July 11, 2010

Salsa Nazi

We went to the nearby town of Byron this evening, thinking we'd go to popular Oxbow Park, not realizing the park closes at 4 p.m.

Before we went to the park and discovered it was closed, however, we decided to grab a bite to eat. We were going to go to Dairy Queen, but we decided to try the Mexican restaurant next door.

What transpired was an episode Seinfeld might label "The Salsa Nazi."

We sat down, and our server (also the owner) was very prompt, asking us if we wanted anything to drink. When we ordered water with a lemon slice, his irritation was so palpable, I could feel my tongue swell. So, we weren't totally surprised when he brought us plain water with no lemons or straws. We weren't going to say anything, because we knew what we were going to order to eat later wasn't going to improve his mood any.

The Salsa Nazi next brought the check to a table occupied by an older couple sitting near us. They asked for his name, and they seemed genuinely surprised when he said his name was the same as the name of the restaurant. It was clear they wanted his name so they could later call and complain, but instead the server/owner handed him his business card, and they certainly weren't going to give the owner the 411 regarding his terrible inter-personal skills. So, they simply paid for their meal and left.

The server/owner then came back to our table, and asked for our order, and when we said "We're going to have the fajitas," he took that to mean we'd both have an order of fajitas. We explained, no, we'd share a single order of fajitas, and he scribbled the order on his notepad so angrily, I expected ink to seep through the pad and start dripping on our table. To be fair, we also ordered chili con queso, but when he asked "Large?" and we responded "No, small," he visibly winced and then glared at our infant son, who had the audacity to enter his restaurant and eat Gerber food instead of pay for a child's meal.

Understand. My wife and I have 35 years of experience with American portions under our belts. We know that a single serving of fajitas at a Mexican restaurant can feed five people. We've known, for years, to only order a single serving of fajitas, ask for extra shells, and share them between us. Even when the Salsa Nazi eventually delivered the pared down version he thought would "teach us a lesson," it was still way more than enough for the two of us.

Tonight, in fact, was the first known time in my memory, that the server/owner of a restaurant actually stayed at the table upon delivering the check and waited for me to indicate a tip and sign the receipt, as if we were "dine and dash" risks. And, even though I gave a 35% tip (because the food, honestly, was excellent), he nevertheless seemed indignant about the whole exchange.

I don't mean to disparage this particular restaurant, mind you. As I said, the food was excellent. My wife even proclaimed it the best "local" Mexican restaurant food around.

But, Jeez, man. If you're an owner and you disdain your customers, at least pretend otherwise. Or stay in the kitchen.

Posted by Ryan at July 11, 2010 08:51 PM | TrackBack

Somebody needs to give him a basic lesson in tableside manners. A better attitude would translate into more sales but that might be lost on him. BTW, I invented a new word during this comment, attirude - a rude attitude. Woohoo!

Posted by: Erik Orgell at July 21, 2010 04:56 PM
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