We eat out locally quite a bit and have never tried here due to the word-of-mouth reputation. Despite what we've heard, we tried going there last night and I must say that our encounter satisfied the stereotype that Nanaimo's Cactus Club carries. We never made it into the restaurant as the 5 hostess' didn't seem to be capable of completing the task.
It was a Saturday, busy and loud, but they had 5 employees standing in the entrance (presumably there to greet customers). I couldn't get over how all 5 had blank looks on their faces, each one made eye contact with me several times but none said a single hello, gave a welcoming smile, or otherwise engaged in what one would institute as an initiating means of hosting.
One bright employee walked over to me and asked if I've been helped? She was pleasant and showed initiative until after my answer of "we're just looking for a table for 2" she left me to go back to stand at her post. At this point I was beginning to laugh and it was hard to conceal my smile.
Before things got painful, I asked for a table for 2 to the one employee standing in front of the screen. I didn't get any response from her, she looked down at her screen, studied the display in silence... waited... then gave the news the restaurant is full and we could find a seat in the lounge if any available.
She didn't inform us the wait time, just literally pointed towards the lounge area. The other 4 were still with blank faces.
The lounge was obviously full but we entertained the act of walking the circle around the lounge to be sure we weren't missing out. After our lap, we walked out the door, the 5 still standing post.
Our experience was not negative in any means, just comical. After all I've heard about this place, it was too funny to see it in action. The employees were not at all disgruntled, just un-engaging. All were dressed to the part and displayed ample time spent on appearance. We proceeded across the street to the Longwood were we encountered a greeting both upstairs and downstairs!
Our advice would be to avoid all the chain restaurants, unless you really enjoy the thrilling conversations and riveting expressions the Nanaimo's Cactus Club has to offer.
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