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no hot bread with lunch at Bonefish Grill - Lawrenceville


I had a coupon for $10 off two lunch entrees, so we decided to try the new Bonefish Grill in Lawrenceville. It is in the shopping center with the ShopRite across from Quakerbridge Mall.

We ordered two entrees and did not get any hot bread with the pesto sauce. None of the tables near us had it either. Then we noticed that a young couple who were seated about 45 minutes after us had the hot bread. Seems like you have to be in the know and ask for it. Dumb us!

  1. Did you ask for some? Maybe they are charging for it now. Some places are.

    1. You're saying they gave you pesto sauce with no bread, or skipped the bread/pesto altogether?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ebchower

        Skipped the bread/pesto sauce altogether.

      2. What time did you go? Maybe the couple who were seated 45 minutes after you got the dinner menu, while your party, and everyone else were having lunch. btw, how was the food that you did get?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Herm

          We got there after 1pm, so it was possible the young couple got there around 2pm. Maybe that is the lunch/dinner cut-off. I don't know.

          The food was good, but portions were small. I was still hungry. I was counting on the hot bread. :-/

        2. No bread with lunch is a fairly common practice, perhaps the couple you note asked for it. I wouldn't feel slighted by this.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jrvedivici

            The official reply was "you can ask for it and if we have it we will give it to you".

            How is one suppose to know to ask if one has never been to the restaurant for lunch before? The waitress never told us. There was nothing on the menu.

            To me, you treat all your customers the same. This whole episode has rubbed me the wrong way. I have never encountered such practice by a restaurant before.

            They have lost us as customers.

            1. re: ieee488

              Not sure why you're hot under the collar? You dined, you saved $10 and you learned that next time you come in for lunch, ask about the bread.

              Let's put this in perspective: you've now 86'd Bonefish for their hot bread snafu and Peony Pavilion for their $1.25 hot water?

              1. re: Foody4life

                Yes, I have 86'd Bonefish.

                And yes I will not go back to Peony Pavilion. No customer wants to charged for hot tea when they only had hot water.

              2. re: ieee488

                Most diets will recommend skipping the bread at restaurants. I'm sure if they gave it automatically they'd have plenty of it going untouched.

                1. re: ebchower

                  Yeah, I like when restaurants don't automatically bring bread. It's just a waste for me.

                2. re: ieee488

                  I once felt the same when they didn't give me crackers for my sandwich.

              3. I went for lunch 2 weeks ago and asked (since I had kids with me). I was told that they generally don't serve the bread for lunch, only dinner.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lauren75

                  The key word is "generally".

                  So, they weren't *willing* to give you the bread, but how did they determine the other couple near us on Saturday to be more deserving of the bread?

                  1. re: ieee488

                    Supply and demand. Maybe that evening's bread shipment arrived late - around 2.

                    Kind of like ordering prime rib. End cuts aren't listed on the menu so one can't be expecting a place to have an unlimited supply.

                    Not worth getting upset if the end cut or bread's not available when you dine.

                2. Since you knew about it, why not ask?

                  29 Replies
                  1. re: Hobbert

                    The point is I did NOT know about it.
                    Only afterwards.

                    I had only gone for dinner at other locations.

                    The policy is apparently hot bread only if they feel like it which my translation of "you have to ask". Right. Reading minds is one of my talents.

                    1. re: ieee488

                      What's your take on water not being served unless asked for? Restaurants are trying to reduces costs, not waste them. Asking for something seems to be too much effort or the impression you feel slighted.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        My point which you seem not have read carefully is that I don't appreciate have to know to ask for something. It is pointless after the fact.

                        As for asking for water, I think all restaurants should do that to conserve water. It is the green thing to do.

                        1. re: ieee488

                          Why didn't you ask for the bread when you noticed it was had by the young couple?

                          btw. the point made by everyone else is, now you know and it's not pointless. If you can ask for water, you can ask for bread. Now you know. are you going to go into your next excursion and order....not receive any bread and come on here and blast that restaurant too.

                          Go on their website and it clearly states, menus at different locations vary and based on availability..

                          *Our menu may vary by location based on availability and regionality.*

                          1. re: fourunder

                            Because we were finishing our meal when the young couple sat down.

                            I prefer to be treated right the FIRST time.

                            As for "blasting" another restaurant about no bread. No. I was just at TGI Friday's tonight. No bread. As expected. No issues.

                            Uh, yeah, I know menus differ. They're talking about the dishes you order. Not the bread that is apparently off-and-on depending on their mood.

                            1. re: ieee488

                              Hillstone/Houston does not offer bread....you have to ask. Bonesfish Grill can be franchised privately...every location can have their own policy concerning what they offer in terms of food and service.....just like any other restaurant.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                We are not talking about Hillstone/Houston.
                                The policy should be so that every customer KNOWS about it.

