Pie Bird - Extremely Long Wait For Mediocre Food (Raleigh)
A friend and I stopped by the Pie Bird on Person Street in Raleigh yesterday afternoon for lunch. What a huge disappointment. First of all, we had to wait 45 minutes after ordering for our lunch to arrive. After a 25 mintues of waiting for our order we asked our waiter as to how much longer our food would take, we were informed the kitchen staff gets real upset the waiters inquire. We should have paid for our iced tea and left then. My friend instead ordered a slice of pie figuring it would be brough immediately, but that took another 15 minutes to be brough to her.
When the food arrived, I was quite shocked. Her pie looked more like an appetizer. She had ordered a bean pie and when the pie was delivered to her she was informed they were out of the bean pie and they had substitued it with another flavor pie. They never informed her of the switch until the food was placed in front of her. There were a few sliced beets to accompany her mini-pie which just tasted so-so.
The soup I ordered was over salted and cold by the time it was placed in front of me. I also ordered a salad which mostly consisted of a lot of chopped carrots a few whole small tomatoes, cucumbers (which I asked when ordered to not be added to the salad) a few bits of chopped lettuce and a very light sprinkling of blue cheese crubles all tossed in a vinaigrette dressing. It was unimaginative and a relatively tastelss creation. The coffee I ordered was allowed to brew too long and was bitter.
For an almost $20 lunch, this was one of the worst meals I've ordered anywhere. Don't waste your time at the Pie Bird. You can get better fare at a fast-food restaurant.
What you described certainly sounds pretty bad and it stinks that you had such a lousy experience from top to bottom. However, I'm reluctant to bash a restaurant based on a single trip when they've just opened. All restaurants have issues in their opening weeks. As a counterpoint, I was there recently and it was pretty decent. I'm not quite sold on the concept or the prices, but I'm willing to keep them on the radar.
As for that coffee, they serve French press, so if it was brewed too long...well, then it's kind of your fault. Hit the plunger and pour it after a few minutes.
Agree with you here, dinersaurus! Way too early for a definitive opinion on a PieBird. I like the concept, my food was good and they definitely use good ingredients. I went during their opening hour and yes, there were definitely service issues. And yes, I think they might have to tweak the prices/portions a bit.
However, it's their first week of opening and that's going to happen. I like the concept, I like what they're trying to do. I'm sure they're working hard at fixing things and training staff better. It takes time to get things where they want so I'm going to wait a bit before my second visit.
Can I play Devil's Advocate for a moment? Why shouldn't we judge a restaurant in its first week? Don't restaurants have soft openings for a few days or weeks so they can work out the kinks? If not, why not? Why should they experiment on the public? Likewise, if a restaurant isn't ready for business, why do they open? If I'm going to spend more than a few dollars for a meal I expect better service and quality than I'm reading here.
Like any endeavor, you never really know what's going to happen until you try it. This is why businesses run pilot tests of new systems, or experiment with new processes, or start out with joint endeavors with businesses before acquiring them outright. The bigger the endeavor, the more elements that are involved, the more likely things will go wrong, especially things that you did not expect. And, restaurants have lots of moving pieces. There can be hardware issues - the shiny new fryer you bought turns out to be a dud, or the pipes spring a leak, or it turns out the drains clog very easily. You can have people issues - the line cook with good experience on paper turns out not to know how to cook eggs, or one of your waitresses is an undependable drunk, etc. Or maybe those recipes that worked pretty well when you came up with them in your own kitchen, just don't translate when you have to make the same thing fifty times a night.
It simply takes time to work out the kinks. This is why food critics (real ones, not us jokers on Chowhound), often give at least a month or even several months before reviewing a place.
I've spoken to a few people who have tried it this week and they all came back with rave reviews. I have specifically heard many good things about the spinach and feta and curried vegetable hand pies. I'm eager to try it out.
Ugh - this sounds like my experience at The Market - not too far from there. See previous post on that dismal experience. If you go back, please let us know!