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Aug 2, 2007 07:19 PM

Emma's Back Porch

Emma’s Back Porch – It’s all in the name.

After hearing about how great this place is supposed to be I finally checked it out on 2 occasions.

The place is a typical roadhouse style restaurant distinguished by a fabulous patio/deck right on Lake Ontario.

The menu is typical roadhouse fare, but does offer much more than your standard burgers and wings, and augmented by daily specials. Suffice it to say that the food is generally pretty good. Nothing spectacular, nothing in particular to want to go back for, (except for the view), but nicely done. HOWEVER, the service is absolutely horrendous!

They seem to be very busy and I can pretty much guarantee that this is NOT because of the food or service, but the location and patio.

On our first visit for lunch we were seated outside as per our request. The lady ordered a sandwich and I the pasta special. Our orders were delivered in reasonable time, but I got a salad instead of the pasta. The waitress took it back and returned about 10-15 minutes later with ANOTHER wrong order! I had to call her back because she just dumped it in front of me and left quickly. When I told her it was wrong again she rolled her eyes!! –like I was the problem?? When I said to her “How difficult can it be to get the daily special, she retorts back in a surly voice “ Well haven’t YOU ever made a mistake?” “Not the same one twice in a row.” I replied and she just stormed off. At this point the lady was done half her large sandwich, and offered the rest to me saying she was full anyway. It was a grilled chicken breast thing and was quite nice and tasty. My comments to management were received with indifference.

On the next visit the patio was full and we were asked to give a name and wait at the bar. The tables inside were almost all empty so I asked if we could sit while we waited. No, was the response. Nice eh? So we just walked over to an empty booth and seated ourselves. The waitress took our drink order and never returned. TWO MORE servers asked us for our order and we told them that we had already ordered. The third one asked who took our order. When we described who it was she said, “I’d better get it for you.” And she did. We finished the drinks just before they called us for the table outside.

The waitress took our drink order. I asked for a vodka/soda with extra lemon and lime wedges. When she finally brought it there was no fruit at all, not even the wedge of lime one normally gets without asking. I could see a pattern on this and the previous visit so we left, vowing never to return.

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  1. I dont think its the service and the food that brings people back....its the view...and nothing else

    1 Reply
    1. re: Love it Spicy

      As a general rule, I've always subscribed to the belief that the quality of the food is inversely proportional to the quality of the view. I've had some of my best restaurant meals in little, out of the way joints overlooking parking lots, and worst ones overlooking beautiful water views. I guess when you have a built in draw, you can be indifferent about the food you serve, and still make money.

    2. When I saw your post: Emma's Back Porch, I thought it was a joke
      Emma's has been around for years, but certainly NOT a place where you would get good service. It's mainly kids serving kids, a hang-out for the college/university types. Not really a place where you would get good service, but a place where servers care more about their hair and 'oh look at that cute guy over there'. Seriously, like the other person wrote, people go there for the view and it is always packed yes, but again not a place to be wined and dined.

      IF you wanted great service, good food and a really nice brunch on Sundays, I would have gone upstairs to The Water Street Cooker. They serve seafood, steaks, nice dining area, probably more of what you were looking for.........

      1. Since this is an Ontario Board, someone should mention that the Emma's discussed above is located at 2084 Old Lakeshore Rd. in Burlington. There is another Emma's in Ancaster, which is pretty much the same -but without the view...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Redshifted


          I thought I was the only one who has had a really bad experience at Emma's. I don't care what the age of the service staff is, it is a service industry and the service and wait times are just terrible. The view is great if you can stand the smell of very old and stale beer along with the noise from the outside bar. Food was passible but not great. I have been there several times and I will not be returning.

          1. re: bjinyyz

            Thanks to all who confirmed my terrible experience with the service. I was wondering if it was just me. The comments by everyone make perfect sense regarding the view, etc. It's the same principle that says never eat at the revolving (revolting) restaurant at a tourist attraction. But I still wonder why management, who must get complaints, NEVER DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE SERVICE??? The food (if you ever actually get what you order), is not bad at all for a roadhouse type place. Like me, a lot of people say they will never go back. Maybe it will become one of those places that, to quote Yogi Bera, "is so busy nobody goes there anymore."