2805 Williams BLVD, Kenner, LA
Upon arriving at Crowne Plaza after a full day at the zoo, we were starving and grumpy and realized that what was for dinner was no longer for dinner. No Microwaves in hotel room. What to do. We went next door to an Italian restaurant. This is a somewhat small cafe. Somewhat charming, somewhat kitschy. But what really got our attention was the hostess. We arrived at what turned out to be the beginning of the dinner rush. She acted at first like she didn’t want to even be bothered to seat us. She brought us to a small side room with all four tops. I offered, as we do when we go to smaller restaurants like this, to seat the kids at one table and Gabe and I at the other next to it. We’ve done this a lot. It’s really helpful when we’ve got another couple with us because you might have to wait for an hour to get a table for 8, but it’s a lot easier to find two booths that seat 4 next to each other. Plus, the kids are older and have no problem ordering for themselves. We encourage it.
She scoffed at us and I said something about how it’s really OK, we’ve done it before, no big deal, thinking maybe the issue was that she’d never broken up a party like that before. Nope. She replied that the other tables are for paying customers. Then she went and got a small two top to add to the end of ours, effectively blocking the flow of traffic which meant two of my children were constantly bumped by people trying to squeeze by sideways, sometimes with a fully loaded tray of food.
Needless to say, Gabe and I almost walked out right then. At that moment, we were exhausted from three days in a row of heavy walking. We were starving as we’d eaten early before entering the zoo. The hotel microwave situation was a major letdown (which we remedied the following morning, but at the time, it was a big deal….I just wanted some home cooked food that didn’t cost us $150 out the door for the 6 of us). And we’d lost our daughter in the rat maze of a hotel. Now, some kid barely out of high school was telling me that somehow my children wouldn’t be eating food that we paid for? Was it that she thought we’d somehow spend no money on food, so she ought to save the table for four other people who would be forced to pay?
IN the end, we were simply too exhausted to get up and walk down the street for anything else. The sad thing was that while our last nerve had been burned by some idiots rude comment, it was our sweet waitress who had to deal with the fallout. Gabe and I both worked hard to be pleasant, but it was thinly veiled attempt. We were just DONE! By the end of the meal, I clued in our waitress because she continued to be amazing through the whole thing. Once she understood about the hostess and the fact that it had been a really long day to begin with, she visibly relaxed, chatted with us about how she wished she would’ve known and she could seat us somewhere else, saying that there were tons of large tables in the other room and she didn’t know why the hostess had put us there anyways, but she’d gone with it. She said she was going to talk to the manager. I said I’d seen some yelp comments about the hostess, but was still caught off guard. Our waitress was stunned, because she’d never heard anything about the hostess being rude. We all agreed that perhaps the hostess had had a bad day as well, and I wouldn’t be rude to her (in fact, we mustered all the cheer we could find to say good evening to her on our way out), but that for business, it’s a good idea to have someone inviting up front.
OK, on to the food. Ehh. Caesar salad dressing was off. Didn’t taste right. Marinara, as always, not as good as mine. I chose a dish and added a few things to it to make it better. Waitress seemed surprised. Maybe people don’t substitute and add to their food around here. But I was wanting a taste of home, and the meal they had that came the closest was missing three obvious items. The wine was good (as always), but pretty over priced for the labels they had. Usually buying at a restaurant is going to be more expensive. But we know our wines. A $12 bottle was priced at $42. A much bigger mark up than what is usually seen. (That was the price for the bottle, the price by the glass was more, obviously, but we’d looked at bottle prices hoping to get that cost down a bit.)
Most entrees were priced around $15. Kids eat free, if they choose from the kids’ menu, which mine don’t. So I guess if you’ve got two little kids, it would be a “nice meal out” for a bit cheaper. (Note: for anyone reading this and thinking maybe she thought we were going to have four free kids’ meals and that’s what she meant….ALL of my kids were her height or taller. My kids are tall and my youngest can pass for 12. Kids’ menu was for under 12. Plus, you can only get one “free” meal per paid meal.)