Located on the main street through historic Ellicott City, this cafe looked like a cute place to stop and a good option between a sandwich shop and a sit-down restaurant. We were seated by a friendly hostess who handed us menus, but then were told we had to order at the window in the back. Odd to have to stand in line and pre-pay for food.
The mushroom soup was tasty, the panini was good, but the grilled salmon over greens was gross. We each took a bite, and something was definitely off. Here's where things get strange...
We asked the waitress to replace our $14 salad with the $8 hummus platter. Since we had to prepay, we decided to not make a big deal about getting a credit. We enjoyed the hummus, meager portion that it was, but were surprised when the waitress brought us a bill. "What is this for?" we asked. We were told that since we ordered hummus, we were being charged -- but we had returned the inedible and more expensive salad?? After much ado, which included the owner yelling at the server in the kitchen, we were told that we would be charged $5 for our 2 bites of fish. Ummm, OK. Weird. But since we had already written off the cost, that was fine. So it was essentially a wash, and we left.
No sooner had the door closed behind us than the owner came running out onto the street asking us where we were going. He accused us of leaving without paying the bill. This was a very uncomfortable conversation to be having out in the street, in plain sight of patrons and passersby. But after explaining the situation, we emphasized that in fact we were owed $1. At this point we didn't care about the buck, we just wanted to go our way and never return. When he realized his error, the owner was apologetic but blamed the mistake on his staff. Truly not a man in the holiday spirit.
Bottom line: after reading some of the other reviews, our experience was not the only one like it. No need to stand in line to order food, no need to risk being charged by the bite for the kitchen's mistakes, no need to be berated by the owner. Eat somewhere else!
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