The Highlands Ranch Town Center has gotten a new restaurant - "The Old Blinking Light". Located between Fat Burger and "Lansdowne Arms" Highlands Ranch can now call this the "food strip" or "restaurant mile". Anyway - we were brave and decided to visit this new restaurant to find out who they are and what the food is like. Even before entering the restaurant we were already greeted by a very friendly hostess. Once inside another hostess welcomed us and got us seated.
The restaurant appeared more or less empty - maybe one quarter of the tables were occupied. Please note - we went at a time when other restaurants show fairly busy occupancy and eventually waiting lines. Not so here. "Good for us" we thought - the restaurant is fairly new and maybe not that well-known yet. A waitress came by and took our order for drinks (please note: if you like Coors products, you will not find them in this restaurant). While waiting for the drinks to arrive we checked out the interior design. A mix of maybe Italian, 50's diner, some Japanese, and some other things was our impression. As muss as we like fireplaces in restaurants - having a TV playing a fireplace video is just not our impression of having a fireplace. With today's gas fireplaces be readily available, there are better options to wood fireplaces than a TV.
We checked out the menu to see what kind of food was offered. The menu did not offer a clear direction. There was a mix of Italian, Mexican, BBQ, Steak - but nothing really that would make this restaurant stand out. Prices are very upscale. You either have to settle for a meal around $13.00 or somewhere in the mid-$20s, but not much in the middle. Appetizers were either normally prized or way over-priced. As the options were limited and we did not wanted to go overboard in stretching our spending limits in a restaurant we do not know anything about, we settled for some good, old pizza (we thought) and the Chicken Pot Pie. The pizza we ordered was a Pizza Prosciutto with Melon.
Once we had placed our order a different waiter brought us bread and breadsticks and garlic butter. We were not too impressed with the quality of these. A sign of what to come maybe. Due to the restaurant being only partially filled with patrons, our Pizza aand the Chicken Pot Pie arrived fairly quick. The outer appearance was very good and actually looked appealing. However - the taste was just plain average or below average. You can get better tasting pizza for less in better atmosphere in other places. We finished the meal and paid. Oddly enough there was no customer credit card slip available and we had to "accept" the initial bill as our credit card receipt.
Conclusion: At the current state we will expect that "The blinking Old Light" will have to make significant improvements to survive. It's not the first eatery that failed to find its niche market and to identify a target group of customers. We might be tempted to say it is Tex-Mex, but even that does not match. Just placing a high-priced restaurant in an high-income area does not make it a success. We do not mind the high prices, but if we pay upscale, we expect better food. While the waiters seemed to be motivated and friendly, a little more professionalism or experience would provide a better eating experience. Our impression was low-paid waiters in an upscale eatery. That does not work.
By the way - the "roots" of "The Blinking Light" are in Taos, New Mexico. We looked at the homepage of the original restaurant and it seems like the Highlands Ranch version does not even come close to the original.
Two thumbs down for "The Old Blinking Light" restaurant in Highlands Ranch