Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dining ~ The Wickford Diner, Wickford

The Wickford Diner
64 Brown St.
Wickford, Rhode Island

We arrived at Wickford's Daffodil Days around lunchtime, and since we both like a good diner, decided to check out Wickford Diner, located right on Brown street, the main shopping area.

Wickford Diner

It's a pretty place, lots of wood, a nautical theme that fits right in with Wickford's harbor town ambience.

Wickford Diner

The main diner has an additional room with booth seating. The booths were pretty full, but there wasn't much activity in the bar area. Bear and I grabbed seats at the head of the bar, next to the cash register.

It took awhile before we were acknowledged by the wait staff, even though one of the two women used the register right in front of us. Despite being less than two feet away, she never even glanced our way.

I should take a moment here to say that Bear and I make a point to interact pleasantly with people. I've worked in retail, as a cook and as a waitress. There are few people as obnoxious as hungry people in a restaurant, so we go out of our way to make eye contact, say "please" and "thank you," and to engage in conversation if it appears the other person has time.

Eventually our disinterested waitress took our drink order. It was a good ten minutes before she returned with our sodas for our meal order. We ordered lobster bisque, quahogs and coconut chicken fingers.

A few minutes later, our waitress called over, "we're out of coconut chicken." I reached for the menu. "You want something else?" I didn't. By now, I was getting a bit annoyed. We got a halfhearted "sorry" as she turned away.

When she brought the food to us, it landed with a thunk on the bar. We had to say our "thank you" to her back as she walked away.

The quahogs were good. Not spectacular, but decent. The lobster bisque was excellent.

The waitress did stop by again to ask if everything was okay, however she walked away before we could answer. From what I could gather from conversation the waitress had with another patron, they may have been short-staffed, and perhaps without a dish washer.

We didn't stay long, though. Bear was antsy to get out of there. We ate quickly, paid for our lunch and left.

On leaving, Bear commented on the poor service, noting that the waitresses seemed "mean" and "rude."

Perhaps this was an unusual day. Being short-staffed can make people hectic and short. However, that should not show in front staff's interactions with customers. Honestly, the crowd should not have been more than two waitresses could handle.

While I would certainly recommend the food at The Wickford Diner, Bear and I probably wouldn't go back. We both agreed that we didn't enjoy our experience there.

For more reviews on the Wickford Diner, check out UpTake.

5 comments:

  1. I wrote a long comment about our experience yesterday as well, but then thought "Hmm...if this was my diner, what would I hope a dissatisfied customer would do?" and decided I'll call them today and point them to this blog post, then tell them about my experience, also as a restaurant industry veteran with a heart for the servers!

    I love Wickford Diner's food and prices, which is why I want to let them know about the front of the house issues. The seafood is good and fresh, and brought to the table piping hot every time. I love their chowder -- it's thick, creamy, and buttery, swimming with plenty of clams. They use flounder for their fish & chips, and the portion is sizable for the price. The batter is my favorite of all batters, albeit a tad oily (I blot it with a napkin).

    I'm a clamcake freak, but very picky! Wickford Diner's clamcakes are my favorite next to Aunt Carrie's -- always huge, doughy, perfectly fried to a crisp without going too far, with big chunks of clams -- and the prices are excellent! Where else can you get half a dozen perfect clamcakes for $2.95 these days?

    I don't want to give up on Wickford Diner, when they obviously really care about food quality and prices. Excellent post, Erika!

    ~Michelle

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  2. Thanks Michelle!

    We're seldom in Wickford, although we've gone in for Daffodil Days twice now.

    It sounds like you're a regular at Wickford Diner, and it was certainly a good idea for you to let the owner know. I agree, their prices are good, and the food we had was very good.

    Where is your post on your experience?

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  3. I erased the post because I felt bad about not letting the owner know first, especially after our discussion about how negative social media can hurt a business if they don't handle it correctly! I want to treat others as I want to be treated, that's all! My Christian faith kicked in powerfully just as I was about to click "Post."

    When Christa & I are in Wickford, which is often, we go to the Diner for clamcakes and chowdah. They really do compare to Aunt Carrie's. Maybe they're even better.

    The other two restaurants in Wickford can't compare when it comes to clamcakes, but they have their own specialties. Each restaurant there has its own niche.

    You MUST go to the Wickford Art Festival this summer! It is soooo Rhode Island. ;o)

    ~Michelle

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  4. Hi Michelle,

    (apparently, my response didn't go through. I'm trying to recreate it, though I'm sure it's not as good as the first version).

    We'll definitely check out the Wickford Art Festival. Thanks for the tip!

    I appreciate what you're saying about "doing unto others." Honestly, I don't complain to management about service. If there's a problem with the food, I'll mention it to the wait person, but I don't remember ever calling a manager over to complain. Perhaps I'm just not confrontational.

    I do make a point to call a manager over to compliment good food or service. I like to "catch them being good," and have told managers about good service/selection/food in restaurants, retail stores and grocery stores. A couple of times I've even called the manager to the drive-through window to compliment excellent customer service.

    I'm interested to hear about your experience that day. What a coincidence that we were in the same restaurant on the same day! If you prefer, you can send an email message or we can talk about it in person sometime.

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  5. Hmmm...come to think of it, I've never complained about service, either! Maybe because you & I were both servers at one time? In the same vein, that's probably why we make a point of telling servers and managers when the service is exceptional!

    I love that you're using your blog to post reviews of local spots in Rhode Island. I especially love that you do it all from a consumers' point of view, not that of a paid critic!

    ~Michelle

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