A friend’s misfortune was our gain. We were lucky enough to attend tonight’s Seahawks game since a friend with season tickets couldn’t get a sitter. To be honest, we’re a bit of fairweather fans. We haven’t really been in Seattle long enough to be really loyal, but we’re always happy to see the Seahawks do well and anyone who’s ever attended a football game at Qwest can tell you, the energy in that stadium is nothing less than electric.
Seattle hasn’t recently been known for super successful sports teams, but a loyalty exists amongst the fan base nonetheless. Since neither B nor I grew up in an area with professional sports teams, we don’t really have strong ties. We make for easy adoptees by Seattle pro teams.
One of the best parts of games in Seattle is the food. Yes, seriously. My favorite stadium food is garlic fries. Mariners or Seahawks, I can’t do without my fries! Game calories don’t count (obviously), so B had an Italian sausage and I had a Kidd Valley cheeseburger along with a bag of Kettlecorn at the game.
I didn’t taste B’s food, but mine was sinfully amazing. I devoured every bit of the super strong garlic fries and the giant burger. As for the game, well, Seattle shocked everyone (including their own fans) beating the Saints 36-41. The energy in the stadium was truly incredible. It was impossible not to get sucked into every aspect of the experience including the resounding “SEA – HAWKS” chant throughout the stadium as people made their way to the exit. I hope to get my hearing back sometime next week! Qwest field is known as the loudest stadium in the NFL. The noise is deafening.
We were ready to celebrate along with the thousands of other fans, so we made our way to FX McCrory’s (self-proclaimed home of the world’s largest bourbon collection). There wasn’t a chance of us getting a seat, so we made a lap and headed back out. Next, we chose to try out Fado Irish Pub and that’s when everything went pear shaped.
I’ve been pretty clear all along about wanting Thursday Night Bites to be a place for positive words about our dining adventures, but after the way we were treated tonight, I just can’t see staying quiet about it.
They were as busy as any of the other bars and restaurants in Pioneer Square after the game. We walked through looking for a place to sit. Just as we were on our way out, B spotted a table putting on their coats, getting ready to leave and we snagged their table. Once our server came to the table, she didn’t say hello, she didn’t smile. She tossed the menus on the table and said she needed the table back by 6:30 (it was 5:40) for a reservation. B assured her that was plenty of time as she walked away.
It was awhile before she returned and asked what we wanted. B ordered an Irish coffee, a Guinness for me and the appetizer sampler for us to share. Our drinks came out not long after. When our food arrived, the person who brought it set it down on the opposite side of the table from where we were sitting and told us again we needed to hurry. Shortly after, someone I assume to be the manager came around and slapped large sheets of paper on our table with the name Erica on them denoting a reservation for 12 at 6:30. Mind you, it’s only 6:00 at this point. The tables next to us received the same curt treatment and sheets of paper… except one of their sheets said “25 ppl.”
About 6:10, the manager arrives (after we’ve been given our check… which was tossed at us about 2 minutes after our food arrived) and asks B if we can move to the table next to us (where two girls are sitting) due to the fact that the reservation arrived early. I told her that was fine as long as those girls didn’t mind us sitting with them. The girls tell us they’re waiting for their check. Once they stand up to leave, I move my drink to the next table and reach for the platter of food which is promptly taken away from me by the rude server. She piles the napkins off the table onto our food and carts it away. In the meantime, a couple people in the reservation party tell me I can’t sit where the manager asked us to (and offered us a drink for our trouble) because they are sitting there and we “aren’t there for Erica’s birthday.” Ultimately, my full platter of food and three quarters full drink are taken away from me and I am essentially shown the door.
I don’t honestly remember the last time I’ve felt this angry. I don’t yell. It’s just not in my nature, but I was practically screaming by the time we left Fado. I don’t remember the last time I felt so belittled and frustrated. The staff at Fado clearly doesn’t understand the basic tenants of human decency much less customer service. The customer should never be at fault for a restaurant’s poor management of their reservations and the last time I checked, a patron who arrives twenty minutes early for a reservation gets to wait twenty minutes for their table. The people currently paying to be at the table don’t get essentially thrown out of the restaurant for their sake.
This is all a disappointment because I wanted to like Fado. They were on my list of places to visit soon. I even left my Seahawks beanie somewhere in the shuffle of being disgracefully shown the door. I thought about going back for it. Then I realized I will never set foot in that pathetic excuse for a dining establishment again. Never have I paid for food and drink and had it taken away from me before I could consume it. I would love to say that complaining or sharing this experience with their management would make a difference, but I imagine they’re beyond help. Do yourself a favor. Avoid them. Save your money for someplace where you are actually allowed to consume what you’ve paid for.
*UPDATE 01/24/11: I received a comment and follow-up email from a Marketing manager at Fado offering a refund and promising to follow-up with the staff. I have politely declined the refund since the money wasn’t the true issue, but I do appreciate the effort and sincerely hope future customers will have a better experience.
Thanks to Leslie and Ariel at Buckley’s Belltown for talking me off a ledge (though they didn’t know it) with their kindness and hospitality.