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Dec 9, 2007 02:20 PM

Okay Okay = NOT Okay

Based on recommendations from hounds in the "best pancakes" thread, my companion and I headed to Leslieville this morning for brunch at Okay Okay. I would not recommend it to others looking to enjoy breakfast.

The food was very good, including the promised fluffy pancakes with blueberries in the batter. And for most of our visit, the service was good.

But we won't be going back. Here's why...

Immediately after we finished our breakfasts (2 full orders wolfed down by my companion, one by me), the waitress told us we'd have to settle the bill and move to the counter to finish our tea because "someone else needs the booth". Not so much as a "would you like to order anything else?" or "would you do us a favour and move to the counter?". We were quite simply evicted from our table.

Now, I could understand if we'd been there an overly long time (i.e. if we hadn't barely finished cleaning our plates), or if there'd been a line at the door waiting to be seated. But in fact, there was no line and the only people waiting to eat were seated at the counter, which had 4 more stools free.

Some might find it acceptable to evict diners so that later diners could have the booth, but I don't. The newcomers could have been served at the counter, with the option to take over the booth when we left.

As it stands, we simply settled the bill and left -- permanently. This incident completely undid the good experience we'd had thus far, when the restaurant made it clear that our business was less valued than that of the newcomers. With so many great restaurants in the city we have no need or inclination to return to one that would treat us that way.

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  1. Well, I went to Okay Okay about a year or so ago, and it was just okay. It wasn't the service or most of the food; it was the "hash browns", which are standard issue frozen patties, but they tasted as though they were cooked in rancid oil. Even the ones at McDonald's taste better.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Full tummy

      Really??? Oh I wish I had that experience. We looooove those damn things. Yes I know they are just standard issue patties and I could get them a price chopper for $2 or something crazy like that but they just taste so damn good there on a sunday morning with a BLT. But idnas I have to agree with you, that was pretty shabby. We've never had that kind of treatment, thankfully.

      1. re: millygirl

        I remember the first time I went there and was quite taken aback when they served me those hash browns because everything else on my plate was freshly prepared. They have since grown on me. That said, it seems like the kind of place where you should be able to get some nice, crisp-around-the-edges home fries off the griddle instead of frozen ones.

          1. re: ms. clicquot

            You know, it wasn't so much what they were, it was that they actually did taste rancid. I can appreciate junk too, and while I would prefer something more homemade (as long as it was well-made), I probably wouldn't be complaining here, if those frozen hash browns had just been fried in fresh oil. Fresh oil!

            Don't know if they're keeping the oil fresher now, but that rancid oil was nasty.

            1. re: Full tummy

              I think it is better these days. Rancid oil is just plain nasty!!!

      2. Horrible treatment. I'll stay way, thanks for the warning.

        1. +

          Okay Okay
          1128 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1K8, CA

          1. it's too bad that you had such a bad experience as okayokay truly serves an awesome brekkie. maybe you should make a call in to management to advise how bad the service was. your experience does not sound like the kind of thing i want while i'm scarfing a pancake. at the same time....i don't think that one incident warrents a lifelong boytcott on okayokay, just needs better staff. give them a second chance........i certainly will as their breakfast is so addictive.

            3 Replies
            1. re: rayrayray

              I've never been to Okay Okay, but the inicident described by the OP doesn't sound like something staff would do without management sanctioning it.
              If something like that happened to me, I might say something to management. But I would probably respond the same way the OP did because there are so many options in this city. Restaurant management/staff should treat every customer in such a way that makes them want to return. The onus shouldn't be placed on the customer to make sure they get it right the first time.

              1. re: pescatarian

                Well said. There are too many service issues in this city. I think places with poor service should feel the effects of their indifference and/or ineptness.

              2. re: rayrayray

                sorry....should have added and didn't. i have only had excellent service from okayokay, so that's why i was so forgiving.

              3. OkayOkay turned one of Leslieville's most unpleasant diners into a respectable restaurant. That's about the only positive thing I can say. I tried their smoked salmon benedict creation. Between smoked salmon that was too salty, a prefab frozen potato patty, and packaged hollandaise, it wasn't worth eating. It wasn't cheap, and this is not a place where I can just relax and enjoy myself, so I've not been tempted to return.

                The place wasn't busy and the cook (who may or may not have been management) basically said that there wasn't any point in making what could be bought already made. I can do that at home for much less money, but don't. Why pay restaurant prices for this kind of food?

                You can get a homemade egg-and-stuff breakfast at Newell's (admittedly not my kind of place) , in a similar - though I'd argue more authentic - ambiance, for 1/3 the price. Newell's doesn't serve "benedicts", but that's no loss given OkayOkay's version.

                3 Replies
                1. re: embee

                  Agree; I also tried the smoke salmon benedict and would NOT recommend it. The salmon was chopped up, not a whole slice like I've had elsewhere. I think the menu said "homemade hollandaise" but it was tasteless.

                  1. re: Teep

                    The hash browns turned us off as well. That, and the fact that the owner/cook
                    was so surly to his waitress, who was very sweet! The place is small, so one doesn't really need to ring the bell AND yell as the server to pick up the food.
                    The attitude in conjunction with the scowling looks at customers and staff, not even the best breakfast in the world could make me wanna go there again. Sounds like it was the owner who told the server to demand that you move to the counter. Considering that it's a greasy spoon that doesn't take reservations, it seems very odd and inconsiderate that you would be asked to move!

                    1. re: ostracario

                      Funny you mention the owner scowling at the staff. I've also seen him do that but then a second or two later they are laughing. The guy server that was there for a long time has since moved on and now they have a very nice girl. She apparently worked for them at another restaurant, they have become good friends and they asked her to come work for them again. Who knows what goes on behind the stove, eh! I agree though, he could be friendlier.