I had lunch today with my friends Emma and Senor Esparza. They ate at Justus Drugstore last night. Justus is on the outermost outskirts of what could be considered Kansas City. In the few years that it has been open it has developed a reputation of being well worth the drive. I personally have never dined there. A little to pricey for my blood, but after reading what I am about to share you will see why I have never felt a restaurant owner was more deserving of my hard earned tips.
They were telling me about how incredible the food and wine was and how the chef joined them for a glass. Then Emma full of glee interjected with a story. She said she had read an incredibly negative review. As we waited in line at Oklahoma Joe’s for America’s best meal served inside a gas station, she conveyed the details of this complaint. After coming home and reading it, I can say she did not do it justice (HA! Get it a complaint about Justus Drugstore). Enough of my puns, here is the review from Yelp!.
Honestly, I’ve never EVER had a dining experiance like this – in a bad way.
1. When I first sat down, I smiled at a waittress as she was passing by, she gave me a dirty face and looked away.
2. I noticed other tables were getting bread before they even ordered(served by a different waitress), so I patiently waited 20 mins after ordering. During that 20 mins, a few waitresses were looking around nothing to do clearly saw us having nothing on the table but waiting. OK I waited enough and asked for my bread just in case my entrees come out first.
3. Entrees were taking an usually long time, so instead of asking them to follow up, I simply asked for another basket of bread hoping that would remind them to check on our food and our waitress’s response was “our bread is made from scratch and we have a full house tonight (5 tables) so every table is limited to one basket of bread.” My thought of….so you guys just made enough for 5 tables? and…it’s really not my concern you make your bread from scratch or not, you open your door for business, aren’t you?
4. Ok. We are still not gonna complain. The weird thing is, we overheard another waitress saying “would you like more bread?” to other tables. Now I’m getting pissed.
5. Dinner came, very small portion. I was thinking, maybe it tastes extraordinary…unfortunately…NOT. Which is fine. That’s not my point.
6. Dessert menu came, going thru the list, this is really not the type of desserts I expect from what this restaurant tries to claim itself to be…Peanut Butter & Jelly?? Forget it, let me have my ticket.
6. At the end, I wrote “apparently the 1 bread per table policy doesn’t apply to all tables.”
The restaurant called the next morning. I thought he was gonna apologize for not being fully prepared to serve his customers but no – he said “our bread is very hard to make, shouldn’t be substituted for ordering salad/soup. You are not welcome back.” Ok, I see. They are mad because we didn’t order salad and soup…I’m never a salad/soup person, shouldn’t it be my choice not ordering something that I don’t enjoy??
Only try out this place if you are prepared to order EVERY COURSE even if you don’t care for the salad/soup(otherwise, the attitude would ruin your dinner). And – only if you want to put money in this money-hungry, order-every-course-or-I-will-treat-you-like-sh*t unprofessional owner.
It was our anniversary and they knew it from our reservation. Apparently, they care less that they ruined it since they let their anger of us not ordering soup/salad took over them.
Wow! I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could make this point. Relatively little bothers me about guest behavior anymore, but bread in lieu of food is a pet peeve. I think what annoys me about it is that normally nice and decent people will tell you bold faced lies at this point. The guest that replies to the offer of an appetizer by stating, “I am not really that hungry, but can I get some bread right away?” is lying. The guest who needs bread immediately because their blood sugar is low, never orders the equally quick soup.
I have already mentioned in this post that I am fairly cheap when it comes to food. I try to work at restaurants that I could not afford to eat at. I have no problem with the diner that is trying to save a few bucks. Just be honest about it. I will give you the best possible meal on whatever budget you have. I will bring you bread as an accompaniment as per the rule created by someone in a corporate office somewhere. If you want to have your bread earlier, ask politely. Just don’t give some “dog ate my homework” excuse for why you need it or ask indignantly “Do we get some bread?”
Furthermore this guest ordered a second basket of bread. Not an appetizer or a salad, but more bread. One of the great murphy’s law proofs is that food will always cook slower when you are hungry. Especially if you are at a nice restaurant. These restaurants are designed to have more relaxed pace. You should not show up having not ate all day and expecting the same ticket time as a microwaved meal at a chain restaurant. The portions are also very small as she pointed out. This is because they are designed to allow you to have an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert without leaving feeling ill.
Leaving passive aggressive notes for the server is pretty ridiculous as well. I think from the outcome of the story it is pretty obvious that the server did not make up a story about the bread policy. Something tells me that the server was probably penalized on the tip line for obeying her boss just before the passive aggressive note was written. Kudos to the boss for standing up for his employee and accepting responsibility for the policy. He took it a step further and used the only recourse he had to punish the guest by asking them not to return.
I know most of us work for large corporations. This means that when someone asks you for bread you smile and give it to them. I don’t fault the corporations, they have too much to lose from complaints. The corporations are the ones paying for all of the free bread being given away. If they could do away with it, they would. All of us from the guy who cuts the bread to the CEO who stares at the line on a financial report should be just a little jealous of Chef Jonathan Justus. He gets to truly run his own restaurant.