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Feb 19, 2014 04:41 AM

Bizarre Experience at Michael's (Sarasota)

Yesterday, a group of four went to Michael's about 5:15 PM for drinks and a bar snack before dinner. There were very few patrons in the bar at that time, but we were not the only customers. During most of our time, the wait staff in the dining room was running the vacuum cleaner, the noisiest model I've ever heard. The dining room and the bar are in reality the same room since the bar is divided by only by a wire mesh curtain. The sights and sounds in one area travel easily into the other area.

While the first dining room waiter was using the vacuum cleaner, he was immediately behind us and quickly caught our turning around to look at the source of the noise. He apologized and said the noise would be over in a moment. And it was. However, every one of the waiters took his/turn with the vacuum cleaner in other areas of the restaurant. After the first apology, no one appeared to care about the impact of their behavior since cleaning was not deferred nor were apologies offered nor was something comped for the disturbance.

After the fourth burst of cleaning, one of our group got up to say that we planned to leave. However, he didn't get far from the table when our waiter arrived with our drinks. Since the waiter had been nice and attentive, we didn't want him to get stuck with the cost of our drinks if we left so we asked for the manager. The manager came over as we heard the waiter angrily yelling at the person then working the vacuum. And here's where the situation really got weird.

The manager dispassionately explained the following facts: The bar opens at 4:00 PM. The dining room opens at 6:00 PM. The waiters report to duty at 5:00 PM so that is the time they are required to use the vacuum cleaner. He reported this with no apparent awareness that patrons do not want to drink/dine/socialize with a noisy vacuum cleaner running. Each of us listened to the recitation and thought, "Do you have a clue how dense you sound? Just because that is the time the restaurant has scheduled clean up doesn't mean that's an intelligent decision."

We finished our drinks/snacks and paid. We did not order a second round of drinks; we did not follow through with our plan to eat dinner at Michael's. We drove down Tamiami to Flemings and finished our evening in a welcoming and pleasant atmosphere.

We will not return to Micheal's even after 6:00 PM.

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  1. I agree it's weird. You'd think they'd clean at the end of the night, in case there was a real mess that needed tending to...I don't think it would be enough to stop me from going back, but a high end restaurant (or fast food for that matter) should know better than to clean during the open hours.

    3 Replies
    1. re: joan

      We've been in Sarasota for nearly five months and I've only eaten at Michael's once. The night of the incident was to have been our second dinner. When we've wanted high-end modern American cuisine, we've enjoyed Indigenous. Our three favorite high-end places here are Darwin's, Selva, and Marcell's. The first two made the grade since I can't get Peruvian cuisine in our place up north and I love all the fishy, citrusy goodness of ceviche. Marcell's food is the closest I can come to the food I enjoy in Italy, especially the fish and seafood dishes.

      If I've gone this long with so few visits to Michael's, I can manage doing without entirely. My reasoning is that if management's judgement is so impaired, I'm not interested in finding out what other lame decisions they might have made or how they'd handle a different problem should one arise. (Of course, if a friend were having a catered event at Michael's, I'd attend with a smile.)

      1. re: Indy 67

        I always thought Michaels was overrated. They do have a good cellar, and the $29 dinners are a good value. But everything else, including the decor and piano player are meh. I prefer more interesting menus and food like they have at Mozaic and Selva.

        1. re: Indy 67

          Whoops! Marcello's on S. Tamiami. Not Marcell's