need anything else. You don't, so he leaves.
Five seconds later, after you've had one sip, he comes by to refill it. Awesome.
You begin to test his refill sensitivity. You drink half of your water. He immediately appears and asks if you would like a refill. "No, I'm good," you say, and those three words stab him straight through the heart. The half-full water sitting on your table stings his serving sensibilities like a sharp-poky-jeweled-fist punch to the nut parts. What's next?
Three different servers will appear to ask you if you need more water. They will all be equally pissed when you say you're not in need of more, and that you are, in fact, hydrated.
The restaurant service manual in the office of the restaurant sobs as you insist on keeping that water on your table half full. "Fucking let them refill it! A full glass of water on every table is the one true sign that people here are getting great service! You are hole of ass!" the service manual seems to say. You have ruined his day.
If you like falafel and wraps and salads, go get yourself some for a cheap-ass price at Cedars. And be sure to make it a drunk BYOB grandpa lunch if at all possible.