I've eaten at this restaurant regularly since it opened. The food is great however the service is typically hit or miss. I am compelled to share my thoughts about 2 recent experiences here - one that was outstanding because of the very personable African American server Kristina and another that left much to be desired because of someone who I'm assuming to be a manager. On a recent occasion I had plans to meet friends from work for a typical "happy hour" after work gathering. I was the first to arrive and not having planned the event wasn't certain if anyone had called ahead to let the restaurant know to be expecting a larger group of around ten people. Upon arriving and not seeing any of my party in the restaurant yet, I waited by the entrance and was eventually joined by another coworker. We had already informed the hostess that we were waiting for others in our party to arrive; however a Caucasian female, 40's with brown hair pulled back and wearing a nondescript light blue t-shirt came to the front apparently thinking that the hostess had not greeted us. We informed her that we were waiting for others to join us, at which point she began "grilling" us after another of my coworkers who'd arrived mentioned that we typically sat upstairs because we were a larger group. She wanted to know how many people would be in our party and if we'd called ahead. I tried to inform this individual that I did not know, I wasn't responsible for planning the event and I was simply the first to arrive. When my coworker mentioned that we typically sat upstairs, this individual rolled her eyes! It was apparent that we were very much a bother to her because of the fact that we didn't have answers to her 10,000 questions and also because we'd mentioned sitting upstairs. Had I planned the event, at this point I would have walked out of the restaurant and informed the others that due to this woman's very rude behavior we would be dining elsewhere. I had already been told by a server while I was waiting at the bar that we were MORE than welcome to go upstairs. This individual was bound and determined that we would NOT be seated upstairs.
When the rest of our party arrived, the hostess (who was extremely nice) began pulling tables together along the mall concourse area (where no patrons ever want to sit). The service was adequate and the food was very good, so despite the rudeness of this person, whoever she was, we did enjoy our visit, although I don't believe that we will return for happy hour with our work group.
On a second recent occasion with a friend, we had the pleasure of being seated in Kristina's section and were "wow'd" by her excellent customer service and friendly, accommodating demeanor. From the moment we were seated, she struck up a conversation, reviewed the menu with us and was most professional and extremely attentive throughout the meal. She is a definite asset to this restaurant and helped make up for the horrid experience I'd had on my previous visit.
Again I visited Friday, February 15th at 8 PM hoping to be seated in Kristina's section but unfortunately I didn't see her. The restaurant was filled to capacity, so my friend and I had to wait for a seat, along with 4 other parties. While the wait was not long, it's disappointing that the design of the restaurant since the remodel does not allow enough seating. The worse thing that was ever done to this restaurant was removing the front wall of windows along the mall concourse and replacing it with the glass "garage" doors that allow the restaurant to be open to the mall. No one ever wants to sit at these tables, and I certainly don't care to sit out in the mall, which is where these tables are practically located. This design is horrible. The front wall should be replaced and windows put back so that the restaurant isn't open to a mall that is basically vacant of any stores. It's just not at all conducive to a pleasant dining experience, nor does it allow for optimum seating. Typically open air "roll up" doors are used in areas where there is ambiance or a view to be enjoyed. In this case I don't really think that a view of Planet Fitness and an largely empty mall concourse are views that a diner particularly enjoys. It serves no purpose and if anything makes the ambiance much less enjoyable. Since there is obviously not enough seating to accommodate a normal Friday night dining crowd, something needs to be done to add more tables. Getting rid of these "garage type" doors and returning a wall and windows along the front would be a start. I also don't believe that two pool tables and and the couches are necessary upstairs. Add some tables upstairs and allow people to sit up there! Friday's visit was not at all enjoyable due to the wait for a table, being taken to a dirty table to be seated (the hostess was extremely apologetic) and because there was obvious inadequate staffing. The pluses during this visit was that the young female Caucasian server was extremely pleasant, as was the male manager who was on duty who came to the hostess stand to make certain that we'd been helped.
It's a shame that this female (again who I'm assuming to be a manager) is so rude with her eye rolling and attitude, that the restaurant is inadequately staffed on a Friday night and that there is not enough seating. Were it not for the wonderful service by servers like Kristina and the awesome new "cheese" menu that you have (the 5-cheese pasta is DELICIOUS, although grossly overpriced), King Street Grille would not be my first choice of venues. Retrain the manager or keep her away from the public and add adequate seating and you definitely will reap the benefits. With poor management and slow service, your restaurant will fail as have the many that have come before you in this location! I love your concept and the food - but staff training seems to be an ongoing issue from the day this location opened. Your server on February 15th, the male manager and Kristina from my previous visit are all to be commended for excellent customer service. The others could learn a thing or two from these individuals!
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