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Mexicali in Williston, VT

TonyO Feb 21, 2008 04:08 PM

This is a place that at one time was a decent spot for quick and reasonably priced food and was a regular stop for our family. Lately the only consistency is abyssmal service. Tonight reached a new level.

We arrived (me and my two daughters aged 3 and 14) at around 6:10. The place was fairly crowded but there was no wait for a table. We were sat and ordered two Coke's and a juice. After a 1/2 hour I started to wonder where our food might be. As the menu is pretty simple to execute, food usually arrives within 20 minutes which is great when you have children. 45 minutes, still no food. At one hour, an explanation from our very apologetic waitress. I agreed to wait a few minute for our food to be wrapped to go. 10 more minutes, no food but an offer to take 50% off. The waitress (her third night) thought this was not appropriate and despite that fact it had been the decision of the owner, she insisted on talking to him about this. I agreed as it made me curious where this would go. 10 more minutes and the food arrives packed to go with another $6.00 discount. Our waitress was clearly embarrassed and insisted I not pay anything. I left her a tip, grabbed the food and left.

What is the most perplexing thing about this whole event is that the owner NEVER came to the table to explain or aplogize all the while leaving a third night employee to handle a poor situation in HIS restaurant. That more than anything is completely unacceptable and says a lot about how this establishment views the guests in their restaurant. In the future, I will take my business elsewhere. Maybe someone else will take my place as a regular in a place that has completely lost my respect by employing Avoidance Management.

I hope that waitress finds a place of employment that cares as much as she does about customers......................................

  1. katiepie Feb 23, 2008 03:51 AM

    That is absolutely outrageous! I've often been curious about Mexicali, but now I will NEVER go. That poor girl... she probably had to pay for that out of her own pocket. Good for her for sticking to her beliefs. I can't believe an OWNER would do that... a manager, maybe... wow, Tony... what a crazy story. And what a lesson for your kids!

    1 Reply
    1. re: katiepie
      TonyO Feb 23, 2008 05:19 AM

      And not to mention the tables near us that were all curious about what was happening (they all came in after us and had received their food, eaten, and were ready to leave). As a manager of various restaurants, I would always intervene in a situation like this in an attempt to turn a negative into a positive (or at least neutralize the issue). A few kind words, a jesture that shows concern, and a jointed effort between management, staff, and customer.............is it really that difficult ???? Apparently in some places it is !

    2. Bri Feb 23, 2008 11:05 AM

      I'm in Williston often for work and I've never even seen this place. Where is it located? Not that I'm interested in bad service, but as a CA native, I usually pounce on anything remotely Mexican just to give it a shot and I don't recall every seeing this place.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Bri
        TonyO Feb 23, 2008 03:35 PM

        It is in Mapletree Place, near the Majestic 10 theater. If you have a point of reference that serves authentic Mexican food, this would likley be a let down (aside from the service issues). This area is pretty void of Mexican food.

        1. re: TonyO
          Morganna Feb 24, 2008 03:58 AM

          It used to be in the strip mall across from the Shaw's in that area, near the 99. I remember when it was reasonably good fast food tex-mex, but we stopped going years ago, before it had even moved, because it was so bad.

          They don't even open until -noon- on Saturdays. Yeesh.

          1. re: Morganna
            katiepie Feb 24, 2008 04:30 AM

            I'm sorry about your experience, TonyO, and that you've now lost a quick and inexpensive meal option for your family.

            I'm sure what happened isn't unique to you, and that other customers will stop going as well.

            My husband and I had a similar experience last summer at Adrianna's downtown, and we never went back again.

            They're out of business now, which will happen to most restaurants who treat their customers that way.

          2. re: TonyO
            Bri Feb 24, 2008 04:53 AM

            Alright, so it sounds like no big loss for never having tried it. Thanks for the info.

            1. re: Bri
              d
              Dave S. Feb 24, 2008 06:52 AM

              I've had one experience there, stopping for lunch while taking some friends to the Burlington airport. The service was good (the place was not crowded) but the food was awful. It all tasted like it came out of a jar or a bag. I typically don't have high expectations for Mexican food up here in New England, but this was beyond bad.

              1. re: Bri
                TonyO Feb 24, 2008 06:57 AM

                It is really a shame that one of the few independent restaurant options in Williston has rested on the fact that they are "locally owned". It's not enough. Granted, I'm not likely to stand in line at Chili's, but I will say that my experiences at Longhorn have been much better than Mexicali. They seem to have little turnover, their food is consistently good (not great), the prices are fair, and the place is clean. I personally don't mind frequenting a chain that is able to execute their menu and provide adequate or better service. It seems to me that most chains are in the middle of the spectrum relating to service and food while the local single unit places are either great or horrible. The horrible ones usually end up with a "For Sale" sign replacing the "Help Wanted" signs. This area could really use some family friendly options that provide a mix of comfortable ambiance, good food at reasonable prices, beer and wine, and friendly wellpaced service. I can think of very few restaurants that offer this. The 99 comes close, but I have had some dreadful service there. Nicco's / Three Tomatoes does a decent job (Mapletree next to the Theater). A family should be able to go out for a decent meal in under an hour and spend under $10 per person. Papa Frank's is a good example of this. Not the best food in town, but I will take the 15 minute drive to support this business. And if you haven't been to the new Marco's on Shelburne Rd. in Shelburne (formerly the shortlived Z's Pizza), it is worth a try. They serve beer and limited wine (what Woodbridge would you like ???) but their food is very good and there are some bonafide bargains on their menu (like the two HUGE slices and a fountain drink for under $5.00).

                If you are going to be in the restaurant business you should at least be able to relate to your customers and handle their issues. If not, get out and let a Marco's or Papa Frank's type operation occupy your space.

                1. re: TonyO
                  katiepie Feb 24, 2008 10:50 AM

                  I love Marco's. My husband and I were just at their South Burlington location for lunch today. Three slices and a coke to share was $5.45.

                  I was wondering who moved into Z's old location when I drove by last Friday. I'll have to check it out, although I love the "old school" ambience of the South Burlington place... it's very Tri-State/Long Islandish to me.

                  Marco's has delicious food and I'm always impressed with how it's run. Everytime I'm there, I never see an adult (although I'm sure there's one lurking somewhere) and the young kids who work there are always busting their butts chopping veggies, making pizza boxes, taking orders, rolling dough, etc. They are always very busy, professional and pleasant.

                  Marco's rules!

                  1. re: katiepie
                    TonyO Feb 24, 2008 12:37 PM

                    I agree. It is refreshing to see teens refer to customers as "sir" and to thank people for their business. They seem to be able to select good employees at both locations. I hope they continue to do well (the same family owns The Rotisserie on Williston Rd). As long as thye keep doing more of the same, I expect they will be around for quite awhile............

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