Restaurant owners & staff members want happy customers. We want you to enjoy your evening, your food, your entire experience and not only want to come back, but to want to recommend the restaurant to others. We want to provide you with a wonderful dining experience and excellent service. In return, we (and, I would venture to say, most staff members at any given restaurant) would like a few courtesies from you, our guest. These are rather direct and to-the-point, as I tend to be, so please do not take offense. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are not the person to whom I am referring!
Make a reservation. This allows us to staff properly and coordinate our timing so that the entire evening runs smoothly for everyone. When making your reservation, please specify any special requests at this time. These can include table preferences (in our case, by the fire or wine cellar are the most popular), a service request (we have some very popular servers!), a window seat, on the patio, someone who needs wheelchair accessibility or a highchair, or even simply to let us know it is a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary. If we know about your preferences in advance, we will do our best to get you where you want to be and make the experience extra memorable for you. This is a lot more difficult if you do not specify your preferences until after you have arrived for the reservation.
If you are running late, CALL US. I have seen a lot of online chatter regarding this matter lately, and we even received a negative online review recently from someone who was late for their reservation. If you call to let us know you are running late, we will juggle the seating chart accordingly. It happens. There is traffic, the road conditions are worse than expected, you have a flat tire… there are all sorts of mishaps in life. We understand. But if we do not know about the situation, we may assume you are a no-show, and simply give the table to someone else. This is why we request a phone number with reservations – if you are late, we will call you before giving away that table. If you do not answer, it may go to the next person in line. Remember, the restaurant also needs to consider the round of reservations after yours. If you are late, that table may not be ready in time for the next guest who has a reservation.
Do NOT be a “No Show”! Most restaurants keep a database of people who do not show up for their reservations and do not call. This is especially problematic during the busiest times and seasons, as well as when it is a larger party. If a restaurant is holding a space for 20 people, and you do not even bother to call when plans change, I guarantee you will have trouble making a reservation in the future.
Do not lie to get a table. It doesn’t work. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I (one of the owners) have been sold the line, “I know the owner.” Obviously not. That will get you nowhere. If you know us, you know that we do not pull strings. If we have no tables, we do not have tables. We have had to make Hollywood celebrities, athletes and Washington politicians wait until the next available opening. You will not get special treatment because of who you are. If you do not have a reservation, you have no pull with the host. This also goes for the number of people in your party. Don’t lie about the number of guests and then pass it off as a mistake. There is a huge difference between a table for 4 and a table for 5. Very few spots in the restaurant can accommodate that 5th person. Perhaps you don’t mind squeezing, but when there is no clear path to get by your table, that is not safe for our staff or guests in an emergency.
If you have a large party, arrive together & promptly. This is a large, old, crazy building, and we have more space than most modern restaurants, so we do accept reservations for larger parties frequently. But if you straggle in, two-by-two, it makes it very difficult on the server to greet and properly serve that table. It also creates all sorts of logistical problems for our bartender and kitchen. Coordinate with your party and make use of the resort shuttle when possible!
Food allergies or aversions? Tell us before ordering. We are extremely sensitive to this issue, as many of our family members have food allergies, including the deadly kind. We go out of our way to educate the staff on how to handle these issues, and we have a special alert system built into our computer so the waitstaff can alert the kitchen easily. Almost every single dish on our extensive menu is made to order, so it is easy to accommodate special requests. But, please keep in mind that not every ingredient in every dish is listed on every menu, so if you have an allergy, it is crucial to let the waitstaff know in advance so contamination can be avoided.
If you truly want to experience a restaurant at its absolute best, dine Sunday-Wednesday. Weekends and holidays can be overwhelming. Yes, we add staff accordingly, but it is always a struggle to be at your absolute best when you are at full capacity. If you can come during the off-season or on a quieter night, I guarantee you will be amazed at the outstanding service you receive. We have an extremely talented staff, but they can still be taxed on a crazy, busy night. Slower nights allow them to shine!
Kindness matters. Be polite. This will get you further than any monetary tip ever will, especially on a busy night when the staff is feeling overwhelmed and harassed. Remember, the server/busser/host is a person. They are here to serve you, yes, but they do not belong to you. They are no different than you. They are just doing their job. Do not insult them. Do not touch them – anywhere. Do not yell at them or snap your fingers. Need to get your server’s attention? Try eye contact first. If that doesn’t work, just raise your hand, with your index finger slightly raised. Do not be afraid to ask someone other than your server for assistance. We are a team, and we want every guest to be happy, so we will all try to help when we can.
Unhappy? Don’t leave miserable! Tell someone! No one who works here would want you to be unhappy with your experience, I guarantee it. Don’t be embarrassed to speak up. I believe very strongly in the quality of our food and service, but mistakes DO happen. We are all human. Is your steak undercooked? Did your calamari get soggy before it reached the table? Let us know! We are always happy to fix mistakes. We want YOU to be happy. That is our job! But we can’t make you happy if we do not know when there is a problem.
Did you take advantage of one of our great Lounge Specials (Half-Price Pizza, All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti, etc) or receive your Local’s Discount? We offer a number of discounts throughout the year, including nightly specials in the lounge and 10% off for locals any time. We love our loyal locals, but please, remember your waitstaff! Your server should not be punished because you requested to sit in his/her section! Always tip on the full amount.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share this guide for restaurant customers with your friends. I think it is applicable to everyone, everywhere!