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Roy's - Never Again

We had a reservation last night at Roy's at 8:00. We arrived on time to a mobbed entranceway and a mobbed hostess stand and were told, after waiting a number of minutes to even get to the hostess, that they were overbooked and we would have to wait around 45 minutes for our table. I am not exaggerating, there had to be at least 40 other parties waiting - in the bar, in the entranceway, up the stairs. There was no way to relax and have a drink at the bar, it was mobbed, there was not even any standing room, and the line to even get the attentention of the single harried bartender was consistently 3-4 people deep. There was nowhere to sit, no where to even stand - not in the bar, in the foyer, anywhere. It was complete mayhem. And the door kept opening so it was freezing cold. I am pregnant and have a hard time standing for a long time and my husband asked the hostess for a chair or anywhere I could sit and they could not accomodate. It was excruciating. Fortunately, an extremely nice man overheard my husband talking to the hostess and offered us his table at the bar.

The waiting really ruins you night. Its one thing to wait with a drink at the bar, its another thing to be stuck standing there in a crowd. Of course my husband and I started to bicker (great way to kick off the night), he was so angry and said we would just walk out if we were not seated by 9:00. Fortunately we were seated at around 5 minutes before 9:00. The food was good but the wait totally wiped out our happy mood that evening. Service was friendly but slow (the waitstaff seemed overwhelmed).

Here is what gets me mad. I am a reasonable person, I do not mind waiting an extra 10-15 minutes if they need to get my table ready for a reservation. And its normal to overbook by a few tables in the event of cancellations and no-shows. But by the sheer number of customers waiting it was clear they were at least double booked, as it they did not even care if they honored the reservations at all. A table that came in a bit after us was stuck waiting an hour and a half, they were eventually seated next to us and I overheard them complaining to the manager, the guy was completely irate). This is unacceptable, especially if you are spending around $150 for a meal (closer to $180 if you add on my husband's pre dinner bar bill).

So, we are stuck waiting, are starving, get in grouchy moods and bicker because we are starving, spend lots of extra money on drinks at the bar (drinks on an empty stomach are never good), spend an extra hour plus on parking fees, etc.

I am done with this place. We went a few years ago when they first opened and the same exact thing happened (long wait with reservation). We decided it was likely growing pains and decided to go back because the food was good. Well, clearly they make a practice of this. Never again.

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  1. I would never even have thought to wait...nothing personal, but if I see that kind of crowd, I'm out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TwoBellies

      I agree. I'd throw in the towel and check out anything else near by.

      I'm sorry that Roy's left you with this memory. I've always had a great experience there

      1. re: TwoBellies

        I'm with TwoBellies. When I see this kind of mayhem at the hostess counter and the bar, I leave. Past experiences in situations like this have always gone badly and downhill. Perhaps the management of Roy's have not been reading the newspapers and are thus unaware of the economy and the fact that people are eating out less. Maybe they don't know that many formerly successful restaurants are closing. They've proven they don't value their customers by that fiasco last night. Why reward them further by giving them your hard earned money? Too many other good places to eat, and at far less money and hoopla than you had to go through. Sorry you had to experience this.

        1. re: TwoBellies

          Agreed. There are lots of great places withing a two block walk of Roys. I would have been on the phone and found another. I also don't think that it is normal to overbook. But then I crossed Roys off my list years ago.

        2. It stinks that you had to wait, but then again it is Valentine's Day weekend. This scene was probably repeated all over Philadelphia last night and will be again tonight.

          Just another confirmation that it is better to stay away from restaurants on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and New Year's Eve.

          1. I had this happen to me a few years ago at Roy's. We didn't wait though- we left. And then I wrote an e-mail to the restaurant complaining and received a $75 gift certificate to return. I would recommend you do the same...maybe if enough people complain they will change their policy.

            1. As pregnant women, why would your put yourself in that position? Especially, if you need certain accomodations; like sitting? I'd give up my seat on a bus or train, but not when I'm trying to enjoy the same luxuries you are.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shoeman

                Hey, put yourself in her shoes. She's pregnant, they make reservations well in advance for dinner at a restaurant they been really looking forward to going to. It's a mob scene at the resto, but it's VD weekend, and chances are most restaurants that are "celebration worthy" in that area are already booked. I think they are kind of between a rock & a hard place. I'm sure she didn't want to go schlepping around to find another place, and chances are they wouldn't have found one anyway.

              2. I am sorry to hear of this bad experience...confirms for me, one more time, why not to eat out on Friday or Saturday night. I don't know what's worse....waiting to get in and eat or being asked to leave (Alison in Blue Bell) because they had people waiting and wanted us to leave to accomodate them...had only been there for 1 1/4 hrs and were on coffee....we said never again to that place as well. How tacky.

                1. Sorry to hear you had such a bad night out. I told my sweetie I'd cook last night as I did not want to deal with VD crowds, but under any circumstances I don't think that's acceptable treatment without any sort of apology from the restaurant.

                  The one time I can think of going out where the restaurant wasn't able to honor our reservation in a reasonable amount of time, they comped us a round of drinks at the bar and gave us a lovely appetizer plate to apologize for the inconvenience (this was at Meritage in Philly, to be specific).

                  1. Here is a follow up. I emailed Roy's with my complaint and the manager called me to apologize. He was at the restaurant on Friday and acknowledge that the whole scene was unacceptable. He is going to send me some gift cards to make up for it. I was impressed that he called.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: AmblerGirl

                      Glad you contacted the manager and even gladder than he responded in a such a responsible manner. People shouldn't mess with hungry pregnant women. We can get really mean.

                      1. re: AmblerGirl

                        That's so great. Good job on the follow-up and congrats on being pregnant.

                      2. Glad to hear the manager called you. I'm sure he realized what insanity it was and that it was unacceptable. Sounds like they need a better reservation system!

                        As far as my opinion on Roy's, I've eaten there twice. It's was good, but not super memorable for the price.

                        1. We went out for Friday lunch on Valentine's Weekend at Cooper's in Manayunk. in order to avoid the V Day crowds. (We're from Ambler too.) V Day is like New Year's Eve out, it' just not worth it.

                          1. It's very simple. i will not wait more than 15 mins in a restaurant that took my reservation. And i won't wait more than 30-40 mins in one that has a no reservation policy. Nothing is worth the wait. there are plenty of fine other places to take my money.

                            What you had was totally unaccceptable. leave.