Wednesday, June 17, 2009


An event at lunch today reminded me that I have a whole treasury of WTF stories to tell. Here's what happened today, followed by three more.

Worth the Detour? Customers called ahead this morning to reserve a table for lunch, telling us that several people had recommended that they have lunch with us. When they arrived, they made a point of telling us that they were from out of town and that many places recommended us for our creative cuisine, and that they had come all the way across town from the Visitors Center to dine with us. After all this, the three customers ordered three soups and two side salads, but tried none of the creative cuisine. WTF!

Our Famous Buffalo Burgers. One Saturday at lunchtime, I was in the front of the house when in walked a couple that I had never seen before. The man queried, “We read about you someplace. Do you still have those buffalo burgers?” I thought he was joking because at that time we had never had buffalo burger or any other kind of burger on the menu. I thought he might be confused with buffalo at dinner, knowing that NY strip of bison had recently come off the dinner menu (we rotate through various meats on the dinner menu somewhat at random). I replied, “No sir, I’m afraid we have no bison today.” He turned to his wife and said, “I guess we drove two hours for nothing!” and they spun on their heels and walked out the front door. WTF!

Nothing to Eat on the Menu. Customers drove 20 minutes from a local inn where they had viewed our sample menus and on arrival, the husband told me how much they were looking forward to dining with us and chatting with me after their dinner, how much our menus stood out amongst all the others, etc., etc., fairly gushing. Five minutes later, they got up and left, claiming that they couldn’t find anything to eat on the menu. Generally this is a price objection, but this couple was staying at the most exclusive and most expensive inn in the area. WTF!

One Party, Two Tables. On a busy Friday night, we had a reservation for 8 people for which we set an 8-top. When the group of eight women showed up, one of them approached the host and asked if they could be seated at a table for six and a table for two. That raised some eyebrows. We couldn’t move the six people to a table for six, so we seated the six at the 8-top and put the other two at an open two-top on the far side of the dining room. Once seated, the same woman who requested the separate tables came back to the host and asked if we would include the two-top on her bill for the six-top. They proceeded to have two entirely separate dinners, with no communication between the two tables, the woman at the six-top paid, and then all eight of them got up and left together. WTF!

Aren't we humans silly at times?


  1. I think you could focus your entire blog to tell these stories...After 10 years in the front of the house service, I was always amazed and sometime completely confused by these folks. Takes a village, right ;-) My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip, well, I'm planning a trip...across town really..we live in Harpers Ferry, but I've really missed the great food in Alexandria and downtown DC since we moved to the hills. I'm really excited to join you for dinner...hopefully I won't make the list ;-)

  2. This first part reminds me of when I go out to dinner with friends and they don't venture outside of the old standbys. Not that there's anything wrong with ordering steak, salmon, shrimp, etc., but why order those things on a regular basis when you could be trying new things. Makes no sense to me.

    I like the simple set of rules Phoebe Damrosch shared in "Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter:"

    1) Avoid the following: tuna tartare, fried calamari, mixed greens, tomato and mozzarella, caesar salad, roast or grilled chicken, blackened or poached salmon, crab cakes and the requisite steak.

    2) Never order the same thing as anyone else in the party.