Can You Bring My Food? Pretty Please?

My friend and I had planned on seeing a matinee this morning. However, we weren't able to agree on a film. Now when you're my friend, it's pretty easy to come up with an alternative. Food! So we decided to have brunch this morning at Union Bar And Grille, which she heard about for Restaurant Week.

We arrived pretty hungry, well at least I was, and we were seated right away. The place is pretty cute inside, but the tables were very close together. Our waiter arrived not too long after and we decided to order the $9.95 Early Riser All Inclusive Brunch Special from the menu. Our waiter seemed to be a pleasant enough fellow and brought us our juice, coffee, tea, and very small slightly dry pieces of coffee cake.

I started getting hungrier and noticed that our food was taking a long time. It had been close to a half an hour. The waiter seemed to be handling all the tables in our area by himself, so we figured things must be backed up in the kitchen. We started noticing other people being served. The two women sitting to my right even remarked that our food was taking a long time compared to everyone else.

Our waiter came over and apologized for the wait and asked me if I wanted more coffee. I'm not sure if someone didn't show up; they are just plain understaffed or what. I had been wondering when he would notice that my cup had been empty for a long time. He poured some more coffee. Then very soon after a server brought two plates over to me and my friend, put them in front of us really quickly and we noticed that they weren't our orders, then he quickly snatched them back and gave them to the couple sitting to my left, who had come in about fifteen minutes after us. We couldn't believe it!

The women to my right both laughed and again remarked that they just didn't want to give us our food. Now, my friend and I were getting really steamed. When our food finally arrived, we had waited about forty minutes for it. The food wasn't bad, but I won't be rushing back to this restaurant.

I had some other restaurant experiences this summer that I was going to blog about, but then didn't. One just made me so mad that I didn't want to think about it and the other was really good, but I didn't have time.

First let me tell you that the really good one is called Ivy. I definitely want to go back to this place. A different friend and I had planned to go to dinner at Vinalia, which I'll be telling you about next. I should have known from this experience not to try and go to Vinalia again. Anyway, she was going to make the reservations and we were going to meet there. You have to go up an escalator from the street level. As I'm going up, I hear this blaring techno music, which seemed rather odd. I saw an open door where the music was coming from, but figured this couldn't be the place. It was supposed to be a wine bar. I went over to an information or security desk and asked where the restaurant was located. He pointed over to the open door with the music. This did not seem right. I walked in and there were no tables or chairs, people standing around and a DJ setup blasting the music. All the staff was standing around not offering any help. I walked over to someone and asked if this was Vinalia. The woman said they were closed for a private party. Why did they even let me walk in?

I left and called my friend who was still looking for parking and told her I'd meet her outside. She said that she had called for reservations, but nobody answered. You would think that they would have had a message on an answering machine or something to inform their customers. I guess customer service is not their big thing. I didn't see anything on their website either saying that they would be closed on a Saturday night for a private party.

I had a backup restaurant in mind called Ivy. We walk in and were very cheerfully greeted by their hostesses. They asked if we had reservations. I think it was around 7:00 or 8:00. We said no, but they said that they could seat us right away if we thought that we could be out in an hour, because they had a reservation. I laughed and said that would depend on how quickly they served us. They laughed too and said they'd let the waiter know. We were seated and the waiter came over immediately. He was very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. He told us that the portions were small, so we should order a few dishes. I love this place! The decor is really lush and nice too. I want to sit upstairs next time.

Their menu is wonderful and I would have had more, but we had to eat fast, plus I actually had to go a barbecue right after. Way too much food that night! Anyway, if you go to Ivy, and I really recommend that you do, try their macaroni and cheese with truffles. Wow! I cannot wait to go back to this place. We finished within forty-five minutes. They were so nice and more than generous even seating us at all. That is customer service.

And Vinalia. I don't even want to spend too much more time talking about them. I should have known not to go back, but two co-workers wanted to go there for lunch, so I figured it would be nice for us to hang out a little bit. Long story short, our waitress seemed pissed off at the world from when we walked in. One of my co-workers is a vegan and the place was not vegan friendly. I don't recommend the place. And to top it off, I won a free lunch for myself and a group of people. I didn't take the free lunch. A free meal isn't worth it, if the staff is going to be mean to you.

Anali's First Amendment © 2006-2007. All rights reserved.


Suldog said…
The first time I ever visited your blog was the time you and friends had a horrible experience in a Boston restaurant, so it pains me whenever I read something similar here. At least the late food seems to have been a series of honest mistakes instead of something possibly racially motivated. At least, I think so. At least I HOPE SO.

