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Service at Olive & Gourmando

Claudine_d Jun 22, 2010 06:38 PM

I've been living 2 blocks from Olive & Gourmando for 10 years and no matter how much I love their pastries (and brownies), the chilly reception and bad service just seem to be getting worst. On our latest trip there, we were shocked when they refused to sell us a half-bowl of fruit for our 11-month old daughter! My husband works for a restaurant so we know better than to ask for free food (but most places will do half-portion as it seems like a waste to buy a 7$ bowl for an infant)! We have taken our daughter all over town and have found places to be so accommodating. Were we asking for too much or is there a secret handshake that ensures good service at O&G? Between that, the girl at the counter that never seems to smile and waiting for orange juice after coffees and pastries have been served should we just forget about O&G, simply take our pastries to go next time or stick to Le Cartet for a quick neighborhood breakfast from now on?

Le Cartet
106 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

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  1. i
    InterFoodie RE: Claudine_d Jun 22, 2010 08:58 PM

    Funny this topic should appear as I was discussing O & G with friends this weekend.

    Good Cuban sandwich & great brownies but in my opinion not worth the wait or attitude.

    I sum up my experience of O & G like this, 1st wait for a table, 2nd wait at the counter to order your food, 3rd wait at the other counter to pay for the food, 4th wait to get drinks delivered, etc.

    All that waiting and my lunch hour is over.

    Plus everyone with a sour face like they are being forced to work against their will.

    11 Replies
    1. re: InterFoodie
      wilmagrace RE: InterFoodie Jun 22, 2010 09:28 PM

      me too i have not really enjoyed lunches i have had, nor the pastries and even bought the fig bread and nothing special. Never understood why people recommend this place for visitors to the city, except in old montreal not much competition

      1. re: wilmagrace
        superbossmom RE: wilmagrace Jun 23, 2010 01:09 PM

        I find them polite but not overly friendly, le Cartet is the same, imho.

        As for them not selling you the half bowl of fruit, I would not do it if I were the business owner . I only eat half a sandwich but I never asked them to sell me half.
        You could bring a small baggie of fruit and feed your baby those, they'd never know or possibly would not mind.
        Valliere on McGill seems casual enough, and they serve fruit with their breakfasts,
        this would work for you, they also bring mini pastries before the entrees.

        1. re: superbossmom
          reelection RE: superbossmom Jun 24, 2010 08:07 PM

          I also agree it's strange you'd be shocked at not being able to buy half a dish. Portions are set and it's unreasonable to expect quantity adjustments according to your individual needs. If some places will do it I'd consider it a bonus and not take off points for unwillingness to accommodate.

          Also, I assume that you would expect to pay $3.50 for half a $7 item? As with anything at a store or restaurant, buying a larger quantity usually means paying less per unit. So maybe even if a half-bowl were offered, you could reasonably expect to pay around $5 for it. And especially since we're dealing with such small dollar amounts, getting worked up about it is really not worth it.

          1. re: reelection
            celfie RE: reelection Jun 25, 2010 03:39 PM

            there are so many restaurants that appreciate each customer's business and will be happy to accomodate your needs.

            1. re: celfie
              1963 RE: celfie Jun 25, 2010 08:03 PM

              Restaurants will accomodate customer needs (i.e half portions) when they think it works for them (the restaurant) as a commercial interest. Some will err, on both sides, and some will hit the mark.

              1. re: celfie
                Shattered RE: celfie Jun 26, 2010 01:25 PM

                Agreed. I've worked in kitchens. We're talking a bit fruit, it doesn't exactly take a lot of effort.

              2. re: reelection
                riboflavinjoe RE: reelection Jul 5, 2010 04:51 PM

                So I guess you never jaywalk, because the rules say that you must cross the street only at intersections and only when the light is green.

                Rules are excellent things, but it's also good to be flexible when the situation warrants flexibility of the rules.

                1. re: riboflavinjoe
                  reelection RE: riboflavinjoe Jul 6, 2010 06:14 PM

                  So I guess you complain when McDonald's won't sell you half a Big Mac.

                  More goes into pricing and portions than the average consumer might think. If it were not the case, then restaurants would let you choose whatever you want at whatever quantity you want and charge you by the pound.

                  Like I said, if restaurants will do it for you (and I don't doubt many will) it's a nice bonus. But half of the original post was to complain about the fruit, and that's not fair to a business owner.

                  1. re: reelection
                    Claudine_d RE: reelection Jul 7, 2010 09:29 AM

                    You're right...we were on our way to Cartet and the baby had eaten, so she only needed a small piece of toast or fruit to nibble... Another lesson of parenthood, check at what time restaurant open on week-ends! But, as I mentioned 10 years living 5 doors away from them and the only smile I have ever seen is when they are outside smoking. It seem like that Seinfeld episod with the "soup nazi"... Don't ask question, order and get out of the way. It seems others have also experiences this, while others have had amazing experience.

