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Lauriol Plaza, Chef Luis Reyes on 18th and Swann Streets


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I searched and could not find a topic. I know that Lauriol Plaza is often derided when Tex Mex is discussed but today I ate there for the first time in a year. The prices were better than any of the other places I have been going and the salsa amazing. So my question is, did I get lucky or is there some other reason people don't like the place?

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It's easy to hate Lauriol Plaza because it's a huge, deracinated food factory largely sustained by the kind of faux-hipster suburbanites and neo-urbanites who would have been scared shitless to drive into town during the Barry years -- when Lauriol Plaza was a truly neighborhood place two blocks down (not that the food was any better).

That being said, it's not a bad place to get a bite, if you're in the area. And, if the food is a little gringo-d down, the guys who run it started as illegal alien dishwashers, so at least your inauthentic cash isn't going to some faceless corporation.

If you actually do the 45-minute wait to get in, though, you deserve whatever mockery you get.

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If you actually do the 45-minute wait to get in, though, you deserve whatever mockery you get.
Maybe you got lucky. Brunch there on Sunday is pretty awful and I can't help but think can you walk a few feet in virtually any direction and get something better. Back in the 1970's, Raul Sanchez (who is Cuban, not Mexican) took over a space where a trophy shop once was at the corner of Columbia and Mintwood and opened "La Plaza." It was like a little bit of Georgetown in Adams Morgan and was the first "upscale" restaurant in the neighborhood. A great little place with just the BEST flounder stuffed with crabmeat. Then, he opened Lauriol Plaza in the place now occupied by Rosemary's Thyme. We went there once and were unimpressed, although it was an inexplicable favorite of Phyllis Richman (why she didn't like, or know about, La Plaza has remained a mystery to me after all these years). For whatever reason, he closed (or sold) La Plaza and focussed on Lauriol Plaza, including building that new space. I just wish the food was better and more creative. I can get mediocre "mexican" food for a lot less money at El Tamarindo.
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It's easy to hate Lauriol Plaza because it's a huge, deracinated food factory largely sustained by the kind of faux-hipster suburbanites and neo-urbanites who would have been scared shitless to drive into town during the Barry years -- when Lauriol Plaza was a truly neighborhood place two blocks down (not that the food was any better).
Come on, don't hold back ... tell us what you really think.
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Maybe you got lucky. Brunch there on Sunday is pretty awful and I can't help but think can you walk a few feet in virtually any direction and get something better. Back in the 1970's, Raul Sanchez (who is Cuban, not Mexican) took over a space where a trophy shop once was at the corner of Columbia and Mintwood and opened "La Plaza." It was like a little bit of Georgetown in Adams Morgan and was the first "upscale" restaurant in the neighborhood. A great little place with just the BEST flounder stuffed with crabmeat. Then, he opened Lauriol Plaza in the place now occupied by Rosemary's Thyme. We went there once and were unimpressed, although it was an inexplicable favorite of Phyllis Richman (why she didn't like, or know about, La Plaza has remained a mystery to me after all these years). For whatever reason, he closed (or sold) La Plaza and focussed on Lauriol Plaza, including building that new space. I just wish the food was better and more creative. I can get mediocre "mexican" food for a lot less money at El Tamarindo.
But see, my lunch today was really good. As good as I have had at Los Tios and far better than I have had Taqueria Poblano (which I don't really like). The chips were fresh and the salsa the best I have had in the city outside of Guajilo. Oh, and the prices significantly better than my last trip to Los Tios! So, maybe I got lucky.

I'd probably go back.

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But see, my lunch today was really good.

I ate there once a few years back and wondered why everyone hated the place so, because lunch was really good. A month later I went back for lunch on the same day of the week and lunch was really bad. So I'd say two things: you got lucky, and the place is really uneven.

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Back in the early days of Lauriol Plaza, when La Plaza was still open, the food at Lauriol was pretty good, actually, at least on the three or four occasions when I ate there. Later on it got really sucky, long before the new place was built. But Lauriol didn't always blow. I've never been to the new place and don't imagine I'll ever go. Long waits to get into supposedly trendy places to eat bad food...not generally on my agenda.

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Back in the day, urban legend at American had it that Lauriol Plaza was started by two dishwashers who started at Cactus Cantina. This was the explination for why the two menus are so similar. Any truth to this, other than what we learned from Waitman up thread?
No. I don't believe Raul was ever a dishwasher at Cactus Cantina. He (and a partner?) opened a restaurant in Georgetown and a branch on Columbia Road (I can't quite bring up the name, but it was not insignificant at the time). The thing is that the food a La Plaza was (and whatever the name of that restaurant across the street) CUBAN. They didn't even PRETEND to be Mex-Tex, or whatever. This is the thing I can't quite forgive, as someone who was born on the border of Juarez and El Paso. Most of the folk in the Caribbean don't have any sense of the food from the desert. I have probably mentioned this before but, I remember making tacos for a fund-raiser for an "Hispanic" candidate for the DC City Council. He was from Puerto Rico and told me that he thought "hot sauce" RUINED the tacos. :lol:

I've since learned that really "hot" sauce is a relegated to the border with Texas. OK.