It does amaze me how horrible some places do customer service, especially when their whole business is based on that.
karrie said…
Good to know about Ivy. I have always had the worst time finding good places to eat when out with friends downtown.
Lisa Johnson said…
suldog - I really didn't want to do this post, but felt like I should. Me and my friend were the only black people in the main room, but we both really didn't and still don't want to believe that race was a factor. We really don't know. It's hard to tell, but when other people are remarking to us at how slow our service is compared to everyone else, it's kind of hard to ignore what's happening.

On that last post that you mentioned, there was a rather angry commenter, who alleged that he was black also and stated that I was looking for racism. I am so not looking for it and really don't! I thought about mentioning the racial angle in the post, but figured I'd let people draw their own conclusions and go from there.

karrie - It's a great place!
Tera said…
Poor service and long waits always get my mind-a-racin'! I had slow service last week while I was in Columbus, but it seemed that the table next to us got a nice song and dance, and a bunch of attention! You don't know how difficult it was NOT to assume it was because we were Black!
Cynthia said…
I can imagined how PO-ed you and your friend were. Such sloppy service. There was a time in my life when I stopped dining out because I was fed up with the service.
FH said…
We had a similar experience like that in an SC restaurant.They just ignored us for the longest time while serving the people who came after us!! We never tipped them or went back there again. We forgive them, after all it's Bible belt!;P
Tsiporah said…
I hate it when service is bad at a restaurants. I generally hate saying anything because I don't want them to do anything to my food. They just never see me again.
Nina said…
I think that it's really rare to find an place that takes service seriously. Yea for you for finding Ivy...that menu looks delicious!
Lisa Johnson said…
tera - It really is hard not to have that as the first thought. I know that it's not always the reason and I really hope it's not often the reason, but you just never know. Also in general, customer service is really on the decline.

cynthia - It really is annoying. I've done my fair share of customer service type work and know that it can be extremely difficult at times, because some customers are horrible, but that's no excuse to treat everyone badly.

asha - LOL! You are too funny! Well, I hope that restaurant gets their just reward.

tsiporah - That's the thing. I don't want to complain and have them do something to my food, although I guess they could anyway if they are purposely treating me badly. All we can really do is trust and hope for the best when we eat out. It's kind of a gamble!

nina - I really hope that people will check out Ivy! Good service should be rewarded!
Suldog said…
Anali, I just stopped by again to thank you for the "bumblebee" link. It was quite moving.
starry said…
I hate waiting for my food and it is really bad when people who came in after me gets served before me. would not go there again,maybe if they were really short staffed.
Anonymous said…
That happens to brownish-skinned folk like me as well. Wait-staff would have that fake smile ripe for a slap and talk to you as if you've mistakenly forgot your place in society. All the while (s)he's thinking "I need to get that screenplay finished before acting class. I can't believe I have to serve them...unless he's friends with M. Night Shyamalan!"
You know what hurts most? The days you say to yourself "I'll be extra nice to people and smile more" are the days you run into a**holes like that waiter.
So So Simple said…
I wouldn't go back Anali the food looks boring anyway...its a wonder you didn't fall asleep. That would have shocked them.
Just give them heaps they don't deserve customers
KAYLEE said…
SOUNDS GREAT! I am okay today but its been rocky the last couple of days:(
Lisa Johnson said…
suldog - I'm glad you liked it!

starry nights - Luckily there are many more choices of places to eat like Ivy! It will be nice going back there.

emon - Welcome! Thank you for stopping by! I love your bumble bee post that inspired Nicole. It's amazing how we bloggers all influence one another.

I so agree with you how it is worse when you are especially trying to be nice. I just figure that it will all come back to them in the end.

so simple - I won't be going back!

kaylee - You take care now! ; ) And I love your new blog design! So pretty!
Anali, sorry you had a lousy treatment at Union. They've just learned about word of mouth the hard way. One thing I hated about working as a waitress was the inevitable groan-- "Oh no, black people just got say in my section! They are such lousy tippers." Followed only in completely unfounded bias by "Latina women" and "single diner." Glad, too , to hear about Vinalia. I will have to find someone to have drinks with at Ivy... ; )
Lisa Johnson said…
bipolarlawyercook - I'm happy to spread the word, both good and bad. Well, more happy about the good actually. That makes me so mad when people say things like that. My blood just boils!!!!!

And drinks at Ivy sounds great! ; )
You're so right, a free meal isn't worth it if you're not treated kindly. Maybe next time try the Bourne Ultimatum; it was a lot of fun! I would recommend just some good old-fashioned popcorn with it. ;)
Lisa Johnson said…
susan - I want to see it! Hopefully soon! You may find this surprising, but I very rarely eat at the movies. Go figure?

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