Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Aug 16, 2012 07:50 AM

Michael at Winnetka

We had dinner the other night at Michael in Winnetka. The food was every bit as good as we expected after reading the opinions here. I have a much different concern that I thought Iā€™d discuss here, looking for feedback.

The dining room manager is from South America and the rest of the dining room staff is Mexican. He ā€“ the manager ā€“ speaks harshly to them in Spanish in the dining room, assuming the guests do not understand. He also made an unkind comment about a diner that was bothering him. My wife and I are native Spanish speakers and were a bit put off by this. I find this unprofessional and am thinking about writing the restaurant. Of course, the manager might be the one reading the mail and simply toss it.

What would others do?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I found the gentleman in question to be cold and officious during a visit a few weeks ago. He seems to warm up only to regular customers.
    When I have emailed the restaurant from its website links, Michael himself has responded, so I think going through standard channels should be fine.

    1. I have eaten there numerous times and have not observed such language or comments, even though I am fluent in Spanish. I am not disputing what you say, only noting that it is not always the case, based on my observations.

      As noted above, Michael himself handles the e-mail - he was incredibly helpful when asked about one of his recipes by my SO - so I would suggest going that route, since you are obviously sufficiently concerned that you would like to pass the information along. It could help make the restaurant even better for all concerned.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. It did happen, I am not suggesting it is a routine occurrence, and I'm also not intending to create an employment issue for the individual involved. We live in the Northshore and my interest is to help a successful local business with a bit of constructive feedback. A carefully worded note, as suggested. Thanks to both.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mbpg

          Alright, I need to throw my two cents in about this bully.

          We ate there in May - the exact same thing happened....I don't know if he was swearing at the staff (my Spanish isn't so hot), but his volume, tone, and behavior was baffling.

          I witnessed, I kid you not, him walk directly in front of a food runner, just to block his way. He saw him coming, stood to get in his way, didn't say anything, just blocked his way to make the guy walk AROUND him - food in hand - when the guy passed him, the manager turned around and scowled at the guy. Lots of yelling - in Spanish - in the dining room, at times within inches of me. The whole night. We were there three hours. IN THE DINING ROOM.

          The food was great, but he created the most hostile environment I have ever seen.

          1. re: chris

            I find this an interesting thread. Sounds to me like someone has watched too much Hell's Kitchen. I hope you do send your constructive feedback to Michael.