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Homeway - horrendous

I hate to do this, but I must. The Homeway on Mt. Pleasant, north of Eglinton, used to be a place I recommended for brunch, a place my husband and I would go out of our 'hood to visit on a weekend, despite having a plethora of brunch spots in our 'hood (Riverdale).

Yesterday we met a relative at Homeway, and it went from bad to worse. We stood at the entrance for a good 5 minutes while staff avoided eye contact and pushed past us to serve outdoor patrons. I finally asked if we were to seat ourselves, which got someone's attention. After requesting an inside table (I had a hunch the service would be spottier outside, and it was too hot for me), we waited another 10 minutes or so for a table. In the meantime, a staff member I am assuming was either a) a manager or b) an owner, bent down to pick up something very dirty off the floor and toss it out. Then, he proceeded to cash out a table and assist a server with food service, without washing his hands after picking up the trash on the floor. My husband and I looked at each other with mouths agape. If it were just he and I, we would have left for sure. However, we had met family there, who didn't witness what we did, and we had already done the runaround after going to Marvellous Edibles and noting it was closed on Sundays until next weekend. We hoped this was the isolated end to the mistakes....

We were led to an uncleared table and waited a few more minutes as it was cleared. A server then started to set the table, grabbing the cutlery NOT by the handles, but by their eating surface. My husband quickly and politely (doesn't happen often..) asked him to touch the cutlery by the handle, not the eating surface, and asked for a replacement of cutlery.

Food service was slow, requests for water were eventually fulfilled, and we got our meals. I specifically asked for eggs benedict poached hard - after being given the option. Anything running out of an egg that my fork has pierced causes me to gag. You guessed it, the eggs were runny, not soft, runny. At the point I noticed this (I always let them sit for a few minutes to make sure they continue to cook a bit while I wait), I had already eaten a few fries from my plate and added ketchup to the fries. The server quickly took the plate away to correct the order. The rest of the table ate their food and were finished by the time I got my correct eggs, 15 minutes later, ON THE SAME PLATE I SENT BACK, with cold fries, congealed ketchup and all. When the server placed it in front of me, I just stared at it, holding back yet another gag (doesn't help that I'm 8 months pregnant..).

She asked if anything was wrong and I said, 'the eggs look great, but I think the fries are probably cold by now'. She said she'd get me another order of fries, which of course came 10 minutes later, when I was mostly finished my 2nd round of eggs. Never mind the fact that my germs from already having eaten off that plate are now all over the kitchen.

In the meantime, someone in our group had asked for coffee during one of the server's visits to the table. The server kept coming back and refilling my husband's coffee, but not bringing a new cup for the new order. We finally had to explain to her that the coffee she was refilling was not the cup of the person who kept ordering it. Don't even ask about water refills.

Finally got the bill after a long wait, left a measly tip, and left. The whole visit took more than 2 hours!

Seems their staff need a bit of a reminder about handwashing and other restaurant hygiene rules, among other things. I'll be sure to follow-up accordingly with the appropriate city department on that matter.

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  1. Or the other take on it.... is you go to a busy place for Sunday brunch, and it is so busy the only table they have has not been cleared and you brow beat them with comments and dirty looks until they seat you there probably just to get you out of their way....

    I do not understand why people go to a full restaurant and expect to be seated immediately when there are no empty tables or there are empty tables but they have not been cleared. To clear a table the staff that is as you say delivering food to other tables and the patio would have to stop what they where doing to clear it for you at the same time the people who ordered before you would have their food getting cold waiting in the kitchen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: OnDaGo

      Or yet another take on it....

      If you go to a busy place for Sunday brunch, they should adequately staff the restaurant so that the tables are cleared and reset by a busser or waiter when the last guests leave. It is hardly the customer's fault for the wait... how dare they walk in the front door. Wait a second... you're right OnDaGo. They should have gone to a place that was either not as busy or properly staffed by the management.

    2. Just to clarify based on a few comments, the server led us to the uncleared table, after we waited about 15 minutes and were told the table was ready. There were a handful of empty tables both inside and out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thenurse

        One more clarification - the wait was expected, and acceptable. The rest was not. It would have been nice, however, to be acknowledged when we came in, rather than just ignored.

      2. We had a similar experience of decline at the Homeway-too bad because it used to be quite pleasant and enjoyable.

        And, as far as being busy for brunch or any meal, any decent establishment should be able to function at both busy and slower times.

        My husband and I are still in search of the ideal brunch spot...

        1. I agree with 'OnDaGo'. When I arrive at a restaurant during prime brunch time, I expect to wait...

          I find breakfast/brunch in the city is all about the waiting.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FeelinFineSunshine

            Yes, but no eye contact for 5 minutes as you stand by the door? Unacceptable.

            This place sounds like a train wreck. I remember the gold old days when they had beautiful greasy hamburgers and was so dark you couldn't see daylight. No rush to visit its new incarnation. It sounds godawful.

          2. aside from the waiting issue, I agree with nurse -- hygiene and proper food handling is paramount. No matter where you are.

            1. I used to frequent the Homeway in highschool in the 90's. We had a name for it that is unpostable. Let's just say not much has changed. The owners and staff where rude and beligerent then too.

              1. We had a similar experiece, awful service, runny eggs and my same plate with cold fries returned to me too. Appalling, and in my case the place was basically empty as it was a weekday morning. Never again.

                1. While I agree that your experience sounds very poor, I question your paranoia at the slightest hint of "germs". Your food being sent back to the kitchen, for instance, doesn't scream unsanitary to me, nor does touching cutlery by the part that goes in your mouth (perhaps slightly more questionable, but I wouldn't give it much thought).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: vorpal

                    It's not the fact that my food was sent back, it's the fact that the plate that I had already eaten from went back into the kitchen, was passed around from server to cook and possibly more people/hands, then brought back out. It's like taking a dirty plate back up to the buffet. The food should have been recooked and replated.

                    In terms of touching cutlery by the tines/blade, it's just bad practice - at home or in a restaurant. And given the lack of handwashing demonstrated by the owner/manager, the behaviour of couldn't go unnoticed.

                    There are a number of contagious airborne illnesses and those transmitted through saliva droplets that can infect others. Certainly it's rare, but food service establishments should be extremely cautious about this, esp. in light of recent food safety tragedies. This is why we have regulations.

                    I forgot to add that there were FIVE dogs on the patio. At least 2 of them were sitting in their owners laps, at tables. Not tied up on the other side of the railing, but under/beside tables or on laps. I have a dog and would love to bring her out to eat with me, but listen, there's a reason dogs aren't allowed in restaurants and on patios. Just another example of the lacksidasical attitude of the staff at Homeway.

                    1. re: thenurse

                      I’m far from a germophobe, but I agree that touching the part of utensils that go in our mouths is horrendous practice. That would never happen at a higher end restaurant where service is king. And for good reason. It’s unsafe. Servers touch so many things in the course of five minutes, it’s real risky to handle cutlery in that manner.

                      Your overall experience here sounds very poor, and sadly typical of too many spots in this city.

                    2. re: vorpal

                      Being squicked when staff touch the eating end of cutlery in an establishment where it is apparently acceptable to pick garbage off the floor and then serve food without washing up is hardly paranoia. Besides, the OP is 8 months pregnant. You appear to be a man, but I thought everybody knew that pathnogens that are harmless to most people can be deadly to pregnant women and their fetuses.