I remember when Tap & Parlour was Hominy, a cute, yet slightly pricey, restaurant on U St. About three years ago, it was revamped into what it is today- a great little spot that has good food, great prices, and an awesome ambiance.
A few weeks ago, while one of my friends/sorors was visiting from Florida, we, along with two of her linesisters, went to T&P on a Saturday for brunch. While I personally had no problem with my meal, one of her linesisters did. Our waitress did an awful job of relaying what was and was not available (one of the guests does not eat pork), not to mention one of her entrees never came out. The manager came out and took 50% off of our bill. Despite this little incident, I didn’t let that completely change my thoughts on the establishment, especially since I had been there a month earlier and had a GREAT time.
Today, not so much.
My BFF and linesister, Bee, invited me to church (she goes to the 7:30 service and I go to the 9:30) and brunch with a friend of hers (Alexa) that just moved to DC. Because I’ve been here longer than Bee, she asks me for a recommendation on where to go to brunch that isn’t pricey and has good mimosas. Of course I pick Tap & Parlour. Despite the issue the last time I went, it was a no brainer-good food, good prices, and unlimited $7 mimosas. You can’t beat it. So after church, which was awesome, we head to U St. Alexa and I walk in first and approach the hostess stand. When I tell the manager we have a party of 3, he lets me know once everyone in my party has arrived, he’ll seat us (I tell him the other is walking up now from her car). Now, of course it’s crowded on the inside (a LOT of gentrification, but I’ll talk about that later), but there are a few empty tables outside. As soon as Bee walks in, I let the hostess know my entire party is here. We get told it’ll be a moment until we’re seated. I approach the stand again, when I’m told it’ll be a 10-15 minute wait. After seeing three parties seated, two of which arrived AFTER us, I ask the manager if our table is ready. Since we’re seated right behind the host stand, we can pick up that they forgot to seat us. As the host comes over to apologize for the wait and states two tables are being cleaned off, he asks do we have a preference of where we sit-inside or outside. Alexa and I both state whichever table is ready first. We’re seated outside, which I note is about 20-25 minutes after we got there.
I suggest to Bee and Alexa that we go ahead and put in our drink and food order when the waiter comes because it looks like he’s by himself (responsible for 8-9 tables) and we’re starving and don’t want to wait any longer than we have to to have our meals. As we laugh and joke and make small talk, and also become slightly annoyed because it’s taking our food forever to come out, we discuss the make-up of the patrons and how the restaurant seems to be short staffed. Tap & Parlour is ALWAYS packed for Sunday brunch, but since we spent some time watching tables, we note there’s not nearly enough waiters/waitresses, especially since the manager, along with the host and hostess, was running around pouring mimosas and helping the waiters. Alexa asks if the restaurant was recently in an article. I mention it was. (Click here for the 17 all-you-can-drink brunches in DC.) That explains the super diverse crowd and the short staff-the restaurant didn’t prepare for the influx of patrons.
When we finally get our food, I notice it’s almost 1:30, about 50 minutes after we sat down. I ordered chicken and waffles, which is pretty much my staple when I go to T&P. After I asked our waiter, Dante, twice for hot sauce, Alexa suggested he get the bottle that was two tables away since those ladies were about to leave. While Bee had no patience for Dante (due to her hunger), Alexa and I were sympathetic to his plight-he was the lone waiter with too many tables and too many needy patrons. I believe the ladies that were sitting behind us walked out because their food never came.
When my under cooked chicken leg does not concern Dante, when he tells us he can separate our checks-which he fails to do but tells US we can write on the receipt what to charge to which card, when he never refills my water after the one time I asked (he refilled it after we’d given him our cards), and when he comes outside not to return our cards so we can sign our receipt and leave but to refill drinks then tells Bee our cards are hidden in an envelope (after he asks if we’ve actually given him our cards), and takes 20 minutes to give us our cards back, we have had enough. Though the manager kept peaking his head outside, I didn’t want to talk to him in that moment, because I would have made a scene on U St. I was thinking of either writing in or doing a review on Yelp. And Bee had the great idea, “You’re a blogger. Blog about it.” So here we are.
I figured this would get my point across more so than just writing in to the manager or the owner. The sad thing is that I absolutely love this place. One of my oldest friends is coming to visit in two weeks, and I was planning on taking her after church; now I have to find another place. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.*