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Mar 26, 2012 02:33 PM

Town Diner Anti-Customer Service

Tried to get a late breakfast/ early lunch at the Town Diner in Watertown last Thursday at 11:15. I would say at least 6 of the booths were completely empty, but they refused to seat my husband and me in a booth. "Those are reserved for 3 or more people." At 11:15, when the place is near empty. They were snooty about it and tried to seat us right near the hallway to the bathroom. When we protested, the policy was cited yet again.

Guess they just don't have any interest in old customers, or in making a few bucks at 11:15 a.m. Guess I won't be back. It's a shame. This is a truly great way to alienate customers. And for what purpose?

And I tended to like the staff there. Is there new ownership?

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  1. I had a similar problem at the Rosebud. I was there about 11:30 for a late breakfast. Two other diners in the place. I headed to a booth only to be told the same thing and that I would have to sit at the counter. Usually I wouldn't mind but because of a sore back, the thought of sitting at a stool was not appealing. I left. Walked by later and the place was still pretty empty.

    1. I lived within walking distance of the town diner in the 80's. I loved going there plus the new york and another one near Watertown square. I went back to the town a few years back after a ten year absence. It had new owners who looked uncomfortable being diner owners. The place looked beat up even for diner standards.
      After it was all done, the food was great and the price right. I quickly reminded myself that it was a diner, and if one wants to be spoiled, go to the ritz.
      All diners have quirky rules and many stick to them regardless. I did have a booth at the town and there were just the two of us.

      1 Reply
      1. re: libertywharf

        "the food was great and the price right. "

        That may have been the case back then - but $8.50 is the cheapest burger now, $4.95 the cheapest hot dog.

        Out of my range.

      2. That's bizarre. I've been seated in a booth at peak dinner time with only one other person in my party. I hope they're not turning obnoxious!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Stride

          Ditto. I have been seated at a booth as a party of two on many occasions, peak and non-peak times. I find this surprising.

        2. Lucy: my advice to you is: if something makes you uncomfortable when you enter a rest., walk out and go somewhere else. If I saw empty booths and they would not let me sit there, I'd tell them to shove it. Same thing happened to me at Sky rest in Norwood. I walked out and never went back.

          8 Replies
          1. re: libertywharf

            I'm of a different mindset on this. 11:15 on a Thursday is right before the lunch rush, and this place gets busy during lunch hour. I've been going here for years and they try to keep the booths open for larger parties just before lunch and dinner rush starts. It's not like they turned away your business - they let you know their policy and did have seating for you.

            1. re: mbCrispyBits

              I love the Town Diner conceptually, but the reality no longer thrills me. The food seems unexceptional; is there anything on the menu that's exceptional? The prices are not especially cheap. And last time I went it was too much like a diner from long ago: rundown and dirty. I appreciate the (usually) friendly staff and the happy multitudes dining, but these days the famous quote from Yogi Berra sums up my feelings about the place: Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.

              1. re: katzzz

                I lived right across the street from the place for years, never really cared for it. Still live near by and never go. The meatloaf used to be good. The pancakes I imagine still are.

                The service was stilted and awkward at best and often off-putting. The only reason they succeed is that there really are not that many other options, and the whole diner thing has some appeal.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I think the place is just fine; no better, no worse. It does benefit from a lack of competition. And it's certainly not the type of place where I'd expect high levels of customer service (although I've never had a customer service issue there), or where I'd be put off being told I couldn't sit in a booth. Occupying a four top with two people takes money directly out of the restaurant's (and the staff's) pocket, and I certainly can understand why they would want to avoid this.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    I guess you have never heard the phrase - two in hand is worth four in the bush ? ;-)

                    1. re: LStaff


                      And honestly, I've had great customer service on places as modest as this MANY times.

                2. re: katzzz

                  Their corned beef hash is exceptional. It is the real deal; not those Dinty Moore dice potatoes in dog-food consistency corned beef that one often sees.

                  1. re: Splendid Spatula

                    Have to disagree about taking money away from a business at 11:15 in the morning. I understand about wanting to seat during the rush. I think I did NOT take business away from them with TWO people at 11:15. If it were 11:45, maybe I could see the argument, but we would still be buying two meals. They decided they did not want my patronage and were VERY snooty to boot. I really am still upset by this as I realized I had been going there for about 15 years. But it's just not worth it. Anyhow, if the management wakes up and treats people better after this then my message has had a purpose. I just doubt I will ever be back.

            2. I stopped going there after the time I paid with a debit card but left a cash tip and then later on my debit statement the total price was increased by the amount of the cash tip. So somebody wrote it in after I signed the bill. What the hell?

              That was the last straw after they changed their hot dog buns and started charging a little too much.

              2 Replies
              1. re: heypielady

                I hope you called your bank and were refunded.
                Lucy: I am with you in the booth problem. One night in my town I walked into a small rest. It was pouring and the owner said all the tables were reserved. I told him that someone would not show but he refused to seat me. I walked to the nearest place and after eating walked back to the first rest. The place was still empty and I said to the owner, how did your night go.
                Smart rest owners don't live on the dotted line.

                1. re: libertywharf

                  was this place the Sky Rest. in Norwood?