I should have followed my instincts to not try this restaurant after my first attempt when I arrived for a weekday lunch at 11:15 to a dark restaurant with chairs on the tables. The door was open so I went in and asked the gentleman (manager?) if they would be open for lunch. He said no, they weren’t going to be and “Something happened and I probably need to put up a sign.” No sorry for the inconvenience or anything, even though the posted hours indicated they should be open.
I gave them a second chance and went in for lunch a few days ago. I was heartened because there were quite a few people (although I did notice while I was waiting that not many of them had food and there were many empty drink glasses) so I thought I was in for a treat. I waited for a few minutes at the host stand and a young lady said she would be right with me.
I waited a few more minutes and she returned and seated me in the back of the restaurant. It was pretty dark even with the flickering fluorescent light in the hallway. I waited several minutes before my server returned and she asked for my drink order. About five more minutes went by and she delivered my Coke (in a can) and left. I had reviewed the menu and knew what I wanted but she didn’t offer to take my order.
Just under ten minutes later she returned to take my food order and then left. My drink was empty but no offer was made to refill it. So about 20 minutes into my visit, I finally had placed my lunch order and was sitting at my table ... with an empty drink glass. I looked around saw that very few people had any food and most glasses were empty – still. Against my better judgment, I decided to stay even though my gut was telling me to leave.
About 25 minutes later (45 minutes into my visit), my appetizer arrived. It was hot, fresh ... and unremarkable. I ate some and pushed the rest away debating about a carryout box. It would have been nice to have something – anything – to drink, but alas my ice had melted and I had consumed all the moisture in my now bone-dry glass.
I witnessed one male patron angrily get up, yell several profanities about how he had been waiting for 45 minutes for his meal and leave in a huff with his wife (?) – after he was forced to pay for his drinks! That really set him off and rightly so. What responsible owner would charge a guest for iced tea if they had been waiting for so long and were angry. Not one that wanted to stay in business. Since the show was getting interesting, I decided to stay.
I witnessed two other tables leave shortly after that – when the server was in the back – without paying for their drinks. I wondered if the server was even going to tell the manager if he didn’t see them leave or if the manager was going to call the police to arrest them?
My server returned and asked if I wanted a Coke refill. Really? No, I like becoming dehydrated! Another can of Coke came in about ten minutes for my iceless glass.
An hour into my visit, my server cheerfully arrived and said she was going to see what was taking so long with my entrée. I just smiled and said that would be nice. What’s the point of raising a ruckus? I already knew what the management’s response would be based on the irate guest who was forced to pay for his drinks.
Fifteen minutes later, my server returned saying it shouldn’t be too much longer before my food arrives. Five minutes later, it does – one hour and twenty minutes into my visit. Of course, I’m watching my watch like a hawk by now.
It looked appetizing, but to be honest, roof shingles would have looked scrumptious at that point in time. Suffice to say I was ... disappointed. The shrimp were chewy as rubber (think Superball) and the only nice thing I could say about the meal (remember what Grandma taught you!) was the rice was cooked correctly. The spices were OK, but again, unremarkable.
I asked for a carryout container and the bill. Why I don’t really know – I threw the food away when I got home – but there’s something about leaving food on the table I just can’t handle.
The bill arrived in relatively short order but took about ten minutes to make its way back to me. I tipped the server 20% and took my carryout container with me leaving behind a totally dry glass and a truly abysmal one hour and 40 minute dining experience.
Would I recommend this place to my friends? No way. I like my friends. Probably not even to people I don't like.
Do I have any advice for the manager? Yes. Your business is not about making food. It’s about getting customers and keeping them. What I saw a few days ago demonstrates you have no clue about what a business is about. Your customers are doing you a favor by eating at your restaurant – you should treat them like royalty. You are not doing them a favor by mistreating them.
Based on that, and on your Health Department inspections (having to close down to clean your restaurant before being allowed to reopen), I wonder how much longer you will be open for business?"