Lillypad Kitchen (Billie Frogg's)
Confused…that’s the word that best describes our experience at Lillypad Kitchen/Billie Frogg’s. I was invited out to the establishment through an Instagram message and all the photos of the food looked delicious so I agreed to go. Life had gotten busy, but I had given my word that I would visit before the end of 2019. I continued to interact with the page on Instagram and touch base to keep communication going. I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a date night with my wife. My wife has a dairy allergy so she wanted to look up the menu ahead of time to see what she would be able to eat.
After looking up the menu she mentioned that the reviews were not very positive and I could tell that she was a bit hesitant. I let her know that I too had seen the reviews, but wanted to give them a chance. Aside from the reviews, it the content that we saw was confusing when going from the website, to Instagram to Facebook. You wouldn’t know that you were looking at the same place. Instagram had bright and colorful photos that really sparked interest in seeing what things were all about. We got our daughters pizza from Sam’s Club and headed downtown to the 12th & Howard location.
For the life of me I couldn’t place Billie Frogg’s in my head, but once we got down there it fired back into my memory right away. I’m not sure why I was having such a hard to remembering the location. We walk to the front of the building and I’m like, “oh yeah, I’ve been here before.” It was years ago and it made sense why I was unable to recall it. We walk in and it wasn’t clear if we were supposed to seat ourselves or wait to be seated.
This is where we start to realize that maybe the reviews weren’t too far off. We made eye contact with the waitress, but she didn’t speak and actually looked like she may have wanted to avoid us. My wife and I look at each other as if we were thinking the same thing, “WTF?!” We go find a seat towards the front of the place and sit for a couple of minutes waiting. There were no menus on the table and no one came to check on us. My wife asks a couple that are sitting at another table if they had to go to the bar to order their drinks. They said that they didn’t know if you “had to”, but that they did go up to order. I go to order and wait a couple of minutes at the bar. The bartender was helping a couple of people at the bar and having conversation; something that is not unusual for a bar. It did bug me slightly since we had already been waiting and it didn’t seem that he was in any kind of a hurry to help me. I do order drinks and give my card to start a tab. I then ask for a couple of menus and he did provide them.
I go sit down and tell my wife about waiting at the bar. The young lady that we made eye contact with earlier did make her way over to us to greet us. We had a couple of questions about the menu items and she didn’t seem to be too excited about helping us, but she was okay. One of the questions that we asked was about the vegan options because with the allergy issue we know that vegan is the easiest way to know if something is okay to eat. She let us know that it was mostly salads that would fit that. She did bring us a separate smaller menu that did have other options and specials. She mentioned that they had buffalo cauliflower and she caught my attention because I had been wanting buffalo cauliflower since my last trip down to K.C. when we stopped at Q39 and theirs was sooooo good! It was unclear if there were two separate cauliflower options as the menu said something like Buffalo Style on one line and Mango Habanero on another line. The waitress thought that they were separate so I went ahead and ordered them. My wife had a couple of questions and about the onion rings and seafood items, but it didn’t seem like she knew for sure. She said that she thought something to be true, however, to our knowledge she didn’t go and ask. Not a deal breaker, but not very encouraging.
We took a few minutes to look over the menu to decide. My wife had noticed the 8oz steak on the website and thought it sounded good. The only issue here is that the website said $13, but the menu that we had said $16.95. She didn’t want to spend that at a bar because we weren’t sure what quality she would be getting. Since that was the case she decided to just go with a burger. She went with the ¼ lb Billy Burger for $6.75 and that is a good deal as fries were included. I opted for the ½ lb BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger for $10.50 and that is still pretty reasonable in my opinion.
The food arrives! This often is the best time of a dinner as your anticipation is at the highest level. Everything looks amazing, but again there was one slight issue. The Buffalo Cauliflower that I mentioned earlier was only one item, meaning that they were Mango Habanero that were prepared the in a Buffalo Style. I probably would never order anything Mango Habanero just because that doesn’t really sound good to me. I don’t want to cause an issue so I accept the order. We requested condiments for the meal and then waited for our waitress to bring them back. Then we noticed that we didn’t have silverware or napkins at the table and we asked for those as well.
I got my silverware and now it’s time to dig in. Of course I start with the cauliflower as it is the appetizer. They have this nice exterior crust that gave it an extra little crunch and the flavor was good. I do like spicy, but it was a little more than I would typically go for and since my wife couldn’t eat them I had the responsibility of eating the whole bunch. I sniffled a little as I powered through them to the end. I’d get them again if they were just buffalo flavor.
The star of the show was most certainly the burgers. Thick and juicy burgers with grilled onions, tomato and pickle. My wife made a point to mention multiple times that she enjoyed the onion. Yes, this is what our visit is about. If the rest of the visit was up to par with the food this review would be a totally different story. This is what I expected when looking at the photos on Instagram. It was funny because my wife was having some problem with her tastes buds that resulted in her not being able to taste the salt that was on the French fries. She added more and more and no change. That was her only complaint about the actual food which turns out to be her issue. Haha. My fries tasted fine, had the right amount of salt and flavor.
Food great, service meh.
Not so simply stated:
This is where it makes the review tough because I grade the whole experience that we have when we eat. Let me start with the bad and then the good. Given the reviews that we read prior to going and our experience I would be less inclined to return. I didn’t even mention that there was a group that came in as we were eating and they left before ordering because no one checked on them. This cannot and should not happen when you are a small business trying to survive. Especially, when you are in a high traffic area like the Old Market where there are plenty of good alternatives for dining or drinking. Our waitress was not rude or anything like that, but the overall appearance was an uninspiring performance that lacked interest.
The good is that the food did not disappoint! If the kitchen can find a way to separate themselves from the bar I think that it will go a long way in the success of their business. I’d be more than happy to try more menu options under different circumstances. Really great food!
Lillypad Kitchen, I’m going to tag you and message you when this review is available to the public. It kills me to know that you have such a great product, but some people may not experience it because of the lack of service. Keep doing what you are doing in the kitchen and hopefully the front end kinks will get worked out. I think the back end is set!
The whole evening the question that kept popping into my head was can good food outweigh bad service? I even asked my wife a couple times throughout the night. The answer is, No. At least I don’t think so. As I sit here writing this I asked her if she would go back and she said probably not. She might go if it were someone else’s idea, but she would not go back on her own accord.
My belly aches for this review/rating.
I give Lillypad Kitchen 2 Fatties! Have you been? If so, what do you think?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on food. You are amazing!