Tupelo Honey Cafe is a mainstay of Asheville's food scene, which is why I am sad to acknowledge that something has gone terribly wrong with the staff culture of this restaurant. Because of its popularity, the wait is often ridiculously long, and that has kept us from going there more often. When we do go, I have started to notice this peculiar vibe, as though the people working there are doing a huge favor to humanity. Under these dire circumstances even the most simple, conventional requests might be met with a kind of passive aggressive petulance. I wondered if I was jumping to conclusions about this, until a friend of mine went on a tirade about why he never eats there for that very reason. Tonight, being late on a Sunday, hungry and somewhat forgetful, we decided a little southern comfort food might hit the spot, so we headed to THC. After about a half hour wait, we finally opted to sit at the counter, which was fine, as we were increasingly starving and didn't want to wait longer. After a long sit at the counter our waiter appeared in a fretful haze of insincere chumminess. We ordered drinks. We also asked if we could order our food. The answer was no. Umm, OK. The person next to us, who sat down after we did, was repeatedly called "bro" by the waiter. He was impressively duded out in a shiny hipster suit, which evidently was his ticket to ride the THC approval train, so he ordered before us. He also got his food right away. Fifteen minutes later we were still waiting for our food. Oh, and also the beer my husband ordered which never came. Although I did my best to placate the waiter in a complementary manner (something I highly encourage you to do at THC if you are over 40 and want to have any chance of eating at all) It so happens this particular waiter had honed the THC art of dismissive treatment to a thinly veiled form of sadism. He intentionally delayed putting in our food order, something he admitted, flat out and wide eyed, as our shiny suit neighbor finished the last savory crumbs on his plate. It's that sort of reaction that makes you realize the entire place has joined the dark side. We are not rude or overly demanding, so that is not the issue here. We are also unwilling to be treated that badly by anyone, so we got up and walked out. I have now walked out of a restaurant exactly two times, and the last time was 30 years ago. Congratulations THC. You earned this honor, fair and square. We went straight to Wicked Weed, feeling hungry, angry and depressed. The waitress there was a normal person who didn't seem to think her job involved classifying people and then treating some of them like dog poo. We had a great meal, and wonderful service. We got the beer we ordered, like magic. What a relief. If you want to experience the most arrogant over rated place in Asheville, you know where to go. For the best of Asheville, my advice is go just about anywhere else.
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