To not write about my experience last night would be a complete disservice to those in the greater Seacoast area. You might be craving a change of scenery. A change I will encourage you not take with an establishment called Spaghetti Stain.
7:50 pm (if I could play the Law and Order “dun dun” I would right here)
I’ll explain. Brad and I were in Dover, waiting for Gunnar at a school function. I had heard there might be some cute new places, so we took the grand tour of Dover and looked around. Nothing seemed different, so we walked over to Blue Latitudes. I love this restaurant for the food and because whenever Courtney is in town, it’s where we meet. Apparently, UNH graduation is this weekend, so tables were not happening for an hour. Ugh. I hate waiting. We left and decided to walk around. Side note: If I had my family in town for graduation, I would have taken them to Portsmouth. That’s just me, but then again I didn’t attend UNH. I digress.
The name should have told me to stay away. Spaghetti Stain. I wonder how many bottles of wine were involved in that decision? They had to be wasted when they signed the paperwork agreeing to it. Maybe a lost bet? Regardless, the name sucks. In fact, we tried to go to a couple other places BEFORE going back. It appeared our only option.
RED FLAG #1. This was the only place without a line. Nice setting. Clean pretty decor. Open room. Cool. This might work.
RED FLAG #2. Upon entering, I’m not joking, the waitresses had a fearful look on their faces. They motioned us to one of those side bars that isn’t on the bar, but against the wall, taking away any chance at leg room. Most people this would bother, but Brad and I actually enjoy sitting close, so it was okay.
At this point I watched an interaction where one waitress looked at us and walked away. Another looked and then looked down. Then a third said (I could see her mouth) “have they been given menus?” This went on for a couple of minutes before one of them drew the short straw and walked over.
RED FLAG #3. Upon giving us menus, the waitress opened dialogue with a hand-written note, crumbled from her pocket. On this note was a list of everything we could not order. Let me see if I can remember funny parts from it: “We don’t have the shrimp that goes in the basket, but we do have the shrimp that goes in the [entree].” I don’t get it. So you have shrimp, but these particular ones were not allowed in a basket…or are you telling me that the frozen shrimp you deep fry is unavailable and you won’t use the fresh (or frozen and just not prebreaded) version? Keep in mind I am allergic to shrimp, this interior monologue was for entertainment only. My favorite thing they were out of was blue cheese dressing. I hate blue cheese dressing, but if everything you have is store-bought anyway, can’t you run down to the grocery store? I don’t get it. Brad and I had smiles on our faces at this point, but we simply ordered our drinks and excused the waitress. The list was very long, needless to say. Apparently they were rearranging their menu– on a Friday night.
RED FLAG #4. 20 minutes later we got our drinks (for mere amusement, we actually starting timing everything with my watch). I’m not joking or exaggerating. This was another instance where I watched the waitresses across the bar do the “have they got their…” routine. Fantastic. OH and we got “well” vodka. Awesome. I said to Brad, “prepare to have a hangover tomorrow.”
RED FLAG #5. When we finally were given our drinks, as the waitress was about to drop them and run, I gave a “we’d like to order now.” The look on her face was priceless. In fact, trying to describe it with words wouldn’t do it justice, but I can tell you what she said: “You do realize that it will take a LONG time for you to get your food, right?” I asked how long. She replied, “Well. 30 minutes.” We had until 9:30, and we were enjoying each other’s company, so we ordered and took a chance. The waitress actually sighed and gave a worrisome “okay” before walking away.
RED FLAG #6. The bread. This might be my favorite part. As I was looking around, I noticed that tables all had bread on them. I flagged the waitress down and asked if we could have some too. “I was just going to ask you that question” was her response. I was actually thinking things might pick up. I excused myself to the lavatory only to come back and find Brad eating a piece of bread. I looked in the basked and saw two more, very small, pieces. “Is that you second piece?” “Nope, they brought three pieces.” “They brought three pieces for two people?” “Yep.” Three pieces and a ramekin filled with butter. Interesting. We both smiled as we split the third piece to share.
RED FLAG #7. The waitress walked over to see if we wanted another drink. I asked about the food. “Well, we were really busy tonight with that ONE table in the back.” I paused. One table. In my SWEETEST voice (if you know me you can hear me saying this) “But it’s a restaurant. And. Well. It’s dinnertime.” She just looked at me. Brad was so funny, watching and being patient, while I know he was thankful I spoke up. Brad did say at this point, “but the tables have cleared, there should be no problem now getting our food.” She then went on to tell us she would check on it. Brad has a way of saying what should have been said, after the person it should have been said to walks away. Trust me, it’s better that way. I watched them make our drinks, run out of well vodka, and switch to Absolut mid pour.
Side note: I realize at this point you might think we are being annoying or troublesome, or high maintenance, but there were about 6 groups of people around us in the same situation. We just spoke up. A man behind us, who we were watching, had a face that got redder by the moment. We actually thought his head was going to explode he looked so angry.
The woman walked back to us to say it would be 15 more minutes. We had had enough. We politely asked for the check and decided anything would be better than this. As it was, we only had 20 minutes before we had to pick up Gunnar from school. I’m beyond starving at this point.
The bill? $45. 9:10 pm
As we stood to leave, Brad walked over to the red-faced man’s table. “I guess this is where you come when you are on a diet!” The man responded, “we thought you were relatives or something with the service you were getting.” Apparently, he was sitting at the bar for 45 minutes and was completely ignored. He moved to a table and was waiting another hour- and they STILL had not taken his order. The table behind red-face sat a family. A girl shouted out “It took us 2 hours!” Unbelievable.
It might seem crass to openly express the horrible service, in the place where the horrible service is being provided, but it seemed to unit us as people, which is always fun. Agreeing on a complaint, or a good “USA! USA!” cheer always brings people together.
And for that, we thank you. -Tosh.0