I already know what you're thinking, these two restaurants are completely different. Yes I know, that is why I think it will be fun to compare them, especially because I went to them on back to back days. And if nothing else, I think it will really show you what type of eater I am.
(Joe's Diner on Sycamore)
I went to Joe's Diner on Sycamore two days ago for lunch and then I went to Senate today for lunch. Joe's Diner just opened up after being closed down since 2007 (even though their grand opening isn't till August 10th, so the menu might change by then). I think it use to just be called The Diner or something like that. When I walked into the Joe's I was greeted with a friendly smile and was told to sit wherever I wanted. When I walked into Senate I felt out of place right away and was greeted with a straight faced, pretend to be fancy waiter (who even tried saying the word Poutine fancy by mispronouncing it). I was sat right next to another table (seriously within a foot from them even though there were 4 more tables down the row we could have easily sat).
At Joe's I went with their normal burger which ended up being a double and served with a side of onion rings (or fries) all for $5.50. At Senate I ordered the Trailer Park which was a hot dog, a piece of bacon, American cheese and crushed Grippo chips (it sounds like something I would make at home) with no sides and was $9. The burger was a very good diner style burger. It wasn't too thick but was very juicy and filling. The onion rings were some of the best I had ever had and I even topped the burger with two of them.
The hot dog on the other hand was nothing more than a hot dog. I was hoping for $9 that the hot dog would taste better than any other hot dog I had eaten before, but that wasn't the case. It just tasted like a normal hot dog with thick skin. The bacon was very chewy and the American cheese was, well, American cheese. I wish I could have the rest of the Grippos chips that they had left over from my bag that they crumbled since that was the best part of the meal (I love me some BBQ Grippos).
At Joe's I was asked by multiple people how my meal was and was encouraged to not be a stranger when I was checking out. They did a great job at making me feel comfortable and welcome even though it was my first time there. At Senate I did not feel welcome and I don't think I saw anyone who worked there smile the entire time I was there. I even had to ask for ice because the water jug they bring out to the table was room temperature. Maybe that was part of the upscale restaurant vibe they were going for, but I like my water cold.
I just don't get why anyone would ever return to Senate, I would honestly like to hear from a frequent customer of Senate to tell me what I am missing. I just couldn't refer someone to go pay over $10 for a hot dog and a glass of water. This restaurant probably won't be going anywhere anytime soon though because they make a 1000% profit for every meal they make. Obviously it isn't my type of of a place and I get that, but what am I missing? I mean the Poutine was good, but for $10? It is fries, cheese, gravy and a little meat.
Obviously I am more of a diner type than a fancy restaurant, but Senate sells hot dogs, you can't be that nice when you sell hot dogs. So if you want my opinion since that is all this is, I would recommend checking out Joe's Diner on Sycamore and avoiding Senate all together. Let my expensive lunch be your warning.