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Good Cheddar but Bad Service at Artisan Cheese Gallery

cookieyumyum Nov 17, 2007 02:10 PM

A friend of mine just called me to relate her bad cheese service experience and it brought back the bad memories of mine a month or two back at Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City.

A friend and I decided to go try the Artisan Cheese gallery after someone raved to me about their sandwich selection! So we went in and ordered some sandwiches. Both were pretty tasty and as we ate we discussed what kind of cheese we would order to take home. We noticed that had a very reasonable priced cheese board, so we decided that would be best to take home.
So after finishing our lunch and looking around the store, we approached the Cheese counter and waited patiently to be helped. There was a young man and a older man waiting on customers. Whenever they would cut off some cheese, they would offer it to each other's customer as well. We were hoping they would offer us a piece to try but they didn't. But we were still fine, just kept track of the cheeses the other customers raved about to try when it was our turn.
So the older man finished helping his customer and came to help us. My friend and I told him we would like a cheese board to take home. We asked to try the cheeses we had seen the other customers enjoy. As we had made a few selections of cheese, he then said "CAN I SUGGEST SOME CHEESES..." in a very huffy manner. I love when people suggest cheeses to try, but definitely not when someone talks down to me. But we were still in good spirits, because hey we're eating really good cheese. So we said yes! :) So he brought out some cheeses and we tried his suggestions gladly. I got a lil annoyed again when he gave us a cheeese to try and already cut off a piece for our cheese board without us saying we liked it, which luckily for him we did! haha

So once we finished our cheese selection he took it in the back for what we thought was to wrap up. But then he came out with the cheese all arranged on a tray for us to eat there! When we had just finished cheese sandwiches 20 minutes! So we said "Oh no! We want the cheese tray to go." and he literally yelled at us "WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THAT!!" And we said "oh we're sorry." and he just grunted something at us and stalked back into the back.

For a moment, we both thought he had to be joking with the yelling at us. But then we realized he was serious and that we just apologized for doing nothing wrong at all.

So he came back out with it ready to go and he seemed a lil embarrassed over yelling at us but still wanted to give us a lecture.

Meanest Cheese Man EVER:"You should of made it more clear you wanted it to go."
Me: "We just both ate sandwiches and we did ask for it to go."
Meanest Cheese Man EVER: "Didn't you see I was putting it on a cheese board."
Me: "This is our first time here. (Thinking "And our last") I thought that was just how you were gathering our cheese selections.

Then we paid and got out of there. We were both so angry and felt like it was age discrimination for a big part. As we both are in our mid 20s and maybe because we're women too. Why can't we be like other young women and want to go out and spend all our $$ on fancy clothes instead of fancy cheese haha!
In any case, I was very sad because they had a delicious 12 year aged Cheddar and good salumi. But I can't look past horrible service. From now on I'll go to the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop where I can get excellent cheese with great service.

  1. y
    yrpoison Nov 17, 2007 03:47 PM

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience there. I've only been once but had excellent service there and loved it. In fact, I loved the care with which my cheese board was assembled and found it a happy and homey place. And the sandwiches were super good.

    Not to be contrarian, but the holier than thou service at BHCS turns me off.

    Then again, I'm happiest at The Cheese Store of Silver Lake...

    2 Replies
    1. re: yrpoison
      notmartha Nov 19, 2007 01:10 PM

      I didn't have very good service at BHCS this weekend either. Granted it was busy, but so was Cowgirls in SF and we never had less than stellar service.

      I'll have to give the CS at Silverlake one a try, or maybe try Artisan and avoid the older guy (or talk loudly)?

      1. re: yrpoison
        p
        peterlakis Dec 21, 2007 09:08 PM

        and good god, if they don't have the most memorable (read: down right beautiful) woman working behind the counter. I thank my lucky southwest stars for an easy flight down to visit again soon.

      2. bodie Nov 17, 2007 06:38 PM

        I am in total agreement. The guys behind the counter at Artisan are total jackasses. It is a fairly unfriendly place with a decent but not voluminous selection and they act as if they are god's gift.
        There is a new cheese place set to open in Encino that I believe will be a preferable option to Artisan's unwarranted snobbery and inhospitality,

        1. Das Ubergeek Nov 18, 2007 09:09 AM

          The older guy is definitely a problem. The woman who runs it is much better.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            Debbie W Nov 18, 2007 03:17 PM

            I've had good service from the older guy, think his name might be Stu but not 100% sure, and have also had good service from Melody the owner. I like it because I don't have to schlep to B.H. and the prices are somewhat more reasonable. I think the folks at B.H. are really snooty.

