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Jan 3, 2008 11:36 AM

A lump of coal for Old Scott House

Christmas Day Dinner. Two families mourning the losses of loved ones decided this was the year to go out for the holiday meal. My 83 year old aunt suggests The Old Scott House in Scarborough. Having taken her there for a holiday meal some years back, we agree. The price is reasonable and while the menu is hardly inspiring, it is traditional and much like what many people eat on Christmas. We booked a table for ten a month in advance. On December 23, the restaurant calls to confirm the reservation. The woman on the line is very pleasant. We feel this will work out nicely. Then we arrive promptly at 5:55 for our 6pm reservation. The lobby is in chaos, absolutely packed with buzzing patrons and they are not smiling. Turns out they are running behind. WAY behind. People have been waiting an hour to be seated. Larger parties are waiting longer than others. There are many elderly people huddled in this crowd, a few of whom are having trouble standing. No one on staff offers chairs to them so families are forced to find them a place to perch. The young woman at the desk is looking wilted and under seige in her Santa Claus hat and for good reason. People grow angry, she grows defensive. When people ask where the manager is, she says "I wish I knew." Another staffer shows up. I ask why we have been waiting an hour, telling her I am angry they overbooked. She denies overbooking. Says they allowed 2 hours per table for dinner. Two hours max. It's not their fault people aren't vacating the tables. I remain polite though I am furious. I tell the woman in the Santa hat that this is not fair to her either. Fifteen minutes later, we are guided upstairs through a corridor piled with dishes to a table for ten in a nice cozy room. It is 7:15 pm, 75 minutes after our reservation, and there is a group of seventeen people downstairs still waiting for their 5:30 table. They would not have fit our table for ten in the small upstairs room. At this point, the wait staff takes over and the service is good. The food varies depending on what is ordered. Most in our party are happy with their meal and determined not to fume about the wait because it is, after all, Christmas. What a nightmare. Needless to say, we will not be returning.

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  1. Yikes sounds like a really horrible experience to say the least. We had a very similar experience a few years ago at a resort. It truly was a nightmare so I know exactly what you went through, except that we were stranded in the country with the closest kitchen being many miles down a dark road AND our table was 2 hours late. Talk about 'in the weeds' :)

    1. It's unfortunate this happened and sounds like it put a damper on your evening. I ate at the Old Scott House on the 20th and it was really great. I had the prime rib which was some of the best I've ever eaten. The vegetables were pretty average but the beef more than made up for it. I liked it so much I reserved a room for my dad's 70th birthday.

      You'd think a place that has been around so long would have had things figured out though.