                                You want to support them with your $$, go right ahead.
                                I am not.

                                Or perhaps you get comps, so you don't give a hoot what happens. We pay for our meals.

                      2. re: ieee488

                        It just seems like such a waste to be upset. If you were "counting on" the bread as you mentioned earlier, it couldn't have hurt to ask instead of getting all bent out of shape about it. The worst they could've said was no.

                        1. re: Hobbert

                          Right. Ask for bread that no other table had.

                          The policy is apparently pliable. You should read the above post by the woman who asked but was denied.

                          My contention is that every customer be treated the same. If you prefer to be treated worse than another customer, that is your perogative. My money is too hard earned to waste an establishment that has this sort of wish-washy no-accountability policy.

                            1. re: ieee488

                              Wait, what? You've created a no-win situation for this restaurant by expecting them to stick to iron-clad rules, pretty much the antithesis of the hospitality industry.

                              OPTION A:
                              They decide to serve bread to every customer at lunch. By doing this, they a) increase food costs (and pass it on to you via higher pricing) and b) waste food (not everybody wants bread with their meal, especially at lunch which most people view as a lower-calorie meal.) You'd probably get a lot more people complaining about the price hike (although I personally would be upset at the pointless food waste) than you'd ever get from people currently upset that they weren't offered "free" bread.

                              OPTION B
                              The restaurant must treat each customer absolutely equally, sticking with their practice of not serving bread with lunch. If a customer asks for bread, they must say no. Again, the amount of complaints they would get from customers upset at this lack of flexibility would likely far outweigh any complaints from customers upset that they weren't offered bread.

                              Maybe you're missing the actual reality of the situation here, which is that all customers ARE being treated equally. If the bread is currently available in the kitchen at lunchtime, then it's available to any customer upon request. It sounds like it's not usually made at lunchtime, so it's not usually going to be available, but maybe you'll be there on a day when they have more prep cooks working the lunch shift, or maybe they're getting more prep work done in expectation of high reservations that evening, or maybe the bread order came in early. The restaurant can't predict those things, but they're in the hospitality business, and if they have the bread available, they aren't going to say no just because it's not their general policy to offer it.

                              I'm struggling to teach my son that in life, the rules are not black and white. In reality, rules are fluid. Sometimes that will work in your favor, sometimes it won't. It's important to realize that when you don't always get what you want, and you see someone else with what you want, it's not the universe conspiring against you to make your life awful and make other people's lives great. It's just how that particular moment plays out in time... sometimes in your favor, sometimes not. It never hurts to ask but you always have to be ready to accept "no" graciously.

                              1. re: Chris VR

                                The win-win is to treat every customer equally.

                                What is the point of keeping the availability a secret so that the customer has to ask for it?

                                How exactly is the customer suppose to know to ask? I only know there is bread because they served it at dinner. If I was a total newbie, how would I know if they did not FIRST inform me of it? Read minds?

                                1. re: ieee488

                                  Every customer is being treated equally. No customer is offered bread at lunch. Every customer (I assume) has the option to request bread and if it's available, they'll get it. I don't work there and I don't know what's really going on but that's how it sounds to me.

                                  1. re: Chris VR

                                    Again, how does the customer know that they have option to request the bread when this customer is a complete newbie to the chain? Read minds?

                                    Even though I knew they have bread for lunch, I did not know and was not told that I had the option to request the bread for lunch.

                                    I think it is a deliberate attempt by them to hide it and thus have deniability.

                                    1. re: ieee488

                                      If I'd been to, say, Outback Steakhouse several times, and was always served their loaf of bread with butter on a cutting board, but on my fourth or fifth visit didn't receive it, I'd wonder why. And then I'd ask, and find out that it was 'on demand'.

                                      If you're the sort of person who wants bread, even if you've never been somewhere, you'd ask if bread was provided. I don't think the restaurant is trying to hide something or deliberately make your life harder.

                                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                                        I have *never* had to ask for bread at Outback Steakhouse.

                                        As for Bonefish Grill's bread at lunch policy, I have no idea what their motivation is.
                                        All, I know is that is hidden. And customers are told different things depending on how the wind blows reference Lauren75's post above.

                                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                                          Outback and Bonefish have the same parent company, Bloomin' Brands, Inc.

                                        2. re: ieee488

                                          I would guess that most people know that bread exists, and is served by restaurants, and if you want something in a restaurant, you always have the option to ask (and usually, pay) for it. It's just how restaurants work. If a customer has never been to a restaurant in their life, this may feel like something that needs to be explained, but I think most restaurants are generally safe in their assumptions that most of their diners know how restaurants work.

                                          I think it is not a deliberate attempt by them to hide it and thus have deniability.

                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                            OP's contempt for this restaurant defies logic.

                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                              I can't say why Bonefish Grill has this policy.

