My husband and I had a gift certificate for the Cascade Lodge and decided to use it for a nice New Years Eve dinner. We called to make a reservation, and arrived on time for it at 8pm. We had read previous negative reviews, but had also seen some positive ones, so we went with an optimistic attitude. Entering the building, we did notice a musty odor, but attributed it to a pretty typical "old lodge" smell. Upon entering the dining area upstairs, we were unclear on where to go to be seated until another patron told us to go to the bar. There were a decent number of tables full, but some were still empty, and it looked like there were many staff going in and out of the kitchen. The hostess, an elderly woman who spoke to us while chewing on a dinner roll, sat us promptly near a kerosene heater, and told us it "might be a little while" until someone served us. Another woman promptly brought us some water.
After sitting for 45 minutes, I finally was able to flag down a waitress to ask for menus. She looked surprised and said, "Oh, I am terribly sorry, we normally would have brought you rolls and cocktails by now!" She scurried off and brought the menus. We are very patient diners, especially since I waitressed in the past, so we laughed the 45 minute wait off, sure that this waitress would take care of us now that she realized we were forgotten.
At 9:15, the woman who had brought us water came back to refill our glasses. We told her we had been there for an hour and 15 minutes and wanted to place our order. She said, "Oh, that's not good," and ran off to get someone. A waiter approached us very apologetically, assuring us he would give us the best service we ever received and would try to get something taken off our bill. He said, "I would wish you a happy New Year, but I doubt you are very happy. And since you've been waiting so long, you probably know what you want to eat, so can I take your entire order?" So, we placed our order for 2 cocktails, french onion soup, lobster mac and cheese, and filet mignon. A bit frustrated by now, we still tried to be patient and give them the benefit of the doubt.
The waiter approached the hostess, and she must not have realized how loud she was, because we clearly heard her complaining to him how it was not the staffs' fault, WE should have made sure they didn't forget about us. She was sitting in a clear line of sight to our table, watched us try to flag down waitstaff, and had told us when she sat us down that we might have to wait! The waiter went into the kitchen and returned with our cocktails and hot dill rolls. He informed us that we would receive the most expensive entree we ordered for free.
After our bread and cocktails arrived, we did not see the waiter for another 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the parties around us all finished their meals and left. A waitress brought them comment cards to fill out, and we heard them discussing their dissatisfaction with the food and service. The waitress told them that there are barely any "real" staff, and that she had been hired on Thanksgiving and had only worked two days since then. She told them they didn't have an official bartender and were all just doing random tasks. Once we were the only party left in our section of the restaurant, surrounded by un-bussed tables, that same waitress walked by and commented to us on how chilly it was in the restaurant, but then chuckled and said, "Oh well, I like a little breeze when I go out to eat."
Finally, at 10pm, two hours after we arrived, the waiter returned to ask if we wanted our cocktails refilled, with no reference to when we might be served dinner. Since we still had not even received our soup 45 minutes after finally ordering it, we asked to cancel our orders and get our check for the cocktails. He went back to the kitchen, then returned to say, "You guys are good to go," as he snatched our bread basket and walked away.
It was the first time we ever walked out of a restaurant without having eaten, and we left a tails up penny on the table. We now have a $100 gift certificate for a restaurant we really don't care to return to! I felt kind of bad for the waitstaff because it was clear that management was non-existent, but still, common sense and good nature would have solved many of the problems we encountered.
Hopefully, if this place closes down, which I could certainly see happening, someone with some business sense will purchase it and make it nice again. It's such a pretty location in the country, and the fact that there is a trout stream in the basement is certainly unique. Until there's new ownership, though, stay away!
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