Very few restaurants in Accra get the meaning of the slang “the WOW factor”, like really few get it. Potbelly Shack gets it when it comes to creating a never-seen-before interior & exterior theme based on the old American western town wooden building. But that’s where it ends. The WOW factor is visibly missing in the service delivery of the very recently launched BBQ shack which literally is located behind the chaos of a local car wash and tyre hustle.
The shack is as rustic as the word itself giving diners a tiny glimpse into the vintage vignetted wild west of old saloons and jailhouses. An exceptional interior which raises a diner’s expectation of excellent dining from a generous and witty menu.
A simple yet wonderfully well-designed also rustic outdoors is a perfect setting for private events and meet-ups over Jack Daniels and spicy wings.
We walked in with optimism and eager hearts asking first if we could pay with visa and a disappointing no sent us out in five seconds to go search for the nearest ATM. We returned and were seated right across from the bar. The wooden bench-styled seating of the restaurant gave it a casual-jeans night atmosphere. I wasn’t out of place.
Personally I choose from a menu anything which screams from the menu pages, ‘try me!’ It must be the kind of offering I have never had in any restaurant in the city but nothing drew me in. Chicken or
batwings looked interesting but at GHC3.50 for each wing I took a pass. Hotdogs for dinner? No please. It was my birthday dinner also so something special had to happen. We finally decided to try the Potbelly Special pizza which looked really special and packing all the good bits as expected in a fully-loaded pizza. Pizza as a birthday dinner ? 🤷🏾♀️ I took a risk.
I place my order for a particular cocktail whose name has escaped me but why wouldn’t it when there’s a copious number of cocktails to choose from. After five minutes, the waiter comes back to say a particular cocktail ingredient isn’t available. I sigh deeply. A restaurant which just opened two weeks ago? I switch to a Cosmopolitan cocktail which was GHC20 like most cocktails on the drinks menu. That should be easy. whilst hubby went for something more exciting and audaciously called Comfortable Lead. We watched the “mixologist” go behind the bar to make our cocktails only to interestingly see her flip through the menu to check on the ingredients for the cocktail. Aren’t mixologists supposed to know their cocktail mixing trade by heart? I almost died when she placed a sample on the back of her hand to taste, just like Julia Child would do for her Boeuf Bourguignon.
The evening was ambiance was lightly mixed with soul classics droning from overhead speakers. The Cosmopolitan finally came and bathed my palate in something resembling more lemon juice than cranberry, triple sec, vodka and sweetened lemon juice. I then realised the lemon garnish had fallen in when it was served. Ouch!
Our conversation switched from interior design to the lacklustre themes of most restaurants in Accra. Twenty minutes later I was drowsy, most probably from the cocktail and the long wait. Our waiter came to assure us that our food was on the way. Ten minutes later nothing.
Thirty something good minutes before our pizza arrived. By then, I was too hungry to admire it. The melted cheese was strongly noticeable though and perhaps to appease the ‘dining gods’ our topping was stacked generously high. The slightly thin crust lightly browned but lacked the wood-fired oven flavour I terribly miss. It was a hot steaming pizza though for which we were both thankful.
A good enough pizza but worth the wait? Not really and not in my books of best pizza in Accra. At GHC 50, it was quite generous on toppings.
It was almost 11pm when we left. It was obvious that the restaurant still got lots of work to do on building an efficient food processing system and perhaps shouldn’t have opened just yet? Understaffed? Possibly.
I was a little not-to-surprised that others had had similar terrible service experience which they shared on the restaurant’s Instagram page.
We almost didn’t believe that the waitress/mixologist laughed when narrating to her colleague that a recent customer who just left said their service was terrible. She laughed oh!
A memorable night it nevertheless was giving us something to talk about for the next two days. Potbelly has been opened for less than two months only and hopefully the problems are teething. Let’s wait and see.
THE KUMODZI RESTAURANT RATING ⭐
The Kumodzi Restaurant Rating Guide:
* ⭐ is a restaurant which is spotless, very affordable, basic amenities in place, food is just okay, service is average.
*⭐⭐ – Above average hygiene conditions, polite and reliable service, staff are responsive, basic amenities, food is exciting and tasty with wider variety, affordable, mobile money payment options, family and group friendly.
*⭐⭐⭐ – Worth driving to and trying everything on the menu. Reliable and responsive service from staff, family and group friendly environment, online payment options available, parking services, easy access to location.
*⭐⭐⭐⭐- Exceptional and well presented food, outstanding and flawless service from staff, executive space for VIP services, seamless online payment options.
*⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Flawless and outstanding food and service offerings. Diner focused and awareness of allergies and wine preferences. Menu offers vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian offerings.