Westside Local is a place we have been eating at since it opened about a year ago. The first four or five times we went the food and service was pretty good, not James Beard award winning great but pretty damn good. I should say it was on par with a local eatery that has kind of a bar, bistro feel to it and is not trying to be a fine dining establishment. I should also say that I have always been impressed with the way Westside Local has looked, and excellent pairings of beer with your food, the selection of beers and wines, and the cocktails that they have served. The food is good, and the place has so much potential. The problem is the service.
I’m sorry folks, the service just sucks. 75% of the times we have been the staff has been surly, or had an “I don’t give a shit attitude”, and tonight was the last straw for us. Anyone that knows Kristy and I know we out all the time. Anyone that knows me, knows I am pretty forgiving when it comes to food and service in a restaurant. It takes a hell of a lot of work to create a dining experience that works so I want to cut them some slack. But the last four times I have been to Westside Local the service has been so bad, that I’ll never go back.
Lets break it down.
The first experience was lunch with my friend Tim back in early June. The two of us arrived just past the lunch rush and decided to eat in the bar. We were 2 of maybe 6 people in the entire place. It took 10 minutes for the bartendress to return from where ever she had been, and then she acted put out that we sat in her section and she was going to have to wait on us. After placing our orders, it took 45 minutes to get 2 roast beef sandwiches. She never returned to ask if we needed our drinks refilled or replenish our water. what should have been a quick 45 minute lunch took almost to hours. There was no apology for the delay, or explanation. Only attitude.
Incident number two. About a month later when our friends Jeff and Sarah were in from Baltimore we brought them to Westside Local for dinner. While our waitress arrived promptly, she had an attitude and seemed put out that Jeff and I were going to split our first beer, a 22 ounce Racer 5 I.P.A. she seemed even more bent out of shape when Sarah and Kristy decided to split dinner. After the ladies placed their order our waitress disappeared and didn’t return to our table for almost an hour. When she did return, she managed to get a new drink order for Jeff and I but ignored Kristy and Sarah walking off before they could even tell her they wanted another drink. The icing on the cake… She was pissed we wanted to split the check evenly between the two couples claiming it was really hard to do.
Incident number three. About two weeks later, Kristy and I met her boss at Westside Local for Happy Hour. When we walked in at 5:00 PM there was no one else in the place. We stood at the front door for about 5 minutes wondering if they were even open, and finally when a chef walked out of the kitchen we flagged him down and asked him. He said yes, told us to sit where ever we liked, and said he would let the wait staff know we were there. So we grabbed a table at the front of the restaurant, between the door to the dining room and the bar, and we waited. And we waited, and waited, and waited. After about 10 minutes another group had arrived and were patiently waiting by the front door, I got up and told them they should just sit down because no one was going to seat them. Finally when we were going to get up and walk across the street the bartendress arrived strolled out of the kitchen area. She was going to blow right past us, but Kristy flagged her down. She was pissed that we grabbed her and asked to order drinks. I mean pissed. There was this whole attitude that just resonated with total loathing of our being there. We managed to get our drink order in and as she left our table, the other table of women tried to flag her down. She blew them off and strolled into the bar. 10 minute later she brought back two glasses of wine, and a beer. Kristy asked her if she was having a bad day to which she replied “Yes” and strolled off to finally wait on the only other table occupied in the place.
Incident four. Tonight we wanted to use a Groupon for Westside Local. When we got their, a total of three tables were filled in the dining room. A couple arrived right behind us, and one other party of four after that. As we sat waiting for service, a waiter took the orders of the couple and the four top and ignored us. we sat and we waited, and waited, and waited. After 15 minutes we managed to get the guy filling water glasses to take our drink order. He told us he would let our waitress know that we wanted to order food and we had been waiting for almost 20 minutes now. 10 minutes later we got our drinks, just as the couple that arrived at the same time as us got their food. Another couple was seated next to us and our waitress came over and took their order, left, brought them drinks, then came to our table to get our orders. We ordered 2 deviled eggs, a burger, and a roast beef sandwich. She left, and we waited, and waited, and waited. The eggs never arrived, but the new couple got both their meals before us. We were getting ready to walk out when the water boy brought us our food. At this point we asked for the manager.
When the manager arrived, he apologized, said he didn’t know what the problem was and told us he would take care of our meals. Good start, but this is where he dropped the ball. He never came back. He never came over and asked us how the food was. The waitress never came back to ask if we needed anything. No one ever came back to our table for more than 30 minutes. When the waitress finally came back she asked if we wanted another round, and we said no we just want to settle up, thinking we were paying for our drinks. She said she would get the check and disappeared. for more than ten minutes. Kristy had to finally get up, find the manager and ask him to help us out. At this point he said he would take care of everything. When Kristy asked him what happened?, why the bad service?, he said the waitress had worked a double today and she was a bit behind. WTF?! Seriously, she worked a double and is a bit behind? I know it’s been a while since I waited tables or tended bar, but I know from experience don’t take a double shift if you can’t pull it off. I feel bad for her for having to work 12 to 16 hours, but the rest of the staff should have had her back and the manager sure as hell should have.
I hate to say it, but I’m not going back. I won’t recommend the place, and I’m going to let everyone I know just how bad the service has been 4 out of the last 6 times we have been. It’s to bad because the place has so much potential, and it feels like it is starting to crash and burn.