            1. re: Debbie W
              cookieyumyum Nov 18, 2007 03:42 PM

              I wish it had been a better experience at Artisan, but sadly it was the worst! haha

              And I've heard of a lot of people have had bad experiences at B.H. Maybe cuz I go on weekdays, I get better service cuz not so busy? Or the more experienced employees get weekends off? In any case, I've always had the best time there.

              haha but of course the next time i go will probably be awful after defending them...

              Ooo thanks for the info Bodie! I'll be curious to try the new place in Encino when it opens! :)

          2. c
            chslover62 Nov 18, 2007 03:57 PM

            Love Artisan Cheese Gallery (a very frequent customer there!) but know that sometimes they have bad service. The older guys name is Fred. If you do decide to try again... see if you can get help from Melody, Sage, Stu or Greg. They all know cheese & will give you excellent service. We've had some bad service moments and avoid Fred when we go in. No excuse, we agree, but we know everyone else and they are really nice folks... Plus the sandwiches and that 12 year old cheddar are fantastic!

            1. a
              alexfood Nov 18, 2007 10:13 PM

              Sorry to hear about your traumatic cheese shopping experience. :) I must say we've never had a bad experience at Artisan. A younger guy (Greg?) has helped us a few times, and his enthusiasm for cheese seems to know no bounds. He practically served us a full cheese course just letting us sample things, including adding some honey to an amazing blue. The one time I was helped by the older gentleman, he actually picked amazing cheeses with a lot of depth (although it wasn't with the same pep). Bottom line, I'll keep coming back for the duck confit sandwich, even if they yell at me the whole time I'm eating it.

              1. Steve2 in LA Nov 18, 2007 10:59 PM

                Wow, weird to hear about people who have had bad service at a place I've visited frequently and NEVER had a bad experience. I've been served by EVERYONE there and never encountered a bad attitude.

                Admittedly, I'm male so I can't speak to the female experience but I'm old and unattractive so, you'd figure I'd catch SOME of that anecdotal bad behavior. And believe me, if there's bad behavior to encounter, I'm the one who's going to get it. Hey, I could get slapped by a SAINT!

                Last time, I was at Artisan, I bought cheese and sandwiches from a charming, knowledgeable young woman, named Tori. All I can say is, I LOVE the place, have always been treated as a valued patron and would pretty much walk through fire for another Duck Confit, Fig Jam, Carmelized Onion and Cheese Ciabatta. 'Nuff said.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Steve2 in LA
                  c
                  CinnamonKitten Nov 19, 2007 03:54 AM

                  oh my goodness, I have GOT to try that duck confit sandwich now, Steve! Thanks for bringing it to my attention

                  1. re: CinnamonKitten
                    Steve2 in LA Nov 19, 2007 02:06 PM

                    CinnamonKitten, as long as you're going, be sure to try their Grilled Vegetable on Olive Bread Panini. Mmmm boy, howdy! Oh, and get a chunk of Tallegio if they have it in stock. Best in town.

                2. d
                  Diana Nov 19, 2007 05:27 AM

                  YEah, the older guy is a bit odd. I think he's Melody's dad or Uncle. I just try to get someone else to help me, as the rest of the staff are stellar. The older guy, he's sort of not entirely there. I have watched Melody watch him in action on a busy day, and one can tell from her face that she is aware, frustratedand probably does all she can to fix it.

                  I think he also may be rather hard of hearing, which explains the yelling. Lately, I've only seen him there on busy days. As these are now busy days for parties and cheese, perhaps he will be there more often. I get around that by calling ahead and talking to Melody to let her know I'm coming and what I'm thinking of getting.

                  1. f
                    Faulkner99 Nov 19, 2007 06:12 AM

                    Sorry to hear your service wasn't good. I think I know who you're talking about also. I haven't had him serve me, but I've seen him there being a bit short with other customers. When I go, I usually do take-out, and don't have too much interaction with any of the staff so I am not as turned off by the service there. Don't be discouraged from going there; there are always several people available to help you. Just be aware next time to order from a different person.

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