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another rant about drink menus with no prices

d
DivaMari Mar 11, 2013 07:04 AM

It was a beautiful day in Pennsylvania on Sunday. In that happy weekend good weather mood, so we went to dinner at a local mexican restaurant. We had been there several times. The NEW multipage page drink menu had great pictures and no prices. I know the margarita prices were reasonable, so I did not give the no price issue another thought. I ordered the special margarita, because it was a nice day.

Thank goodness the waitress told me the price of the drink I ordered was $35. Yes $35, that was more than the cost of our two meals. It was made with a high quality Patron tequila. I change my order to a regular margarita.

Buyer beware

  1. Midlife Mar 24, 2013 10:58 AM

    We had dinner, last night, at a local place that is always quite good but is still rather new and seems to be feeling their way a bit. It's essentially Italian, but very "American" as well. Each table has a bottle of wine on it.........certainly there to encourage bottle sales, and they have a separate drinks menu folder WITH prices..

    On our table was a bottle of Michele Chiarlo Gavi. I'm got a rather extensive wine background and know this is not pricey by any means but can be a good basic accompaniment to seafood (which we were having). But............ the wine was NOT on the wine list.

    When I asked the server about that she seemed to think we were asking a BTG price (maybe because we had shared a split of Prosecco first, I don't really know). Anyway........... it took a couple of back-and-forths to get her to understand that we wanted that wine with dinner but wished to know the price. (In this case I know the wine retails in the mid teens and just wanted to be sure their price was fair.) She finally agreed to ask for us (ya think?) and the wine was, indeed, just $15............. more than fair). So............... all's well?

    Not exactly. The price(less) issue behind us we then found that they didn't have a bottle of the Gavi in their cooler (probably ours was the last one they had?). Anyway............ 20 minutes later the server brings the bottle in one of those very narrow stainless wine chillers...... the kind with very little room for ice. I don't know how they'd tried to chill it in those 20 minutes, but it was still not very well chilled. Happily I made a deal with the busboy and got some ice to fill up the chiller enough to bring down the temp pretty quickly.

    End result............. a pretty good meal. Although............. they'd run out of bread and risotto by 8:30 (on a night they're open until 2AM).

    Oh, yes............... this is about no prices on menus. So here we had no price, no listing, AND a server who wasn't at her best. All in all, though, nice anniversary dinner regardless. Thanks everyone................ you just saved be about $300 in shrink bills.

    1. KaimukiMan Mar 22, 2013 08:06 AM

      call your local liquor commission. In most jurisdiction it is required that drink prices be posted - somewhere.

      1. PotatoHouse Mar 15, 2013 01:10 PM

        While I am not above paying $35 for a top shelf 'Rita while experiencing a special restaurant and/or event, they better be COMPLETELY homemade (absolutely NO bottled Triple Sec, they better make their own with fresh oranges and dang good grain alcohol).

        1. jrvedivici Mar 14, 2013 06:12 AM

          In honor of the new Pope I will answer in Latin;

          " emptor Caveat"

          The winner can buy me an $35. drink. lol

          1 Reply
          1. re: jrvedivici
            j
            jpc8015 Mar 14, 2013 07:07 AM

            Let the buyer beware...I will pass on my winnings.

          2. Will Owen Mar 13, 2013 04:37 PM

            I'd leave. It's bad enough when you practically have to waterboard the server to get prices on the daily specials, but priceless drinks? AND food? Honey, I'm gone.

            1. westsidegal Mar 11, 2013 10:51 PM

              let me add to the rant.
              not only do i hate having drink menus that don't show a price, i also hate food menus that don't show prices.
              it's ok if one or two items show MP as the price, but when a whole page of specials don't have prices shown, no good in my book.

              also, if i were in your shoes, i'd have left that waitress a nice tip for saving me from an unpleasant experience. in all probability, restaurant management would not have been happy with her had they known what she did. she may have, in fact, risked her job by warning you.

              1. c
                cleobeach Mar 11, 2013 10:48 AM

                Thumbs up to the waitress that mentioned the price.

                My husband had an unpleasant surprise once when a waitress asked him if he wanted to upgrade his tequila. He said yes to the upgrade and yes to the larger size. (neither option was shown on the menu, base drink prices were)

                Ended up with an $18 margarita made with that awful, from a carton sour mix. He should have asked the price ahead of time but never expected an $18 margarita at a local joint where most entrees were $10.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cleobeach
                  t
                  tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 13, 2013 06:46 PM

                  Upgrading the liquor and still using a drink mix from a carton takes a lot of gall.

                2. k
                  khuzdul Mar 11, 2013 10:45 AM

                  It is good that the waitress told you! At least it's not like Nello's "market price" truffle dinner special pricing last year.

                  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/yo...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: khuzdul
                    c
                    cresyd Mar 12, 2013 06:24 AM

                    Woa....talk about a rough surprise.

                    While I understand the requirement of buyer beware and not getting duped, I think it's perfectly fair to be irritated by such practices. As the article shows, Nellos is clearly establishing its own colorful reputation based around other points besides spectacular service. But good on the waitress for speaking up.

                    For better or worse, I do think that there remain some feelings that it's declasse to ask for the price, or the attitude of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it". But when the market price items cost that much more than the other similar items on the menu, it really doesn't help anyone.

                    1. re: cresyd
                      westsidegal Mar 13, 2013 08:10 PM

                      it's the restaurant version of a speed trap

                  2. LindaWhit Mar 11, 2013 10:15 AM

                    That's insane! I can't imagine how many they've caught up in that scam. Definitely buyer beware. And ASK FOR PRICES. I'd feel sorry for the waitstaff having to give prices on everything if everyone started asking for prices.

                    1. pinehurst Mar 11, 2013 09:35 AM

                      After I picked myself up from a dead faint re. the 35 dollar (mixed I presume?) drink, I applaud this post and whoop my approval of your rant.

                      This bugs me too, and is becoming more and more the norm in my corner of NE Mass., from virgin cocktails/"kids' cocktails" to mixed drinks.

                      Abhorrent.

                      1. t
                        treb Mar 11, 2013 08:49 AM

                        Never assume when it comes to pricing, ask for prices before ordering.

                        1. l
                          LeoLioness Mar 11, 2013 07:56 AM

                          That's absurd. I'm having trouble with the idea of a menu with pictures and a $35 drink--doesn't seem to go together.

                          1. d
                            Dinermite Mar 11, 2013 07:47 AM

                            I learned early on that if something doesn't have a price on it, it's more than likely too expensive.

                            1. j
                              jujuthomas Mar 11, 2013 07:23 AM

                              wow!

                              1. j
                                jpc8015 Mar 11, 2013 07:12 AM

                                Criminals

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jpc8015
                                  a
                                  Ariadanz Mar 22, 2013 04:15 AM

                                  This infuriates me so much that my normal procedure is to simply refuse to buy alcohol at places that won't put the damn drink prices on the menu.

                                  Places that are primarily bars are exempt from this personal policy because a. I rarely go into a bar, and b. generally speaking my bar purchases are pretty simple - a pint of something, a jack and coke or whiskey sour etc. If I order anything past a spirit and 1 mixer I start asking prices, ditto if the spirit costs more then about $25 a fifth at my local liquor store.

                                  Sometimes I will want a drink so badly I ask the price first and then decide if I want to order it for that price. But I just hate having to ask prices at a restaurant. If you can give me a menu with pictures and/or descriptions of the cocktails you can put a price on there too.

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