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Feb 21, 2008 09:28 PM

PEASANT - good food, RUDE CREW!

just had dinner at Peasant at Spring & Elizabeth. Traveled 2.5 hours from Philly to visit some restaurants. The food was good, not great. More important was the blatant rudeness of the staff. My friend and I arrived early around 5:00. We were informed at that point that they did not open until 6:00. Fine. We killed some time walking around and returned a few minutes early around 5:50. We were informed that we were a bit early and they'd be ready in a few minutes. We figured we'd just wait at the entrance for ten minutes. At that point, a second person told us we had they were not open yet. We acknowledged that and asked if we could just wait up front. After all, it was damn near 20 degrees outside and we had been walking around all day. The man told us we could not stay inside, made us leave and locked the door behind us. You would think they might offer us to have a seat at the bar until they were ready, but no, we had to wait in the cold while the staff stood around inside. Throughout this, there was another person drinking at the bar. Normally I would have left and never returned but considering the fact that we had traveled in particular to try this restaurant we decided to wait it out. I won't return.

This place needs a lesson in hospitality big time!

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  1. Wait, I am confused as to what you think they did wrong. Why should they offer to let you in/seat you anyplace before hours? Because you thought you deserved it/drove/it was cold/hot/raining/walked all day? DId you ever think that maybe that person at the bar was the owner/chef/staff member having a quiet time before opening?

    How was your service after you tried to barge in?

    22 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Quine- "barge in" ?!?!?! When was the last time you walked in a restaurant and apologized for "barging in"?

      "Why should they offer to let you in/seat you anyplace before hours?" Because the door was unlocked and it was 10 MINUTES TO OPENING.

      "Because you thought you deserved it/drove/it was cold/hot/raining/walked all day? "
      The correct answer is yes to each of those, because jlube is the "customer". A customer is someone who is there to give them "business" (money) in exchange for product/service(s). Without customers the staff wouldn't have their jobs and the income it provides. That doesn't mean the customer is always right (tho that's a good general rule for a business to follow) or a business has to bend over backwards to provide unreasonable expectations to customers. In this case they most definitely should have honored jlube's very understandable/reasonable request to wait inside.

      1. re: ilikefood

        Often times insurance will not allow a customer/guest inside the premises before opening. If, by chance, you fell (or something of that nature) while on the premisies their insurance would not be oblgated to reimburse the place because they were not yet officially open to the public.

        Thst being said...the staff has no excuse for being impolte. Were they really impolite? Or did you hear it that way because they told you "no" when you expected to be seated without question?

        1. re: kimmer1850


          Cha.......Ching. My original thoughts exactly.

          1. re: kimmer1850

            With the OP's description of the event, I'm still unclear whether the staff were really "impolite" in telling them if they can wait outside, instead of inside, for the 10 minutes before the restaurant opening tiome.

        2. re: Quine

          Quine: Re "Because you thought you deserved it"---Yes, they deserved it. They were there as paying customers, as patrons planning to spend significant money, and they should not have been treated as pests. We had a similar experience at Frontera Grill in Chicago. I had phoned asking the best time to come with an elderly person who could not stand up for a long time and was told to arrive a few minutes before they opened. We joined a line of thirty or so people snaked along the outside of the building. Door was locked. Ten minutes to go. Staff inside not working, sitting around on other side of plate glass window laughing and fooling around. Sky opened: deluge of rain fell. We all got soaking wet. Soaking f****** wet. This is one of the "nicest" restaurants in town. Door-opening time was not compromised: we all waited in the rain, shivering, until Frontera chose to open the door. My last time there. Ever.

          As for the staff needing "a quiet time before opening" I have noted that the younger generation of restauranteurs often fail to distinguish between a personal and a professional situation. Another Chicago restaurant recently closed without notice because, later said the young owner, "I was having personal problems". Running a business isn't high school, kiddies.

          1. re: Querencia

            I think your situation is a bit differetn that that of the OP. You called the restaurant, explained your situation, and aksed if there was anything they could do to accomodate you. They told you they could, told you what to do. You followed their instructions, and they did not keep their end of the deal They were wrong, and you were rightly aggravated. With the OP, however, the restaruant told them the opening time was 6 pm- the restaruant did not tell them they could come in early, and did not tell htem to come back at 5:50-m they told them 6: pm. Not sure what part of 6 pm the OP did not understand.

