I'd like to relate the story of what my wife and I experienced at Il Fornaio in the Reston Town Center, Reston Virginia on Sunday, May 19, 2013.
As you may be aware, this Sunday was the Reston Arts Festival at the Town Center. We spend a couple of hours touring the exhibits and then decided that pizza and salad at Il Fornaio would be a nice lunch to top off a pleasant day at the Arts Festival. Although my wife remembered that our most recent dinner expereince at Il Fornaio resulted in a bad evening with poor service and mediocre food, we decided to be fair and give it another try.
At approximately 1:05 pm, we found the restaurant to be nearly deserted despite the crowds attendant at the Arts Festival. We asked for, and were seated at an outside table. Our waiter came by and asked for drink orders. We asked only for water, with lemon. He quickly delivered the water and a bread basket. We were ready to order, and ordered a pizza and a house salad. We didn't see him again until 20 to 30 minutes later when he brought 4 lemon wedges for our water. In the meantime, people had been seated in front of and behind our table, after we were seated. They ordered and were served, while we waited for our order, which had been given before their arrivals. We did not see our waiter except when he served the other tables. He finally stopped at our table when I asked him about our order, at this point about 45 minutes after we ordered. He said that he had checked with the chef and it would be right out. We did not see him again. At approximately 2:10 pm, we decided to leave the restaurant, as there was no sign that our lunch would be delivered, and since our "nice afternoon lunch at Il Fornaio" was already dead in the water. Our previous experience at Il Fornaio proved to be the rule. I saw the waiter on our way out, and informed him that we were leaving. I even offered to pay for the bottled water, which he said was not necessary. He apologized - we do not hold him responsible, although he could have been more pro-active in keeping us informed of the kitchen's progress and in moving the kitchen to produce what I assume is a fairly simple meal to prepare.
There are too many good dining choices in the Reston area, and throughout the Washington DC area to spend further time at Il Fornaio, and I assure you that we will not visit again, nor will we recommend it to others, although we will discourage anyone who asks about dining there.
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