If the timing isn't right, chaos results. That's why Madry's Dash of Flavor, which has been in its new location at 7510 East 87th Street for only one month, still has a lot of kinks to work out. On its third Sunday in operation, the family-owned restaurant might have renamed itself the Maddening Dash for Flavor. The kitchen was completely unable to keep up with the number of patrons piling into the building.
For nearly ten years, Madry's Dash of Flavor was a popular little home-style buffet at the corner of 39th and Walnut. James and Dorothy Madry moved to the far east side over the summer, reopening October 18 in a former Pizza Hut to which they'd given a tasteful interior makeover.
But the expert kitchen timing and well-trained staff that have made the dining experience at Three Friends or the Peachtree Buffet so pleasant was noticeably absent at the new Madry's, where disorder reigned supreme. The dining room was packed, but the bowl of lettuce on the salad bar sat empty for more than forty minutes. The featured dish of the day -- fried chicken -- was brought out in such small quantities (four or five pieces at a time) that several patrons grew tired of waiting in line and left, even though they had paid in advance for the meal.
I never got a piece of chicken myself, though I did sample the watery macaroni and cheese, some delicious stewed greens and a lukewarm little roll. My friend Debbie raved about a delicious but mysterious concoction sitting at a steam table on the dessert bar. "It's pastry and bananas in caramel sauce, covered with meringue," she said. "One of the best things I've ever eaten." That day at Madry's, it was one of the only things she had eaten.
"It's not easy. We're still trying to get there," Dorothy Madry tells me. "We've been busy ever since we opened, and Sunday's our busiest day."
Busy, yes, but as it says in Deuteronomy VIII, "Man doth not live by bread only." If that's not a divine mandate to keep the buffet tables full, I don't know what is.