Recently, the Crystal Mall has done some updating to bring things around and make the mall They redid the floors (honestly, I liked the brick they exposed when tearing up the floors better then what they put in), changed the location of the play area and information desk, added a nice seating area, some new bathrooms, some new food options and seem to be reworking the stairs/escalators. It is starting to look like some of the nicer malls in the area but I still feel like it has a long way to go. Here is my take on the recent updates -
The Good -
A New Family Restroom/Mother's Room - Located near the new location of the children's play area (by the Christmas Tree Shop), these are priceless to someone like me. In fact, they are so great they have increased my visits to the mall tenfold, simply because I know now I have a safe place to nurse baby#2 (especially since Motherhood moved out) and a small potty for baby #1 to use when before this wasn't an option at all.
Charley's Grilled Subs - Easily the best tasting food in the food court (not hard to do really considering your other options, but still). My husband and I both agreed these were the best Philly cheese steaks we have ever had and the fries were fun and delicious. They have kid's meals as well and Cece really enjoyed her chicken finger meal. The food tasted fresh and somewhat healthy compared to the other options there. Considering there were fresh vegetables, freshly prepared sandwiches and good prices, we will be visiting Charley's often.
Yellowbird Cupcakes - Kudos to the owners of this place. I mean really, where can you go in Waterford to reliably (I know some other places serve cupcakes that are great, but not always on the menu) get a good cupcake chosen from a variety of flavors? No where. And that is why I love this place, because sometimes I just want a cupcake. Adam and I both had the Ooey Gooey Bird, a brown sugar and caramel flavored cupcake, and I sampled the vanilla cake with vanilla frosting at the Mom's Night Out event and both flavors were delicious. Nothing is overly sweet and there is a good balance of cake, frosting, and in some cases filling. At around $3 a cupcake they are a little pricey, but I guess that is just supply and demand. They also have great take out containers so you can bring your beautiful cupcakes home safely in one piece. They are located on the top floor by JCPenney.
Buffalo Wild Wings - I know this place has been there for months but I figured it would be worth mentioning since I lived off their pickle chips when I was pregnant with Lucille. Food is great, service is good, but the atmosphere is LOUD. Like so loud I avoid eating in there because I can't hear my family or the waitress. I get that it isn't exactly supposed to be a family place, but as the only sit down dining option in the mall I would expect them to be a little more accommodating to those who care to hear the rest of their party. The only reason I will eat in there is to avoid loading the girls up in their car seats and driving to one of the other nearby chains. But like I said, their food is really great and I have no issue with getting take out there and think it is a good addition to the area. Find it by the Sears.
The Bad -
The children's play area - I will say this - the new location is much better because it is farther from the food court and arcade providing way less temptation for little eyes. However, it is not the fact that it is the same size, with mostly the same equipment and layout as it's previous location that makes it bad. It is the fact that every time I have brought Cece there, I have seen at least one parent completely drop their child off there for an extended period of time without supervision whatsoever. There is also a group of children who are almost always there who I have never seen with a parent and are very rough. I am not going to the mall to watch other people's children nor do I wish to police the play area so that my child can have a good time. Too often these parents are either gone completely or not watching and the children get very pushy with Cece. I don't know what the mall could do about fixing this situation, but until there is some major change I cannot recommend this particular attraction at the mall. Instead of being a great place for the kids to blow off steam while I shop, it is something I have to make it a point to avoid when with the kids so I don't have to listen to Cece beg or worse yet succumb to her requests and regret my decision the entire length of time we are there.
So there you have it. If you haven't been to the Crystal Mall for a while, now you know what you are missing. Hopefully they will unveil some more changes (and hopefully a more family friendly restaurant) at their "Renovation Celebration" on June 1st - 3rd (more info to come, according to their Facebook).
What do you think of the changes? Any I missed?
You can find this post, along with pictures, at my blog