My girlfriend Jane and I decided to meet for lunch on a stunningly gorgeous Saturday afternoon to plan our upcoming trip to Paris. The Open Door Café seemed like the perfect location – not only could we sit outside and soak up the sun, but we could also take advantage of their free Wi-Fi. We grabbed a table on their outdoor patio near some folks who had brought their dogs. And that was fine by me since I am a lover of all animals who are well-behaved. I arrived late and was therefore surprised that my friend had neither a menu nor a drink in hand. And her normally cheerful face held a slight frown.
We watched not one but TWO waitresses pass our table several times without slowing down to greet us, take our drink orders or tell us about the daily specials. We then started to run down our mental list of other restaurants in the area where we could get a bite. And there are plenty! Even though I wasn’t in a huge hurry, I did want to do a little shopping at TJ Maxx and Ross. Finally I went inside the restaurant and beckoned the first waitress that I saw. There appeared to be a party going on which could possibly be the reason for the slow service, however, I do not accept this as a reasonable excuse for rudeness. Especially when parties are booked in advance, which gives the restaurant ample time to beef up their staff accordingly.
At long last, I ordered a blue cheese burger for me and a crab soup and tuna sandwich for Jane. It’s hard for me to imagine how a burger can get screwed up, but somehow they managed to do just that. Plus my fries were raw in the middle. But of course it is difficult for a restaurant to correct their mistakes unless you can actually find a waitress to assist you. It wasn’t a complete loss because the roll was delicious (note the sarcasm here). And here is a tip from Waitressing 101 – when a customer is totally dissatisfied with their meal, you should ask your manager if you can either (1) remove it from their bill or (2) offer a free dessert, latte, whatever. On the bright side, the soup was delicious and the sandwich was huge and served on a fresh piece of swirley rye bread.
Adding fuel to the already blazing fire, I made the mistake of ordering a pumpkin latte. By this time it was 3pm and I needed my afternoon pick me up. This added about $4 and another half an hour to our ordeal. One burger, a half sandwich, cup of soup and 2 latte’s came to around $28 – normal prices when the food and service are above average. I’m not sure why I always tip around 20% whether the experience is favorable or not. I guess I just take pity on the server whether they deserve it or not. Plus I was in a pretty good mood pondering over hotels in Paris.
Open Door Café
Bel Air Town Center
528 Bel Air Pike
Bel Air, MD 21014