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Back in the day, urban legend at American had it that Lauriol Plaza was started by two dishwashers who started at Cactus Cantina. This was the explination for why the two menus are so similar. Any truth to this, other than what we learned from Waitman up thread?

A few of our waiters/hosts/busboys work Deluxe at night and Cactus in the day and the same people own Lauriol and Cactus. Not sure where they started but I know they own both now. Also I think I have mentioned this on another thread but a few of our middle-eastern and hispanic employees must drop like 300-400 bucks a week at those places. They love them. Not sure if that means anything but just thought I would mention it. One thing I have noticed is that the specials are usually much more interesting and better prepared than the regular menu.

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I finally decided that if I ever wanted to eat Masitas de Puerco again, I would have to learn to make them myself. So I did. :lol:
It's been at least a couple years since I ate at Lauriol Plaza but when I do/did go, the Masitas de Puerco was my go-to dish. The pork was always (usually) very tender and I liked the black beans, rice, and plaintains that accompanied it. I always thought of Lauriol in the same way that DonRocks described Artie's in his most recent Lettres
it isn’t a dining destination, but rather a place to “go out to eat”.
It was always a good place to meet up with friends, sit outside, drink some margaritas, and have something to eat. The wait was never any more than 10-15 minutes no matter how long they said it was going to be.
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My friend's mom is visiting town from McAllen, TX (for those deficient in TX geography, the "city" is located just north of the border with Mexico on the southern tip of the state in the Valley). The friend thought it would be nice to gather a group of her friends for dinner with her mom, which sounded fun so I agreed. Then I got the email with time & location. Now why in the hell would a woman who knows what real Tex-Mex tastes like take her mom & a bunch of friends who also know what real Tex-Mex taste like to Lauriol Plaza? Wouldn't you want to try a cuisine your mother can't get in the Valley 1500x better?! :o

Regardless, we congregated, waited only about 30 minutes, and were seated in the roaring mid-level. I would say it was quite loud, except the 10 of us were not the quietest of groups. Our server was very enthusiastic and the chips were plentiful. Unfortunately my margarita (which was going to be my saving grace for the evening) was watered down & flavorless (I think they forgot to add the alcohol). The expectations for my meal were so low that the carne asada actually exceeded them. Not really sure what that says though. My friend's mother had the shrimp & crab enchiladas and the guy sitting to my right got the combo steak & shrimp fajitas. Both dishes looked and smelled good, and got thumbs up. Perhaps that's the key: stick with seafood and you won't be too disappointed.

That said, it will most likely be another 8 years before I go to LP again. I'll get my Tex-Mex fill from home-cooked treasures (not prepared by me) instead of settling for the mundane. :lol:

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I drove by Lauriol Plaza about an hour ago, and there must have been 300 people in there. Who ARE these Martians?

Not sure I see why there is great mystery about Lauriol Plaza; it is decent, cheap Tex-Mex comfort food with great drinks, a nice space, a pretty crowd and large enough that it can seat large groups; it is strategically located in the middle of the downtown of a city with a lot of young people that love to go out and drink; a night at a large table of friends with margaritas and fajitas can be very pleasant, and I've done that many times; people are not going there for the nuances of the sauces or anything but it is a valid choice and the type of place I wish DC had more of (I know that is sacrilege here).

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LP does well for 3 reasons.

#1 fresh product, since they go through so much of it every day. the food isn't terrible, it's just dumbed down.

#2 reasonable prices and large portions, it's pretty cheap if all you're going to order is spinach quesadillas. the apps are large enough to have as an entree

#3 premixed margaritas that come out of a machine and are wicked fast to pour for the large crowds of young ppl stuck there waiting for tables

ETA: also I think the space and decor there are attractive, on the inside. That tacky neon sign outside though has got to go. It looks like something that should be outside a Chucky Cheese's.

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LP does well for 3 reasons.

#1 fresh product, since they go through so much of it every day. the food isn't terrible, it's just dumbed down.

#2 reasonable prices and large portions, it's pretty cheap if all you're going to order is spinach quesadillas. the apps are large enough to have as an entree

#3 premixed margaritas that come out of a machine and are wicked fast to pour for the large crowds of young ppl stuck there waiting for tables

ETA: also I think the space and decor there are attractive, on the inside. That tacky neon sign outside though has got to go. It looks like something that should be outside a Chucky Cheese's.

