Mayhem Returns…Review of Margaritaville in Cleveland.

First of all, Mayhem is BACK!!! Hopefully for good, but only time will tell. Sadly, my return is a bit more sour than I would have liked. Tonight, my family and I went out for a nice family dinner. Or at least, that was the plan.

Location: Margaritaville Cleveland

Margaritaville is located in the Flats district in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

Rating: 1/10

Now I will not say that I am a renowned Food Critic, but I will say that I know good food when I see (taste) it. This was not the case. Lets walk through my experience in this “not so paradise” restaurant.

My family and I arrived at what you would think would be a peak dinner rush (approx. 5:30pm). We expected it to be much busier. Much to our surprise, we were seated right away, since there were only 3 tables filled. The first negative event, was we were seated as far away from civilization as possible. There was a small group of people seated at some tables closer to the bar, which was at least 50-75 feet from where we were placed. There was nobody else near us.

After being seated, we were handed some menus, and a strange kids menu that was on a postcard-like card. They didn’t even have crayons and activities, they gave my daughter some weird bendy wax sticks to play with. It took approximately 10-15 minutes for A server to arrive at our table to ask if we’d been helped. She took my daughter’s drink order first, then left to go fill a glass of Coca-Cola. Mind you, she didn’t get a drink order from Me, My Wife, or my Father-in-Law.  Upon returning, she took our orders, which was another Coca-Cola, a water, and a cup of coffee. She then took our orders, which were a kid’s burger, and THREE Jammin’ Jimmy’s Jambalayas, and an appetizer of the Volcano Nachos.  She returned with the water and the Coca-Cola quickly, then left again. About ten more minutes go by, No Coffee. Finally she arrived with the Nachos, and the coffee. Along with the coffee was sugar substitutes and creamer. She came back a few minutes later to check, and then went to go get sugar. She arrived with the sugar, when she

Jammin’ Jimmy’s Jambalaya courtesy of

brought the kids meal. The manager then came out with three bowls, and said “I believe these are your’s” and set them down in front of us. In these bowls, was some white rice and sausage and shrimp. We were stunned, we thought we were given the wrong order until we took a bite.

Before I continue, if you don’t know what Jambalaya is, it is a Cajun dish that is supposed to be spicy, made with Andouille sausage, Chicken, and Shrimp. My motto is “If you don’t sweat, it isn’t Jambalaya.”

This was not Jambalaya. There was no chicken, there was what I believe was Summer Sausage, and Shrimp. The rice, which should have been red in color, was white, and there was NO HEAT. My father-in-law’s bowl was cold. Mine was at least warm, but not

Jammin’ Jimmy’s Jambalaya served by Cleveland’s Margaritaville (half eaten)
spicy at all. The shrimp was tasteless, and instead of chicken, there was another (possibly Italian) sausage added.

We brought this to the attention of the Manager. First off all, it took about ten minutes (again), for him to arrive after we complained. We were hungry, so we ate. When he arrived, he saw the mostly empty plates, and offered to make us something else. Then he began to make several excuses as to why the Jambalaya was not spicy, stating “We JUST changed our recipe two days ago.” and “We have 49 restaurants, we can’t be spicy.” We asked for a discount, and he went away.

NOW…Mind you, my wife has been to Margaritaville in Las Vegas. The Jambalaya was spicy, red, and good. Very different than what was served to us. Not to mention, a Television Monitor near the door depicts a meal similar to what my wife had in Vegas. When we asked the manager about the difference, he referred back to the recipe excuse.

When the check came out to the table, the total was $72 dollars. This was WITH a $22

What Jambalaya should look like. Picture taken at Buzzard Billy’s in Waco Texas.

discount for the “Not Spicy Enough” Jambalayas. Immediately we confronted the manager again about the lackluster attempt to make this situation right. After arguing for another five minutes, and showing him a picture of what a REAL Jambalaya is supposed to look like, he comp’d the meals.

If you are looking for a good restaurant in Cleveland, stay away from Margaritaville. The place is too big for it’s own britches. It doesn’t live up to the hype, and the food is misrepresented. I venture to think that Jimmy Buffet would be disappointed to know his name is associated with this place. And to think, I thought the Browns were the “mistake by the lake”.


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