Joe H Posted November 1, 2012 Share Posted November 1, 2012 I am putting this on the D. C. board and ask Don not to move it. I believe this is of absolutely essential importance to anyone in the restaurant industry. Tonight, my wife and I talked about a Great country inn that I first visited in the early '80's, the Wayside Inn in Middletown, VA which is just south of the intersection of I 66 and I 81. The Inn dates to the 17th century with a particular room called the "Slaves Kitchen" (i.e. stone walls, brick floor, lower wood beamed ceiling and the only dining light from candles on the tables and in wall sconces) which is one of the most atmospheric of any in America. Frankly, it would rival some of the great rooms of character anywhere in the world. Years ago their chicken was fried in heavily crusted black cast iron skillets, with intense, thick cream of peanut soup, rich crust topped spoonbread, inch thick pork chops rolled in flour and egg and fried in lard-"Southern food" that justified it's cover story in Southern Living which featured it more than two decades ago. The more I talked about it, the more I built an image and a taste-the more we wanted to go. No idea if it was would be anywhere near as good, no idea if it was still open-but we had to try. And, they have a website and a phone number. The 24 or so rooms of the Inn seemed to be still open, too. I called. ...and got a recording. I called again. ...and got the same recording. I tried the restaurant, the Inn-I tried every combination, every number I could. ...and nobody answered. We had a problem: we talked our way into the Virginia countryside and a country inn and our first choice didn't seem to want a human being to talk to them. Well....there's another restaurant we haven't been to in a long time that I thought would work well, also: The Ashby Inn. I called. ...and got a recording. I called again. ....and got the same recording. I tried the restaurant, the Inn-I tried every combination, every number I could. ...and nobody answered. The Wayside Inn. The Ashby Inn. On a wednesday night on the last night of October, wanting to visit the next night, neither was answering the phone. I thought that with leaves falling and changing color this was not a good sign. Nor was it a good sign if I was trying to reach someone staying in one of their rooms. We then called Foti's in Culpeper which we were at two weeks ago and left wondering why we had waited so long to visit them again. They answered on the second ring. We will be there tomorrow night at 6:00 after visiting a couple of Virginia wineries. BUT the real point of this post is very simple for the many in the industry who follow this board: don't direct anyone to a computer or recording. Have a human answer the phone. No, I don't want to leave a recorded message nor do I want to send an e-mail. Part fo the success of a good evening is for the customer to feel wanted. If the experience starts without this it is not an experience worth having. I wish someone would pass this along to the owners of the Wayside Inn and Ashby Inn. We won't be visiting either anytime soon. We did try. We very badly wanted to go to them. And couldn't. As I type this and remember how much we loved Foti's four years ago (three stars from Sietsema then) and how much we liked it two weeks ago (a different restaurant but still excellent and in a room of great character), it is for the best that it was they who answered their phone. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now