I agree; and don't think it deserves nearly the amount of crap it gets on these boards. Where exactly would people want a group of 10 LCs to go on a Thursday night at 8 pm; Palena? Two Amys? Come on. Lauriol Plaza is nowhere near the worst thing about the DC dining scene, and I wish there were more places like it (Matchbox is close, though it aims higher on the food and has a less conducive space; also gets an older lawyer crown versus Lauriol Plaza I think).

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I agree; and don't think it deserves nearly the amount of crap it gets on these boards. Where exactly would people want a group of 10 LCs to go on a Thursday night at 8 pm; Palena? Two Amys? Come on. Lauriol Plaza is nowhere near the worst thing about the DC dining scene, and I wish there were more places like it (Matchbox is close, though it aims higher on the food and has a less conducive space; also gets an older lawyer crown versus Lauriol Plaza I think).

Ok, so you walk in and they immediately start pushing the alcohol. Then, they feed you exceedingly salty food, so you keep drinking more alcohol, and get buzzed enough that you don't notice or mind that hey- the food is a flavourless salt lick! The servers all have to wear awful outfits, and I'm doubtful that the restaurant provides them for free. (I run into staff from LP all the time, and they never look happy. Except when they're sneaking beer into a coffee cup on their smoke break.) Then there's the fact that the people that go to LP invariably *drive*, and are the cause of interminable traffic jams because OMG, they have to block the middle of the intersection to get into the valet lot because all those other cars on the road are clearly trying to just jump in line for the valet lot. And then there are the oblivious dingbats that think the sidewalk exists only to allow them to stand around and smoke and wait for a chance to get a margarita at the bar. And then there are the snailspacecruising doubleparking cabbies vainly hoping to lure one of those drunk patrons into *their* cab, when those same people are clearly just waiting to either get a table or have their SUV brought around.

LP is a blight on the landscape. Even if their food were decent, I'd hate them for the awful crowd they attract night after night after night. And there's no upside. At least the people going into Madams Organ are scantily clad.

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Ok, so you walk in and they immediately start pushing the alcohol. Then, they feed you exceedingly salty food, so you keep drinking more alcohol, and get buzzed enough that you don't notice or mind that hey- the food is a flavourless salt lick! The servers all have to wear awful outfits, and I'm doubtful that the restaurant provides them for free. (I run into staff from LP all the time, and they never look happy. Except when they're sneaking beer into a coffee cup on their smoke break.) Then there's the fact that the people that go to LP invariably *drive*, and are the cause of interminable traffic jams because OMG, they have to block the middle of the intersection to get into the valet lot because all those other cars on the road are clearly trying to just jump in line for the valet lot. And then there are the oblivious dingbats that think the sidewalk exists only to allow them to stand around and smoke and wait for a chance to get a margarita at the bar. And then there are the snailspacecruising doubleparking cabbies vainly hoping to lure one of those drunk patrons into *their* cab, when those same people are clearly just waiting to either get a table or have their SUV brought around.

LP is a blight on the landscape. Even if their food were decent, I'd hate them for the awful crowd they attract night after night after night. And there's no upside. At least the people going into Madams Organ are scantily clad.

That's just an enormous amount of tolerance you show in the last paragraph. And while some patrons do invariably drive, it is a huge restaurant and the young Hill and K street crowd definitely does not drive to LP. I've been there many times for lunch with friends from Texas who know real Tex-Mex, and while it clearly is not the greatest attempt ever made, it more than passes for decent, and makes for a pleasent time.

Again, I have no idea why this place inspires the vitrol that it does; I guess is the prejudice against the type of "crowd" that goes there but that's just unfair all around.

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That's just an enormous amount of tolerance you show in the last paragraph. And while some patrons do invariably drive, it is a huge restaurant and the young Hill and K street crowd definitely does not drive to LP. I've been there many times for lunch with friends from Texas who know real Tex-Mex, and while it clearly is not the greatest attempt ever made, it more than passes for decent, and makes for a pleasent time.

Again, I have no idea why this place inspires the vitrol that it does; I guess is the prejudice against the type of "crowd" that goes there but that's just unfair all around.

