We’ve all heard the story about the tortoise and the hare, so there should have been a moment of discernment before I entered The Lazy Turtle Bar and Grill. Located beachfront, this local sea-shanty languishes amid the sand dunes of North Carolina’s Oak Island.
In my opinion, this place is a complete dive, but hey, I’ve been known to frequent dives. I’ve had some really great times in many a ramshackle, hole-in-the-wall. The confluence of a tattered beach shack within earshot of the hypnotic roll of the sea is something I quite enjoy.
Usually, I can overlook things like dark paneled walls, drooping ceiling tiles, stained cement floors and even maneuver my way through dingy, stale trails of cigarette smoke. I’m happy as long as the food is good, the drinks are strong and the service is stellar. Many times what is missing in aesthetics can be made up in charm.
I wish I could say it were so in this case. I probably should have taken the name Lazy Turtle literally, interpreting it to mean that the service will be lazy and slow. In fitting style, I ambled up to the bar, a horseshoe enclave harnessing two brutish women. The bar was not busy by any stretch of the imagination, however it puzzled me as to why my companion and I went unnoticed for a good eight minutes. Finally, a seemingly lethargic woman approached us and sneeringly asked what we wanted to drink. She wasn’t thrilled and I felt like I was inconveniencing her.
To keep things short and sweet, we ordered two shots of Fireball which took ten additional minutes to appear in front of us. As I glanced over at the bottle she poured from, I was almost sure the devil on the logo was frantically pointing to the front door and begging me to release him. Me first, I thought.
I skimmed over the menu and saw the offerings were nothing more than typical, fried bar food and as my mood grew dim, I wasn’t about to wait on a serving of disappointment.
“It could have been an off day” is typically what many would say, and I do understand and appreciate that. However, on my second attempt at the Lazy Turtle I was subjected to pretty much the same contemptuous behavior. I was wondering if somewhere hidden in the kitchen or behind the bar was a sign with the employee’s motto: “Customers…Who Needs ‘Em!?”
So I ask myself the proverbial question: How does a place like this stay in business? There are no redeeming qualities, no exceptional food and no customer-centric service. The only thing that I could gather is that there is an outside patio area with a tremendous view of the beach. I guess that’s my answer, and I guess I expect more. Needless to say, for me, this turtle doesn’t win the race.