I have lived in Banner Elk for 2 years, I used to come here for the great food and the great atmosphere that so many restaurants just don't have in the high country. My fiance and myself made it our weekly/bi-weekly treat to head to Sorrento's and blow off steam at the end of the week by sharing a pizza and a bottle of wine. As grad students this was not cheap, but it was a great time and the staff was fantastic. However, sometime around March of this year (2011) their service REALLY declined. Since March, each time we would come in, we would be seated and then greeted 10 minutes later by a waiter or waitress would tell us it was their first night or they were new. This was fine, except after it happened several weeks in a row (with different waiters) we got worried. We were also increasingly disappointed by the service, as the new waiters were not on top of the menu and wines, and they were not very personable.
The service became worse with each visit. On several occasions, our pizza would come out over/undercooked after we sat at a table for an hour, drinking a bottle of wine waiting on it. The dinner rolls (my favorite) would be forgotten to be given to us, and on several occasions it was obvious we received terrible service because we weren't older or weren't a large party. For example, during one visit our waitress was extremely attentive to the retirees, chatting them up and such and getting them to order lots of items, while we sat with no water or wine left and we wanted to order additional items, but couldn't get her attention.
I wanted to believe it was the same great Sorrento's I'd been eating at since 2009, which is why I kept coming back for a while. However, after I took my family there for my grad school graduation this May and we were treated extremely rude for arriving 15 minutes early for our reservation, I will not go back. Now I go elsewhere for my weekly night out, where I feel my money is appreciated and the staff doesn't forget we are still seated.
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