            1. re: macca

              Maybe jfood is reading the Frontera Grill data differently but it sounds exactly the same, although it is not spelled out whether FG said that it would (a) allow them into the restaurant early or (b) just giving guidance on opening time.

              If (a) then jfood would agree that FG was wrong in keeping them outside.
              If (b) (which jfood is assuming since not mentioned), then jfood has the same conclusion. It opens at 6, customer was told that and the customer decided to show up before opening time. If there is a situation where there is an elderly or handicapped person involved, either you ask when you call for early opening for that party with no "line cutting" or show up after the doors open and avoid standing in line.

              It is not the restauarnt's responsibility to open early for any reason if that is the opening time. People need to plan around the opening times as decided by restaurant, not the customer.

              Sorry but if the customer knows the opening time and unilaterally decides to show up early, customer waits outside.

              1. re: jfood

                I agree with you 100%. When I read the post of Frontera Grill, I assumed ( I know it is horrible to EVER assume) the poster was going to be allowed in early. Maybe he assumed, too, and the restaurant was simply letting him know if he arrived early he would not have to wait for a table AFTER the restaurant opened. But I agree- the opening time is when you should expect to be allowed in.

                1. re: macca

                  I don't get how these two situations are similar at all. Frontera Grill is notorious for being hard to get a seat and I've heard a lot of people say they've given up on the restaurant for that. If the person on the phone suggested they would do something to accomodate you and didn't, then they really dropped the ball big time, especially with a handicapped person involved. If they thought you were just going to show up with a handicapped person and take your chances like everyone else, then I think they used poor judgement. They could have told you to make a reservation at Topolobampo instead. (Topolobampo does take reservations, no?) Now, given the (dumb IMO) seating policy at Frontera Grill, whether they open their doors early is another issue. If you go to a restaurant with that kind of cult following where people either don't mind lining up or even seem to think it's part of the experience, you're gambling on what it's going to be like standing outside. Again, with the proviso that their seating policy is dumb in the first place, opening the doors ahead of time because of rain would lead to people expecting that every time. After all, how often is the weather actually nice in Chicago?

                  Nothing like this went on at Peasant. The poster just kept showing up early.

                  1. re: bibi rose

                    Actually, I am not the one who posted about Frontera Grill- as a matter of fact, I could not even tell you what state it is in!! I was merely replying to the post by Querencia, who realted the tale about calling the restaurant. My point is that IF the restaurant told Q that he would be able to come in with his handicapped guest, and then reneged on that promise, they are totally in the wrong. But then jfood posted that MAYBE the Frontera Grill was simply telling Q to arrive a few minutes early to avoid waiting for a table, and that they had no intention of opening before the stated time. Then he was out of luck, and has to wait like everyone else.
                    Personally, if a restaurant opens at 5:00 pm, I would never expect to get in prior to 5 pm- no matter the weather or anythihng else. But that is just my take on it!

                    1. re: macca

                      Oh sure; I wasn't disagreeing with you. I just got to what looked like the end of the Frontera discussion and tacked my post on.

                      Frontera is Rick Bayless's restaurant in Chicago and the seating situation there is pretty notorious; I wouldn't even try to go there with someone who had issues with standing for any period of time. It's a ground-breaking restaurant but if you want to experience Bayless's cuisine with less seating aggro you can go to Topolobampo.

                      1. re: bibi rose

                        Surprised the poster on Frontera did not know their policy. I know there are weird polices in some restaurants. There is a town nearby where you have to order food if you want a second alcoholic beverage! And there is another town where the bartender who makes your cocktail cannot serve same cocktail. And this same town has another rule- you cannot stand up with a cocktail in your hand!! Gotta love the old Massachusetts Blue Laws!

                        1. re: macca

                          Wow, I work in MA and have never heard of these crazy laws! Which towns are these? So weird...

                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                            In Stoneham, you have to order food along with a second alcoholic beverage!! And Woburn had the rule about standing and the bartender making and serving the drinks. I know Stoneham still has the rule in place, but maybe Woburn has changed.

                            1. re: macca

                              MA Blue Laws really are something else, huh?

                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                Crazy. The city I live in (Melrose) did not allow liquor in restaurants until not too long ago. And there are still no liquor stores here. I went to a local restaurant not too long ago, and my table was wobbly, so I asked to be moved. I was told I would be seated at a two top. I asked if the two top was in the bar area. The waitress told me : WE don't have bars in Melrose. PUHLEESE. Then I aksed her if the two tops were in the area with a horsehoe shaped large table, lots of liquor bottles, and a man behind the large horsehoe table making cocktails for everyone.. That silenced her!