                                              To me and the other first time lunch customers it was hidden.

                                              The phrasing of the policy is interesting and allows for deniability. If we have it, you can request it.
                                              So lawyerish.

                                            2. re: ieee488

                                              Deniability? This is not Murder on the Orient Express. It's a few pieces of bread at a cheap lunch with a coupon.

                                              1. re: ieee488

                                                Actually, come to think of it, I did request bread on my last visit to Bonefish. I was meeting my family for dinner who were all running extremely behind (by an hour it turned out, but I didn't know until after I was seated). I kindly informed my server of this so that he knew our table would be a "low service" table for awhile until they showed and he could continue to have other tables sat, and then I asked for some bread while I was waiting. I received it with no problems. I don't think I would've received it at that point had I not asked. If there's a lesson to be learned by this for you, it's ask, and if at all possible, most likely you will receive.

                                                1. re: SaraAshley

                                                  No, you missed their response.

                                                  You can KNOW to ask, and you *may* receive it at LUNCH.

                                                  You experience was at dinner.

                                                  I have never had a problem with them immediately bringing the hot bread at dinner.

                                                  1. re: ieee488

                                                    Well, I'm letting you know that this time my server did not automatically bring the bread at diner while I was waiting for the rest of my party to arrive, but that I asked and I received.

                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                      Why would your server bring bread to a table that wasn't ready to begin the dining process?

                                                      You asked and received at DINNER.

                                        3. re: ieee488

                                          But...you'd had the bread before so why not just ask? It seems like a waste of time to be so upset about bread when you could've just asked. I haven't been to a Bonefish in awhile but I don't think the ones down here (DC area) bring bread automatically which I think is nice. No need to waste food if customers don't want it.

                                          1. re: Hobbert

                                            How is it wasting food, if the customers are TOLD it is available? In other words, telling the customer they can have bread if they want it. You don't immediately bring it to the table.

                                      2. re: ieee488

                                        Are you sure that the young couple did not ask for the bread, and were served it without requesting it?

                                        "The policy is apparently hot bread only if they feel like it which my translation of "you have to ask". Right. Reading minds is one of my talents."

                                        Do you expect the staff to read your mind and know how critical unrequested bread is for your dining exprience? I realize this may come off as snarky, but I don't mean it to be. All I mean to say that restaurants are not always aware of the customer's expectations, since they can be so variable.

                                        I'm sorry you didn't realize that getting bread was possible until it was too late.....and even so, the effort of asking for the bread at the beginning of the meal is something that is not in your comfort zone. If getting bread without having to ask for it is important to you, then it sounds like this restaurant is going to continue to be a miss for you at lunch (unless you become a regular patron and staff can get a handle on/feel for your needs.....but I'm not here to question your decision to bid Bonefish Grill farewell.)

                                        1. re: 4Snisl

                                          My comfort zone is that restaurant tells me what is and isn't available at the beginning of the meal.

                                          No guessing. No asking.

                                          Simple isn't it?

                                          And yet Bonefish Grill chooses to make it difficult.

                                    2. If bread's your thing, make a trip to the Walpack Inn. It's their pride and joy.


                                      1. Ate at Bonefish Grill in Lawrenceville Sunday. We got bread and pesto.. That's about all. The service was non-existent. We ordered salads as an appetizer. They never came. The server said that he "forgot." We got the wrong main courses and after a 1/2 hour wait, we finally got the right order. I only wish that I could complain about NOT getting bread instead of the disaster which is the BG. Never again!!!!!!!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: cuddles115

                                          Yeah, our waitress wasn't that great either.

                                          Maybe that is why the restaurant was half empty.

                                          1. re: ieee488

                                            Being that the average Bonefish accommodate approx 150 people, most restaurants would be pleased with 75 people for lunch. It's all a matter of perspective.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              Here's my perspective...the only time bread is truly important in a dining decision is for a sandwich. If I want bread, for lunch or dinner, before my order arrives, I ask for it...whether I have to pay for it or not would not be a concern or issue. I would not feel I should be offered the option or entitled to it. I would understand the restaurant's policy is in effect as it sees fit for it's own best interest in prudence ...and not assume it has slighted or deceived me to save themselves to piss off their customers

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                Sheesh, four, you're so effing logical! How have you lived so long without being beaten into submission :)

                                        2. This whole thing is about somebody not being offered complimentary bread? Strange.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: creamfinger

                                            Why yes. It is.

                                            Apparently, others have a strong opinions.

                                          2. Well, I do expect bread when I dine at Bonefish, since I've always received it on every occasion dining there. I've never had to ask for it, but I don't think I've ever been for lunch. Anyways, long story short, if I didn't receive the bread automatically and really wanted it, I would just ask. Seems pretty simple.

                                            I understand OP being a little bit annoyed that another table did receive bread, but apparently that was the only table that did, so my guess is that they asked. :) know OP knows better.

