Let me paint the picture for you; It’s Tuesday night in Pickering, some people are just leaving work, some are home, a few are out with their kids starting the holiday shopping. I’m waiting for Anna to get home with the kids, I haven’t eaten all day so I decide to hit up the East Side Mario’s around the corner from her house. I preferred to sit at the bar and get some work done while waiting for Anna, but there was no room. The hostess offered me a seat in the middle of an empty dining room; I asked if I could please have a booth at the back by the wall (I didn’t plan on staying long). I understand she didn’t want to give up prime real estate but she was still sitting offering me a four top table. However, at the end I was seated in a booth.
My sever a young guy not older than 21 approached my table and asked me if I would like a drink, I ask if they have Sauvignon Blanc (it’s a safe bet in a quick service dinning establishment) and the kid points to the wine in the menu and tells me that is what they have…so I go with the Pinot Gris. 5 or 8 ounces? 8 obviously.
Five minutes later he arrives with my wine (which by the way is not 8 ounces) and asked me if I am ready to order. I have the Wedding Bell soup (I am a sucker for it where ever I go, I just can’t help myself) and the Grilled Chicken & Caprese Salad.
I don’t even have time to blink and he brought me my soup, WOW! I’m not going to complain about that because if I was a mother there with my kid that is the kind of quick service I would need. I took at picture of my soup because I was surprised at how little Confetti pasta was in it- more like an 8 small meatball soup with a few pieces of spinach. I have to say, I did expect more for my $5.95.
I was working away enjoying my soup when my salad arrived, it looked good. I was surprised at how good it looked, and tasted. Well done I thought! As I was munching away I was thinking about the Safe Food Handling Coarse I took last week and wondered what kind of things were happening in the kitchen, then as I was cutting my tomato…I saw the hair. Yes the hair. GROSS, it’s a HUGE deal; hair in your food can make you very sick! Does the word Staphylococcus aureus scare you? I won’t go into detail what the hair looked like…but it was just as bad as you can imagine.
Now for the good part, I flagged down my server who took one look, grabbed my plate, winked at me and said “I’m going to bring this to the Manager” – who not one minute later was at my table. “I am so sorry, I’m sure you are very turned off but if you are still hungry whatever you like”…whatever I like I thought? On the house, if I ordered a steak would you cover it? I didn’t. I told him the story about my class as I was tweeting at East Side Mario’s and said I would just like a small green salad. To which he heard, bring this lady the biggest salad the kitchen can make and watch her like a hawk to make sure everything is okay from here on out.
The salad was massive, but I finished every ounce of ice burg lettuce they put in there!
I don’t want this blog post to come across as a complaint but more of a complaint and complement. I know how hard it is to have young people working for you, and I also understand that your kitchen staff are not trained chef’s, if it wasn’t for the wonderful manager this post would be very different. He did his job very well, I walked away happy. Although I would have been happier if my soup or my whole bill for that matter would have been picked up by East Side Mario’s – two glasses of wine a soup and salad…cost me $25.00 cost East Side Mario’s … $5.00, oh I still gave my server a tip, yes I’m Canadian like that.
I didn’t receive a comment card on my way out, so here they are.
Manager deserves a raise, he was great! Addressed the problem on the spot, and came back after to make sure I was happy.
Server did not introduce himself to me, or tell me about any promotions
When I asked for a second glass of wine…there was still a bit of wine left in my glass he walked away with it…
Servers were yelling across the dining room at each other to see who could break a $20….really take it to the back.
Will I go back? Conclusion, I don’t eat there often, so most unlikely. Will I tell everyone I know about my experience, yes – aren’t you reading my blog right now.
If and when East Side Mario’s responds (which I hope they do) I will post it.