I normally don't write reviews because I'm: a) not that picky when it comes to restaurants (especially restaurant service in general) and, b) I usually have better things to do with my time (I happen to have free time right now). However, I feel I owe it to the Good People of Boulder to write this review to save themselves their souls and their hard earned money. The reason why I'm not so picky when it comes to restaurants is because I've worked in them for over 7 years, so I know how sometimes there can be an "off night" with the staff. I've been here twice, so my theory that last night was just an "off night" doesn't hold up when I consider the other just-as-bad evening I've had here. Thus, I've experienced two equally-bad services months apart from each other. Something is going on here, something very troubling my friends....
For starters, I walk into this place and promptly sit at the bar. I am the only one at the bar at this moment. A waiter sees me right away, but refuses to even acknowledge me, nor does he pretend to be in a hurry with whatever else he's got going on (he literally spent 5 minutes pouring 1 glass of white wine-no joke, five minutes). After FIFTEEN MINUTES does this dude finally come and approach me. At this point I was straight up ready to place my order, since I had plenty of time to check out the menu with my fifteen minute wait. So I order my drink--a corona (which he miraculously doesn't spend much time getting for me)--and he takes off again, without asking if I was ready to order any food. *Sigh* another ten minutes rolls around before I finally get to place my order.
The food itself came out in a timely-manner, in about 10 minutes, so I'll give them that. I ordered a chicken quesadilla, and when I got it, the entire bottom was greasy and soggy. It was barely edible. The thing was cut into like 10 tiny pieces rather than your typical 4-6 pieces like any other sane place is likely to do. So I was forced to eat the damn thing with a fork (I am a barbarian and usually eat my burgers and quesadillas with my bare hands). The server comes around and asks me if I'm "all set" while he points to my empty dish. I therefore assume he meant "am I done eating and thereby done with my plate," so I say yes. He then quickly gives me my bill, despite that I was planning to order one more quick beer before I was to go purchase my movie tickets at a theater nearby. Again, he disappears for about 10 minutes before I can get his attention to order my second beer. In addition, after I basically chug this beer, another 10 more minutes comes and goes before get my final, updated bill. As I gathered by the chat from servers nearby, apparently there had been a bartender that was missing in action who was supposed to be there. Which at this point, I realized that may account for my shoddy service and all of this may not have been the poor waiter's fault after all; he's just a cog in a wheel and there seemed to be a missing cog.
Now is where things got ridiculous. The bartender, a cool Spanish guy shows up, supposedly 2 hours late into his shift. He seems happy as can be (after a brief exchange with the apparent owner of the establishment), and I too became happy because I realize I might be able to finally pay my check after all and would be able to leave this dreaded place once and for all. Nope.
At this point, I had my second, updated bill ready to go, with my crisp $20 sitting neatly on top. The Spanish bartender guy grabs my money and literally disappears for FIFTEEN MINUTES. I need to catch a movie, so I'm getting really worried at this point. I'm not sure if he was assuming that that was all in the tip (my bill was about $15), but protocol is to give exact change back and let the guest determine the tip value, right? Anyhow, I finally see this bartender again after fifteen minutes and he explains that someone ELSE will be back with my change. So, he gave my money to somebody else for some reason--the original waiter in fact. At this point, I was about to blow up, because I just wanted my change back. *A longer sigh* -TEN more minutes strolls by before this other person hands back my change. This is after I had personally yelled at him to get attention to ask for my money. Twenty-five minutes to get change back is pretty good, right? I was simply amazed, especially since the owner and the bartender were standing directly in front of my having a casual conversation about God knows what only two feet away from me as I sat there waiting for 25 minutes.
Time elapsed of the entire ordeal:
15 minutes before acknowledged by the staff
10 minutes later I get to place my order after initial the acknowledgment
10 minutes later I receive my food (so 35 minutes after sitting down I am finally staring at food)
10 more minutes to order my second beer
10 more minutes to get my correct version of the bill
15 minutes after I give the bartender my money do I get a second response to its whereabouts
10 more minutes before my change is given back to me
Total time at this establishment: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
I showed up an hour and a half before my movie was going to start just to be safe. I had 10 minutes to spare when it was all said and done, and luckily for me my movie wasn't sold out, so it actually wasn't that big of an inconvenience in the end. Yet, what WAS an inconvenience was the headache the Starlite Diner and Lounge gave me that proceeded to gain tract as I sat through my movie when I started to recall the horrors of that service I had just received. Never again will I return and I hope chef Gordon Ramsey takes it upon himself to accept a real challenge and try to turn THIS establishment around, because I can't imagine how this place could last another year or two, unless the owner enjoys hemorraging money like its nobody's business. After all, I saw three other parties walk out before they even tried to order their food, as they too had been easily ignored.
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