                              2. re: macca

                                I'm pretty sure Woburn has definitely changed re: the standing and drinking. It took a *long* time, and it was restaurant-by-restaurant as whichever inspector was giving the approval to allow standing at restaurant bars to drink was doing so for those restaurants he got "favors" from the corporate owners. If you were a family-owned place, you were overlooked until he got to you. (Learned this from a bartender who works in the area.)

                                Didn't realize that Stoneham has the same stupid law re: not being able to stand at a bar and drink.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Thats good news about Woburn- and Stoneham does not have the no stand rule- it has the rule of one drink only- unless you order food before the second alcholic beverage is served to you. Crazy.

                                  1. re: macca

                                    So macca, are you actually limited to a total of two drinks per person? (One drink before dinner, one drink with dinner.) And does *each* person have to order something to eat? Or would a large plate of french fries, say, be sufficient?

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      No- it is a really weird rule. You can have more than two drinks, but cannot be served the second drink until you order food. I am pretty sure everyone has to order- so you could order two orders of fries, and then they will happily bring your second ( or third, or fourth!) cocktail. It is probably only an annoyance at a pub/bar type restaurant, as in a sit down restaurant you would ge ordering food anyway. There is a pub like place in Stoneham, not to far from my house. I really don't like the food there, but they have lots of tvs and really cold beer- so it is a good place to go and watch sports. I usually end up with a salad or fries - as I don't even like the baked potatoes at this place!

                                    2. re: macca

                                      Where I live (BC), it all depends on your liquor licence. Licenced restaurants can serve liquor, but the customer cannot stand and drink. Also, if you're waiting at the bar with a drink til your table's ready, the server must carry your drinks.

                                      This is quite simple, actually. Standing leads to walking, and walking with your drink can result in you handing it off to a minor. You can only walk with your drink in BC if the establishment has a pub/bar licence. (i.e. no one under the legal drinking age is allowed in, and they ask for two pieces of ID at the door.)

                  2. re: macca

                    In my view, once a restaurant unlocks its doors, it's open to the public. They had the option of keeping the doors locked until opening, but they chose not to. Under those circumstances, there is absolutely no excuse for them telling patrons, with only ten minutes to go, that they have to wait outside in freezing temperatures.

                    If you're in the hospitality industry, there's no excuse for this kind of inhospitable, ungrateful behior.

              2. I'm sorry but I don't get how you feel that they should be obligated to have you wait inside when they clearly were not open for business at the time that you arrived.

                9 Replies
                1. re: RCC

                  I'm sorry, but I disagree with both you. If it were my restaurant, it was 20 degrees outside, and we were opening in TEN minutes, I would offer them a chance to sit early (though not look at a menu and order), sit at the bar, or at least stand inside.

                  This is especially true because the door was not locked when they arrived. They entered, we told to leave, then had the door locked behind them. With ten minutes until opening time, this is nothing short of rude.

                  Last time I was in New York, I arrived at the spotted pig about 20 minutes before they opening. They politely told me, offered me a seat off to the side, offered me some water and let me hang out before they opened. No big deal.

                  I agree jlube, They need a lesson in hospitality. You should have left and not returned.

                  1. re: COrrico

                    If you had an appointment with the cable guy at noon and he showed up at 11:50 and it was 20 degrees outside, would you make him stand on your front porch for 10 min. I think not. Now imagine the cable guy was going to give you $100 now how would you answer?

                  2. re: RCC

                    "clearly were not open for business at the time that you arrived."

                    Clearly the door was unlocked and so it was not clear they were not open for business.

                    Reminds me of the time I walked in a lauded barbq shack-joint just after 9 one night. I was told by the owner/cook that it was closed. I pointed to open door and unlocked screen door and replied "I thought you were open." he responded w/ a bad attitude of contempt- "Well you thought wrong!" In that case, I thought it was more funny than offensive.

                    1. re: ilikefood


                      this argument would be valid if the OP wasn't already previously informed they did not open until 6:00 PM. If the OP arrived at 6:00, this scenario never would have occurred...........inclement and cold weather or not.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        "this argument would be valid if the OP wasn't already previously informed they did not open until 6:00 PM."

                        Valid point in favor of the resto, but they still lose the argument- lose in the customer service department. As Rick pointed out in his spot on post below- "Sure they weren't obligated to let you in, but look where that landed them!"

