Post by bingandnelsonfan on Feb 12, 2019 10:13:12 GMT -6
Family Farm Restaurant: $300.00
I've had a lot of questions about this piece, so I've done a really in-depth blog entry to review it. I'm including all the text here, but if you'd like to see all the photos, check out the blog entry here. I took a lot of comparison shots, so I won't embed them all here, just because we don't want the thread to crash. Here's the blog entry link: islandshiregazette.blogspot.com/2019/01/goty-2019-blaire-wilson-released-at-agp_33.html
I know space is always an issue with the large items, not to mention the cost. So a large item really needs to have either a LOT of appeal or great versatility and play value. In our house, Lea's Rainforest House and her Fruit Stand are the two large items that we have been willing to make space for "at all costs". We have some of the Snack Stands (that CM deal was too much to pass up), the Campus Snack Cart and some homemade stalls . . . but we don't usually go in for the large items. Going into the store yesterday, we didn't expect to think much of Blaire's Family Restaurant, because the first released photos looked less than inspiring. But we weren't in there ten minutes before we knew we had to have one! (Actually, don't tell anybody, but we are going to do our best to save up for two!) Yes, it's a mix of plastic and Press Board, so keep reading for comments about the individual sections and pieces.
This piece has amazing play value and versatility like no other AG large item that I can think of. Even Grace's Bakery and Lea's House (which I think are fabulous) bind you a bit, because the Bakery is definitely a store, and Lea's House always has the beachy/rainforest/tropical look.
What's so amazing about Blaire's restaurant is the fact that you're not bound to any one particular set up. Both kitchen counters are totally stand-alone, so you can move them around, rearrange them or just take them out of the whole set-up. The doors open in the counters and have all kinds of storage and shelf space in there. Also, the double oven opens with two doors, and the oven rack actually slides out like the real thing.
The little faucet on the sink has the plastic "sprayer nozzle" that clips in and out of the little faucet holder. Not the sturdiest piece, but very cute! Not one of the three of us thought to turn the knobs on the oven, but from the photos here, it does look like they turn. Being able to arrange the counters gives a lot of versatility in this piece as a restaurant. Being able to remove them completely also makes the building so much more of a deal! If you don't want this to be a kitchen, then you can remove the two counters and put anything you want inside. [More photos of this on the blog.]
The two walls of the building itself are press board with the same style printing/painting as Lea's Rainforest House, her Fruit Stand and I would guess as Grace's Bakery (never actually compared that piece). Notice the little framed picture. It is a plastic frame with removable art. There is a matching (different coloured) frame on the opposite side (see photo below). There is a hole in the wall, and each frame has a round peg-like thing on the back. They fit together through the hole, one from each side, so you can put either frame with either piece of art (or make your own art) on whichever side of the wall you choose. Also, the windows above the sink area can be open or closed. The light strings hanging on the Pergola outside are pretend. I know that's probably disappointing to some, but I couldn't be happier about that myself! It makes it very easy to hang them on the provided hooks (or not) and no worry about power or exploding or dying batteries. Also, you could make your own garlands and decorations to hang from the light hooks, should you want to change the mood.
Another fabulous piece in here is the little tea cart. Yes, it's plastic, but it's not the kind that gives you the "oh, too bad" feeling. It's quite nice. In fact, this is my Mom's favorite part of the whole set. The wheels worked great, and what makes it super versatile is the fact that the top comes off and can be used as a tray!
The Pergola on the outside of the building is plastic and a nice heavy-weight variety. What totally sold us on this building is the fact that the Pergola is actually removable. You can have it on or off, as you choose. That will make a huge difference in storing this thing, because you can, literally, get down to the Pergola, the two-walled building and the various table, counters, cart and benches. Not bad at all and totally makes this a viable option where things like the Rainforest House can be tricky. The store actually had the restaurant displayed under glass without the Pergola, while the open-air display was the whole thing. Have a look here, and you can see the connecting area for the Pergola [more views on the blog]:
Due to little girls walking around the Restaurant display, I never could get a whole view of it from the front . . . but at least the stock photos show that pretty well, I think. Here are some pictures that show the top of the Pergola.
The table and benches are another piece here . . . the table top is actually press board, while the legs are plastic. It's a very nice piece and feels good. The height looks to be the same as the kitchen table and chairs AG is selling now, so it's not as short as a real picnic table, but it's very nice for the dolls. Also, this works great for Wellies as well -- see pics below to see WW dolls at the table. The benches are the worst quality thing in the Restaurant. They are totally plastic and not nice plastic. They really give you the feel of being a Mattel toy, and not a nice AG accessory. They snap together and can't be taken apart (they may come in the box already put together, but they looked like they may come in pieces). The plastic is so light-weight that it's hard to get the dolls to sit on there. In fact, we couldn't really get an 18" doll to sit on there successfully --- and we tried multiples, some just re-strung and some loose. Wellies weren't a problem to seat on there, but we're going to figure out a way to weight the benches and make fabric covers for them. Hopefully that will help the 18" dolls sit on there. [More photos of this on the blog.]
Before mentioning the food pieces, the last part of the Restaurant building to discuss is the printed floor/grass piece. It's some kind of thin, stiff paper board or cardboard. One side is grass with wildflowers in it, and the other side is wooden floor boards. Super nice to use for the wooden floor or as grass aside from the Restaurant, but there's one obvious problem to using it as shown, beneath the table and Pergola.
Notice that the grass board is wider than the building itself, but not wider than the outside columns on the Pergola. So, the columns hang off the edge. This looks odd when you see it. The other thing that Mom and I talked about this morning is the fact that there can be no way that the Pergola design was engineered to stick up the extra height of the floor board. So, I would think that the Pergola will eventually warp if left resting on this board. The best way, looking at it, would be to use it in the kitchen area as a floor, or use it as grass not under the Pergola.
The food and small accessories included are all quite cute. A few of the pieces are a bit odd, but it's all personal taste. I didn't think the "Cranberry Avocado Bruschetta" looked really appealing, but it was my sister's favorite piece of food in the whole set! The pumpkin with an egg baked inside was SO cute, and the top of the pumpkin serves as a lid to come on and off. The green "mountain" is Pesto Pasta, there's chocolate ice cream with a strawberry in a bowl (very real looking), a Tomato sliced stacked thing that looks cute, grilled salmon with rice . . . The flour and sugar canisters are re-dos of those in the Gourmet Kitchen, but these look cuter, in our opinion, because they don't have glittery stuff for pretend flour/sugar. The grater, "iron" skillet, "copper" pot, salt and pepper shakers, fancy plates and glasses are all really nice. My favorite thing in the kitchen area was the carton of eggs. Instead of being the normal AG egg carton of white eggs, they are brown and green eggs! The Pink Lemonade pitcher is really nice, too. The table flowers fit into a little plastic blue mason jar which is a really cute piece! Probably the favorite piece of most viewers yesterday was the pan of corn bread with the little kitchen knife. The corn bread is divided into four separate pieces, and they all come out of the pan. [More photos of these pieces on the blog.]
This is a fabulous piece with a lot of play value for the price tag. We are hoping to save up for two of them this year, because we'd like to use them for a variety of set-ups on Islandshire. Josefina's Cuban Store would look great under the Pergola, and Pete and Jerri's garden market could be on the inside. Also, Bunty's wool show and fiber festival would work amazingly in here . . . not to mention a get together for the Boys' Club, Zaida and Bessy's "Strut Your Mutt" pet adoption event, etc.