                    1. re: Claudine_d
                      reelection RE: Claudine_d Jul 7, 2010 06:30 PM

                      For the record, I agree that when dealing with a repeat customer of 10 years, it may be good business sense to just serve the half-bowl of fruit to make the person happy! :)

              3. re: superbossmom
                pinalafina RE: superbossmom Jun 26, 2010 09:33 AM

                Their cold sandwiches are available in half size and I always order the half chicken sandwich which also contains cajun spices, guacamole, tomato and mango.

          2. c
            CroqueMadame RE: Claudine_d Jun 27, 2010 07:55 AM

            Hah! I've actually observed service at O&G to improve with the recession. Couple years ago, I brought in family from out of the country and they snarkily refused to serve ice water (in the middle of August no less). My guests are still talking about that years later: "where's that place that you took us again with the yummy sandwiches but that wouldn't give us ice?"
            Now, they accomodate our request for ice without a blink.

            1 Reply
            1. re: CroqueMadame
              eat2much RE: CroqueMadame Jun 27, 2010 09:07 AM

              Maybe they have a new icemaker!

            2. k
              katzzz RE: Claudine_d Jun 28, 2010 04:35 PM

              As a visitor from Boston, I took my wife to have breakfast there after having a fantastic experience at O & G's a year ago. I told her I had read your recent post on Chowhound and to be prepared for some attitude. We got attitude, all right: super great attitude. From the hostess who seated us, to the two waitresses, to the cashier who bore our indecision about what to get for take out after our meal, everyone was totally friendly and helpful. Really, everyone there could not have been nicer.

              2 Replies
              1. re: katzzz
                rafjel RE: katzzz Jul 4, 2010 08:47 PM

                I had the same experience when I visited in February - everyone was great.

                1. re: katzzz
                  Joanie RE: katzzz Jul 7, 2010 10:11 AM

                  As another visitor from Boston, I stopped in at the end of May remembering the great croissant I had there last visit. I asked if there were any choc/almond croissants and she looked at me like I had 3 heads. Sounds like they're kind of all over the place.

                2. h
                  howardox RE: Claudine_d Jul 2, 2010 02:44 PM

                  Thought it was only me. The staff are totally inflexible, like robots, no charm, no grace, no humour.Takes away from everything. O & G should change its name to Oy Gevalt.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: howardox
                    torontrealais RE: howardox Jul 15, 2010 10:03 PM

                    I agree the service could really use a boost of energy, happiness, contentment with their jobs... but as a waitress, I couldn't help but notice what a frenzy lunch time is. Waitresses squeezing past long line-ups of people with food, serving both tourists (which usually require quite a bit of attention) and locals (who might want a fast lunch). So I wouldn`t blame the waitresses entirely; for one, the layout isn't set up for the volume they get.

                    Veritas or Le Cartet usually satisfy my nibbly coffee/pastry desires when I don't want to line up at O & G. They're not as good, but I don't have to fight for a croissant.

                    Le Cartet
                    106 Rue McGill, Montreal, QC H2Y, CA

                    Veritas Cafe
                    480 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2Y3Y7, CA

                  2. b
                    buspirone RE: Claudine_d Jul 5, 2010 01:16 PM

                    I have never had anything but kind sevice with a smile at O&G. This is with the caveat that I used to live very closeby and was a regular there for a long time. Went back with a friend a week ago though and was welcomed with open arms.

                    1. h
                      hungry34 RE: Claudine_d Feb 20, 2011 03:36 PM

                      I have been hearing such amazing things about O&G, that the food is amazing and that the line is always long. I tried going a few times but gave up when my stomach started rumbling. I finally got a table after a 20 minute wait, the hostess was very nice and easy going. We got to the back counter and I was so impressed by the food before me, I wanted to try everything. I went for the homemade ricotta served with olive oil, chives, sun-dried tomatoes, and it was to die for. I couldn't stop eating even though I was completely full. I can't wait to go back to try something else.

                      The only complaint I have is the girl at the cash. She barely looked at us when we got to her, she very abruptly asked us where we were sitting and what each of us had had. No warmth, courtesy or basic politeness, I was very much offended by her attitude. The rest of the staff was very enthusiastic and friendly, but she was none of that. It was such a shame because the last impression you get of a restaurant is often the one you remember the most, whether the food is good or bad.

                      I will be returning to O&G in the near future, with my fingers crossed that that particular employee has her day off at that time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hungry34
                        Glaff RE: hungry34 Feb 21, 2011 04:44 AM

                        I think the girl you're talking about is the owner (Dyan Solomon)... I've been going for years and I think I've never seen her smile (except on TV). But that won't keep me back from returning as the food is always so perfect.

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