As it turns out, Port Alberni has a robust selection of restaurants. During a short visit, I had the opportunity to select from a variety of places to grab some grub.
A quick google search yielded 3 pages of results, and it was almost impossible to find one that scored under 4 out of 5 stars. Pretty much every listing had great reviews. Not to mention a few with absolutely fantastic names.
All Mex’d Up. The Clam Bucket. Bare Bones. Bucksnort’s. New Wait You.
Uh.. New Wait You?
I admire their honesty. I guess these guys knew they were going to be successful before they even opened, so they decided to let the public know right off the bat that this place is gonna be bumpin’ with business.
Their name essentially says: We’re new, but just you wait. It’s an interesting marketing strategy to include the word “wait” in any restaurant name. Very ambitious.
Anyway, all these high-ranking food-establishments made me a little suspicious. For what it’s worth, Burger King scores a 4 out of 5, while Subway gets a 4.2.
In order to avoid the Port Alberni local-pride conspiracy theory, my friends and I decided to opt for a roll of the dice. We decide on Solda’s, a family friendly place on Beaver Creek Road, with an exceptional back patio. They have a happy-bear bench, a cool fountain, and Winnie-the-Pooh artwork!
As the sun began to set in the background behind the beautiful view from our outdoor table, I concluded that this is a lovely place to relax and enjoy a nice wind-down to a busy day. If only we could get the next table of chirpy birds to shut up with their loud yammering and seemingly endless deliveries of desserts. Distracting to say the least.
The service was a little slow, and the food wasn’t fantastic enough to write home about. (But here I am writing about it anyway, HA). I also noticed that there was a decidedly “mature” aggregation of staff and patrons. I don’t know the age demographics of Port Alberni, and I don’t want to, but there were definitely a few old-timers kicking it old-school here.
I had to know what sort of a restroom a place like this would have, so I finished up my Salmon and sped inside.
Having your latrine located on a separate floor altogether can provide a pleasant change of atmosphere and energy. It can also potentially break your neck.
At Solda’s the stairs are tall. As I climb this comfortable carpeted entryway, I feel at peace. Away from the noise and burgeoning activity of humanity. A heavenly hand rail is there for my safety. I feel weightless as I go toward the light.
Reaching the top, I am greeted by two pieces of artwork, displaying a fine juxtaposition of nature, and its destruction.
The signage for Solda’s restroom is unassuming and direct. I’ve come across a lot of these, which have a braille inscription for the visually impaired. It’s also nice when you can actually reach something you need to touch in order to get around.
These CDA compliant little guys never really provide any clue as to what you’ll find inside, but in this instance I have a feeling the conservative nature of the signage will match what’s behind it.
I enter a well-lit, zero-stench restroom with a lot of space. It’s quite welcoming, and has a full-size mirror, adjacent to the sinks.
I am always appreciative of clean, large mirrors in a bathroom, since a percentage of my visits are solely to ensure that my hair doesn’t look dumb.
And as if I couldn’t be even more impressed with this presentation, I immediately notice something that makes my heart beat fast in anticipation.
I’m pretty wary of additional switches, because often they do absolutely nothing. I end up feeling like I’m in a video game where I have to search the rest of the dungeon to discover what effect they had after flipping them.
But not at Solda’s! I flip that second switch and I immediately hear the satisfying whir of a fan, filling the room with it’s healthy hum.
I’m pleasantly surprised and delighted at this feature. Not a lot of places really give you this option. Or at least one that doesn’t sound like a cat being tortured.
The sinks are clean and the counter is dry. A little rust, but nothing serious. The soap is well-stocked, and looks a little like Trigger, the hawk from Disney’s Robin Hood. Yes, I love that movie.
Inside the stall, I’m happy to see the toilet seat shining. Looks like the employees here have a standard for their customer’s comfort, including the type on the can.
I am also impressed to see the plunger sitting safely inside a small bucket, which is a great idea that probably makes mopping the floor much easier.
The urinal is also spotless, and provides so much space that you could likely fit two people in its surrounding area. Not that you’d want to, I guess.
But it’s definitely better than cramping yourself up into a tiny cubicle area with a wet floor.
I guess my only complaint here is that it’s one of those dinky little models that makes me feel like Andre the Giant. But it’s well positioned, and flushes magnificently.
To finish it all up, they have a Complete Touchless Paper Towel Dispenser, right above the garbage bin.
This particular model was nearly impossible to find details on, which likely means that they updated their product line. And while that technically means “they don’t make ’em like this anymore,” that doesn’t render it archaic and obsolete. On the contrary, it works perfectly.
With a lot of touchless models, I find that I’m waving my arms around so much it looks like I’m conducting an orchestra. At Solda’s, my symphony is only one note. How gratifying.
On top of being clean, bright, functional, and spacious, I was also very happy with the minimal human interaction involved in this restroom. You could probably chalk it up to the general clientele being unable or un-wanting to make the journey upstairs. (I didn’t necessarily look to see if they had a wheelchair accessible option, so I can’t comment on whether or not they missed the mark).
Either way, fantastic job on the Men’s Room, guys! I may not be returning for some time, but my spirit will always be with you. Godspeed, universal Solda’s!
Toilet Paper Rating: 5/5