Tom’s in Sackville is a Terrible Choice

Visited In: August 23, 2012
Gluten Free Menu: No
Server Knowledge:
Server Attitude:
Variety of Gluten-Free Options:
Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating:
Price Range: $9.99-$19.99, plus drinks, tax, and tip

Michael and I have been trying to go to as many local places as possible in the year and a bit since we moved to Sackville. One of the last places on our list was Tom’s Family Restaurant on Sackville Drive. Most people we’d talked to weren’t a fan, but it has also been voted best restaurant in Sackville for the fifth year in a row by Coast readers. We figured it was time to give it a try.

We walked in the door on a Thursday night and it was complete mayhem. The entryway isn’t very big, and there were about 20 people waiting to pay, get a table, or pick up takeout, plus servers trying to navigate through the crowd. There was zero organization and no one greeted us, so I wasn’t sure if we were even in line for a table. Miraculously, a server noticed that we were waiting for a table and seated us. (Well, I sat down after brushing remnants of mashed potatoes off of the booth seat. Gross!)

We looked over the giant food menu and I identified a few things that I was going to ask about. We waited quite a while for a server to come get our drink orders, and it seemed even longer with two toddlers screaming their lungs out behind us. (I can’t blame them, given the quality of the food they were probably eating.) I ordered a glass of Lindeman’s Bin 65 ($6.99) while Michael ordered a glass of pop. I then asked our server about gluten-free options. She said she had only been working at Tom’s for a few months and wasn’t sure, but she would ask the chef.

She came back to me with a list of ingredients in the barbeque sauce used on the ribs. (The list included mustard flour, which I can’t see a chef using in a homemade sauce. However, I do know that Kraft BBQ sauce has mustard flour in it, and is indeed gluten-free.) She also said that the salads were gluten-free. There was no mention of anything else gluten-free on the six-page menu, although options like baked salmon, grilled haddock, pork chops, grilled steak, chicken souvlaki, and pan-fried scallops (amongst several others) should have been safe. She was determined that I should have the ribs. (I am not a huge fan of ribs and certainly wasn’t in the mood for them that night. They were also served with French fries and there was no mention of an alternate side dish in case they were not gluten-free.)

I ended up ordering a Caesar salad with chicken ($11.98). She asked me if I wanted calamari on it (which is breaded and not gluten-free) and then followed up with, “No ribs?” I stuck my face in my glass of wine while Michael ordered the ribs and wings platter ($16.99).

Our food took quite a while to arrive, but looked fairly presentable when it was delivered at the table. Michael had a half-rack of ribs, with four honey-garlic wings and French fries on the side. My Caesar salad was a good size with plenty of chicken on top.

Unfortunately, the dishes didn’t live up to their appearance. The chicken on my salad was bland and chewy, and the dressing had a weird, overly sweet taste. (Michael thinks it was possibly too much garlic. I didn’t know there was such a thing!) Although Michael was wowed by the wings, there were too few of them, and he described the ribs as “okay.” The French fries were very dark (usually caused by old, contaminated oil) and soggy. He barely touched them, and I ate less than half of my salad.

I’m not sure where Coast readers ate, but if you’re in Sackville, we’d suggest Angles across the street (review here) or Finbar’s in Bedford (review here). At least there you can get a decent Caesar salad and you won’t have to sit on old mashed potatoes.

Tom’s Family Restaurant
585 Sackville Drive (Lower Sackville)
Web Site:


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