                                            Btw, when I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was going to be about being served cold bread. :)

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: SaraAshley

                                              If you were a complete newbie would you really ask????

                                              You write that you would ask, because you have been to the restaurant chain and know that they serve complimentary bread.

                                              Would you know to ask if you went there for the first time, for lunch and saw no other table with bread? Would you really know to ask then?

                                              1. re: ieee488

                                                No, I wouldn't know to ask in the situation that you just described, but like jr said, if I'm wondering about something, I do ask. From your original post, you really do describe the situation as if you did know and are very familiar with the bread, even knowing that it's served with pesto sauce. I'm not sure how you'd be able to tell what kind of sauce it was served with from across another table.

                                                Either way, since this is very important to you, might I suggest that you go into every restaurant and while ordering, ask whether complimentary bread is served with the meal? If you do this you will never have to be pissed off at not receiving bread again.

                                                1. re: SaraAshley

                                                  At every other restaurant I have ever been to, I have NEVER had to ask whether complimentary bread is served or not.

                                                  1. re: ieee488

                                                    How do you know? Maybe they did have it but only give it out to those that ask.

                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                      How do I know what?

                                                      Complimentary bread was always provided without asking in my experience.

                                            2. Maybe the OP can share the corporate response to their apparent facebook post??


                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: Foody4life

                                                Nice detective work Foody, although a little scary!

                                                I too would like to know the official response from corporate since you did reach out to them. Please share.

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  The corporate response is asking whether we contacted the "manager". We called up on Sunday which is when we were told the "official policy" that I posted above.

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                                    How about this for thought and development. The OP has stated they have written off Bonefish who has lost them as customers......

                                                    Yet, they have been in contact with corporate., who will probably have the Lawrenceville location issue them a gift card for a free lunch for two...or an appropriate dollar amount.

                                                    I bet...they will there again., since they won't have to pay for their meals.

                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                      And probably throw them some bread to be rid of them once and for all, like ducks on a pond.

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        I'd write them off....i.e., the customers. All the complaining added to Facebook, Yelp or the like will be seen for what it is....not a big deal and not enough to prevent anyone from going to a Bonefish Grill in the future.

                                                      2. re: fourunder

                                                        I don't know, four. When I'm truly through with a company, I'll contact them to let them know why. I did that a few years ago with Lowes.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          They went there with $10 coupon. A principled patron would not go at all....or offer it to others since they do not have anything positive to say about the place. Free though, changes minds quickly. I'd even bet they ask for seconds on bread. to make up for the prior visit.

                                                          Why respond with your contact information if you truly have written them off? Me thinks someone is looking for a comp. Ironic since they disparaged me with the thought.

                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                            Because I want EVERYBODY who is their "friend" on their Facebook to see that this is their policy.

                                                            So, that Lauren75 above also knows that she was lied to.

                                                            1. re: ieee488

                                                              Nobody "lied" to Lauren75. They told her, truthfully, that 'generally' they don't serve bread to people at lunchtime. It's on-demand. This is pretty standard stuff, but now you're accusing them of lying to customers, "hiding" their motives, and 'having deniability'... for not automatically giving you free bread.

                                                              1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                How was Lauren75 suppose to know it is on-demand?

                                                                1. re: ieee488

                                                                  By asking, like diners do every single day in restaurants all over the world. That's what she did, and they answered her truthfully.

                                                        2. re: fourunder

                                                          No, no gift card. Interesting that is how your mind works.
                                                          The corporate just passed the buck back to the franchise.

                                                          You apparently don't understand that this is about the principle of treating every customer the same.

                                                      3. re: Foody4life

                                                        I am sure Bonefish Grill does not care that I share their private communication, that you are so EAGER to hear.

                                                        we're so sorry for the disappointing experience. By chance, did you get the opportunity to speak with a manager during your visit?

                                                      4. It's a shame this is a serious post. My brain can much better comprehend this statement as an Onion headline.....sigh.....

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: enbell

                                                          It just so happens that The Onion has already addressed this important issue. If only the OP had read this


                                                          before visiting Bonefish Grill, s/he might have actually been grateful for the lack of bread.

                                                          1. re: small h

                                                            Best. Link. Ever.
                                                            The plight of the appetite-conservation activists is an uphill battle, indeed!

                                                            I try to stay out of discussions like this but Tuesdays are the day of the week I volunteer at the local food closet. This bread mahana-mahana makes my eyes roll compared to the families I saw today who are seriously struggling. UGH!!!

                                                          2. re: enbell

                                                            It is pretty funny saying more or less
                                                            they should have proactively offered me an item that is not generally available but only on request!
                                                            Erm...then it would not be on request.

                                                          3. Folks, at this point, this thread is just going in circles and getting testier and less friendly as it goes along. We're going to lock it now.