by Tom Finkel
A couple of Twitter users have just tweeted that the Applebee's restaurant in Maplewood was evacuated before dinner tonight because of a bomb threat. And the experience, according to one customer, was just kind of annoying more than frightening.
Stephen Bolen, 30, of St. Louis, was in the restaurant with his wife and infant daughter about 4:45 p.m. Thursday, about to cash in on a Christmas gift card, when their server walked to their table and said there had been a bomb threat made on the restaurant. The restaurant, located at 2301 Maplewood Commons Drive, was about a quarter of the way full at the time.
"We were just about ready to enjoy our "2-for-20" [meal special] and our waiter came up and said, 'I'm very sorry, we're not going to charge you for this but there's been a bomb threat called and you have to leave,'" said Bolen by phone shortly after the incident.
After Bolen, his wife and daughter left the restaurant, he updated his Twitter account with the news.
Afterward, he joked about the incident, and added that his waiter's demeanor wasn't frightened but calm.
"Everybody realized that it was an Applebee's and are the terrorists really going to win at an Applebee's? Who would really want to call in a bomb threat at Applebee's?"
Bolen said four City of Maplewood police cars were outside the restaurant, there was one officer patrolling the area and others near the restaurant's back door.
"They were just kind of hanging out, I don't think they were taking it that serious," Bolen said.
The watch commander at the Maplewood Police Department wouldn't confirm over the phone that a bomb threat had been made.
Another Twitter user updated her status about the incident:
When asked if he was scared by the threat, Bolen responded, "I live in St. Louis city, so bomb threats don't scare me."
Instead he took his family to Saint Louis Bread Co., according to his check-in on Foursquare.
A Google search indicates that this is the second time in less than a year that an Applebee's has been involved in a bomb-threat incident. The previous instance was in July 2009 in Chesterfield, Virginia.