On Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, two friends and I went to Scarlet Begonia's for dinner prior to going to the Brunswick Music Theater for the 7:30 show. Upon our arrival (5:50) we explained to our waitress of our theater plans, and she assured us this would not be a problem.
At 6:20 the waitress arrived with our drinks and took our dinner orders (all 3 of us ordered pasta dishes). Again we mentioned the time factor to her. Since my friends and I do not see each other as often as we used to, we got caught up in each others company and did not notice the time flying by.
We were very surprised to find is was now 6:58pm and still had not yet received our dinners. This prompted us to leave ample $$ to cover our drinks & tip on the table. (We don't know what happened to our waitress - she never did check back on us once she received the dinner orders.)
I went to the desk and politely (and quietly) explained to the hostess (I later found out from the website that the hostess Sallie LaVallee is the owner's daughter) that we were leaving and did not feel obligated to pay for meals we had not received in a timely fashion. She became inflamed. Sallie not only insisted that we still had plenty of time to eat our meals (that were sitting on the counter in the kitchen) and still get to the play by 7:30, but she absolutely demanded that we pay for the meals we had never received! She further informed us (and everyone else in the dining area) that she would call the police if we did not pay. Sallie had become obnoxiously loud, extremely rude and obstinate.
At this point the Owner/Chef Doug LaVallee came out of the kitchen. Mr. LaVallee confronted me and reiterated that we had ample time to eat (it was now after 7:00) and get to the play by 7:30. He kept repeating that we must pay for the meals or we would in fact be arrested. (Seriously ???) I continued to politely refuse to pay and told them to do what they had to do. I left the building and Mr. LaVallee followed me out. The police were called and arrived, so rather than be arrested for the meals we did not get in a timely manner, we succumbed and paid just so we could get out of there as soon as possible. We were publicly embarrassed & humiliated, threatened with arrest, and absolutely bullied into paying for a meal that by now had been boxed up (& we threw into the trash.) But most of all I was very disappointed that we could not intelligently resolve this issue with the Owner/Chef Doug LaVallee.
We have since talked with restaurant managers & owners in the Coastal Maine , Northern Maine & New Hampshire areas - they are truly amazed at our story. Not one of these Owners or Managers could believe how poorly we were treated and threatened! Not one of them could (or would) condone or support Doug LaVallee's decision to have us pay for the meals or be arrested.
This story is quickly circulating through our families, friends, business associates, clients, etc. - NO MORE SCARLET BEGONIA's for them either!
By the way, anyone interested in a truly delightful dining experience might consider the Inn at Brunswick Station. The food is exquisitely prepared, the atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the service is truly friendly and professional.