Thursday, July 31, 2008

It’s the hospitality business, you #?&*%#@!

When I go out to eat, it’s all about the food. Reading some online forums it seems to me there are lots of people for whom going out to eat is more of a control thing or about achieving absolute perfection in terms of service or ambience. Sometimes I get a good laugh out of some of the discussions and wonder how miserable some people might be to have to sit across the table from (and I’ve had my fair share of those experiences).

I’ve never worked in the restaurant business but I’m sure some customers can be very trying and everybody has bad days from time to time. I did work in a business that required dealing with at times a very demanding public that thought they knew everything about the business and the only reason I had my job was to lie to and deceive them and we all had our ways to cope with it, not all of them friendly.

A few of our local institutions have developed reputations for bad service, indifferent and surly staff, even shouting at customers. I’m happy to say I’ve never encountered nor even witnessed the latter anywhere and the worst I can whine about is one place near my home, since closed, which had a very surly staff and indifference or forgetfulness at a few other places. But I’m very forgiving because of my own career history.

All that being said, a few good words deserve to be said about some of the places I’ve come across recently where the staff is friendly and it’s a pleasure to go in. The folks at Pierson & Co. Bar B Que on West TC Jester is one such place; add to that the generous portions of very good Q and free samples and it’s become one of my favorites in a short time. Another one is the Little Bitty Burger Barn on Pinemont where I’ve been treated like a friend from the very first visit. Likewise the new place in Stafford, Huarache Azteca Express has been very friendly and they also are generous with the samples. The lady I’ve encountered at the window, at least during the week, at Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot makes me think she is the inspiration for the name of that east side eatery and the staff I’ve encountered at Las Hamacas on the Gulf Freeway, El Coquitos, Saffron Persian Café and La Roca Tamaleria have also been a pleasure to deal with.

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