                        1. re: ilikefood

                          It's hard to tell if they lost in the customer service department because the OP still returned for their dinner.

                          How was the service during your dinner, anyway?

                          1. re: RCC

                            Actually they won in the business department but lost in the customer service department, at least to jlube and those of us siding w/ him/her.

                            But, Heavens to Betsy, I certainly hope no one reading this topic decides to boycott Peasant based on the experience as relayed by jlube.

                            1. re: ilikefood

                              By my last count, they lost in the customer service department to 2 posters here in this thread - just jlube and you. Everybody else here understand and respect the words "Hours of Operation".

                              Your "door was unlocked" argument doesn't fly for many valid reasons that were already discussed all over this thread, plus it is clear that jlube and you don't get it when he/she was told, twice, "Please come back when we open at 6 PM".

                      2. re: ilikefood

                        They open at 6 pm according to websites.

                        The door could be unlocked to let employees in, for deliveries, or prepping up for the night's business. To me it means that they're not ready to let you in.

                        I've been turned away for showing up 15 minutes early in restaurants that were still closed and in a couplenstances they pointed me to a nerby bar or coffee shop to wait.

                    2. Can't really agree, what if your boss told you to show up for work ten minutes early, but you wouldn't get any additional money? You probably wouldn't like that. Plus, if you were told they opened at six, why return's not like that neighborhood is boring. The service staff has to gear up for a long night of work, why should it start early? I agree with a previous was the service after they "opened"?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Hungry Brooklyn Mike

                        I can see both sides of the fence on this.

                        First, it was made clearly known they do not open until 6:00 PM, why arrive early....but then again. I always (or at least try to) arrive early for a reservation. The proper course was at the very least to allow the party to wait inside.......but then again, there is the whole security issue. This will bounce back and forth, and I can already see the ugliness resembling the reservation thread earlier.

                        All said and done.....I would recommend Peasant to anyone for a fine meal.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          fourunder -"but then again, there is the whole security issue" Maybe I'm not understanding you but I don't see what security has to do with it. Do you think before 6 the staff is and should be in fear for their lives, limbs and the silverware, but magically at 6 each day they breath a sigh of relief that they're safe again for another night? Also, forgive me for using the "u" word again, if security is an issue why was the door unlocked?

                          On another note,re: your ID- Congratulations! I'm assuming "fourunder" refers to your golf handicap and not inches.

                          1. re: ilikefood


                            and if it were for (four) inches.

                            Just like banks, the robbers usually like to strike before the official opening time and just before closing. Security is an issue, as recent events in NYC with a doctor's murder should prove point. There could be a number of reasons why the door was unlocked, but how about the door originally was locked, but someone decided to let themselves out and no one locked it behind them, because no on knew someone had left the building...........I know, I know, it was unlocked at 5:00 PM as well......maybe someone else was let in and they simply forgot to lock the door........after they entered.

                            In a society where someone is always looking to sue, safety precautions are the only explanation that have any weight for me as a reason.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              "and if it were for (four) inches. " ohh nothing, never mind.

                              "Just like banks, the robbers usually like to strike before the official opening time and just before closing." OK, good point, only one so far on this topic as to why they were so firm about not letting jlube in, but they could have mentioned that to jlube to get his understanding and correct the perception that they were just being rude. But again -you've got that damned door that wasn't locked at 5, wasn't locked after jlube left at 5, and was still unlocked 10 minutes b4 opening. I feel a bit like Columbo here.

                      2. If they're so extremely strict about the 6 PM opening time, why was the door unlocked ?

                        Why didn't you ask as to exactly why you couldn't wait inside?

                        and why on earth did you give them your business after they rudely threw you out in the cold???!!!

                        I hope to address Quine, RCC and maybe others for whom the basic concept of customer service is either completely unknown or abhorrent to them, but I have to take my blood pressure med 1st.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ilikefood

                          And why do they need to lock the door to keep people out pre-opening? "we open at 6" should have been enough after the first time.

                          Respect goes both ways. The OP was told the restaurant opens at 6. They took it upon themselves to once again show up early, then let themselves in and just "figured we'd just wait at the entrance for ten minutes". They were told a second time of the opening time.

                          1. re: ilikefood

                            FYI- Sometimes the door is unlocked to accomodate delivery people, employees, etc.

                          2. If they weren't open, I don't think they had any obligation to let you in. The last few minutes before service are probably hectic with getting everything in order for customers to arrive. I've never had anything but good service at Peasant.