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When your favorite restaurant stumbles . . .

How do you react? We all know that even the best restaurants have an "off" night, so how do you respond when it happens when you are there? Do they get a second/third chance? Just curious to know how other hounds react. It just happened to me and I am very disappointed.

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  1. There is a difference between stumble and "going" down hill or "gone" down hill. An off night happens and why would I stop going to my favorite place over a stumble or two-- depending on the place even three. We had a place we used toi love to go but over a course of several visits it disintegrated. We have even gone back since x 2 a few months apart very hopeful but no.

    1. Every restaurant has an off night. It's a question of two things: 1. How often is acceptable, and 2. What caused it (if you're able to ascertain it).

      We have eaten at a wonderful local cafe for over 25 years. In that time, we have been less than thrilled maybe 4 times. That's a really good ratio. We rely upon this restaurant to take well-travelled business acquaintances to and it has served us well.

      Recently we had a family brunch there and all of the dishes were less than stellar. Upon looking around, I realized that none of the employees looked familiar or even comfortable there and the owner had not made an appearance.

      Should I have said something to the owner via email?

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc

        I hear ya about the owner sandlc. My friend and I have had many satisfying meals at a beloved local diner. Every once in awhile when the owner is not there watching everything like a hawk you can really tell the difference. I remember a time when my hot cakes were cold. It was three days before Christmas, the place was packed, no owner in sight, and the young staff was obviously excited and distracted by the upcoming holiday. The hotcakes were pretty darned good even cold. I didn't say a word. What happened bropaul? Obviously I have returned many times since the cold hotcakes but sounds like something worse happened with you.

      2. I think wekick captured my concern, the difference between and "off" night and the beginning of the slide down hill. Nothing dramatic happened but the last time I ate my favorite dish at my favorite Thai place it just didn't seem as good as I remembered it. So, is the problem my memory or the food itself? I'll have to go back to verify.

        1. "Best" places having an off night can be just as much about my poor choices than a fault on their part.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Agree 100%. I'm willing to take the blame for that and I know when it happens - usually ordering something of the specials menu that, in the end, just doesn't work.

          2. If it's my favorite place, I know the regular staff and owners, and will say something. I know who runs FOH and who runs BOH, and would definitely mention it to them, or someone who can relay the information. Before the current owners took over, things were really bad, and I wasn't shy about mentioning to whoever was in charge at the time what the problem was.

            OK, last time I was at a different place that "stumbled" I contacted them via e-mail and got a response from the owner.

            1. I got the answer to my own question last night. Driving by the restaurant in question, I noticed it looked very dark. Then I saw the sign. "Grand Re-opening. Under New Management". I suspect the old chef was already gone the last time I ate there.

              1. We recently went to a place we loved. It isn't close so we get to go when we are in the area 4-6/year. The food-some good some bad-- the frites (not fries :-) )were cold and soggy for example .and when they are called frites and in that price range I expect better than that. The entree salads(important if you are watching carbs, were gone and lower priced menu options were gone.. There add ons on the menu and presented orally with no prices. The specials were much higher priced than the regular menu when I asked. The complimentary home made bread gone. This place has had quite a bit of notoriety so I can't blame them for wanting to make more money but we probably won't make the effort to go like we used to.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wekick

                  That sounds like more than just a bad night. Those declines are sad.

                2. My favorite place serves some great dishes but on any night there will be some misses. But the staff is friendly and attentive, the dishes we regularly order wonderful, and the prices allow us to eat out more than we would otherwise. So on nights we can sit outside and enjoy it all the misses don't matter so much and we learn what dishes to avoid next time. Oh and once a week their wine list is half price!

                  1. We gave our favorite place in town 3 chances after the house manager had changed due to expansion. Each of those three visits was worse than the one before both food quality and service, despite all the front of house staff remaining. I posted about it here, other folks chimed in that they'd been really unimpressed not having eaten there before the decline. Then a newspaper columnist wrote about a pretty egregious experience at the newer branch and the owner got involved. He was on site at my location two summers ago, things have been really sharpened up and we're happily loyal customers once more. We were so bummed that it had gone so far downhill and allowed to operate so badly for so long, like losing a close friend, so glad to have it back.