It *is* a huge restaurant. That's a large part of the problem. It overwhelms the locale- they just don't have the infrastructure to deal with the large crowds they do attract. And their presence edges out other, smaller restaurants; there is no spillover from LP, as you're urged to have a drink as soon as you walk in, and people will demonstrably stand around and drink rather than walk into a nearby restaurant with tables. (I still miss Wazuri terribly.) If I'm coming home at dinner time I have to drive several blocks out of my way to avoid the traffic jam at T (which is only exacerbated by the terrible light timing at florida and U) or else get stuck for an extra 5+ minutes achingly close to home. If I'm trying to walk to the bookstore I have to elbow my way through oblivious herds of people who assume that it's perfectly fine to blockade the sidewalk. And while I have once or twice recognized locals sitting outside enjoying a drink, it's been quite rare in my experience. I've never had a neighbor exclaim 'wow, LP is just such a pleasant time!'

As for the tolerance, it has built up after many years of living nearby. LP is just an annoying neighbor: one who may be an affably decent guy, but who is constantly throwing loud annoying parties, and whose guests park on your lawn and block your alleys and wander tipsily around the neighborhood just a bit too loudly. Sometimes, it's not about the food.

(And yes, one can say the same thing about the strip in A/M, but that's *expected* to be a nightmare, and it's all compressed and contained. The reason LP stands out is because all of the congestion is visibly only due to them- cause and effect laid out at the feet of one perpetrator, rather than distributed between several dozen restaurants and bars.)

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this is beginning to sound remarkably Yogi-ish, as in "Nobody goes there anymore, it's always too crowded."

I've lived in Denver so long I prefer my tex-mex (gringo-mex we call it out here, acknowledging that real Mexican cuisine is more in line with something turned out by Skip Bayless' only slightly less annoying brother, and other purist types, than the stuff we're talking about here) made by Mexicans (or the children and grandchildren of Mexicans), as opposed to the Honduran or Salvadoran or the whatever-it-is influence that makes "Mexican" food in the District taste, I don't know, a little off. But when I'm there I have other foodie things to look for rather than the stuff that is so well-done and so plentiful out here. (I do agree with the post above re El Tamarindo being a much more economical choice for not-quite-mexican mexican food.)

But there are many less pleasant ways to spend a sunny spring or fall afternoon or evening, than slurping margaritas and eating Salvadoran- or Honduran- or Nicaraguan-style, whatever, tex-mex on the Lauriol patio, to which, by the way, I've always walked....on the two occasions I've been there that is.

Actually, it was enough of a change of pace from Denver Mexican food that I sort of enjoyed it. (Though slightly less so, when the bill came.) I can imagine folks from Dallas, or El Paso, or Albuquerque, or LA, having similar feelings--it's not quite "right" but it isn't offensive.

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If I'm coming home at dinner time I have to drive several blocks out of my way to avoid the traffic jam at T (which is only exacerbated by the terrible light timing at florida and U) or else get stuck for an extra 5+ minutes achingly close to home. If I'm trying to walk to the bookstore I have to elbow my way through oblivious herds of people who assume that it's perfectly fine to blockade the sidewalk. And while I have once or twice recognized locals sitting outside enjoying a drink, it's been quite rare in my experience. I've never had a neighbor exclaim 'wow, LP is just such a pleasant time!'

As for the tolerance, it has built up after many years of living nearby. LP is just an annoying neighbor: one who may be an affably decent guy, but who is constantly throwing loud annoying parties, and whose guests park on your lawn and block your alleys and wander tipsily around the neighborhood just a bit too loudly. Sometimes, it's not about the food.

I hear Germantown is usually nice and quiet...

I honestly don't get the hatred either. The food isn't god awful. I have only been there two or three times but I don't remember walking out feeling like I got robbed (as I did at Ceviche in Silver Spring). Lauriol is packed for the same reason there was always a line at the Hotel Washington Roof Deck (which had possibly some of the worst food in the city the last time I went there) it is a great environment to hang out and have a drink in. The other thing I don't get is people will bitch and moan about local owned businesses getting pushed out of their neighborhoods but here is a locally owned business (I believe) that is doing great business. So I guess we just like locally owned businesses as long they don't mess with our commute and attract the types of crowds we like.

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Lauriol is packed for the same reason there was always a line at the Hotel Washington Roof Deck (which had possibly some of the worst food in the city the last time I went there) it is a great environment to hang out and have a drink in.
For a while LP was a "default" stop for us. Relative coming to town...let's go to Lauriol Plaza! Meeting a group of friends with various tastes...let's go to Lauriol Plaza! Tired and bored and can't make a decision...let's to go Lauriol Plaza! And then we decided that there are far too many superior places in DC to make LP a default. And because of that we wandered into Straits of Malaya, and Mandu, and Regent Thai, and Bar Pilar, and Islander Carribbean, and Simply Home...and lots of places that we just didn't notice or didn't seek out because we fell into a routine.

I don't think the food at LP is terrible. I've had good, though rushed service. I've found the crowds to be more diverse than generally described here (though no less impenetrable when the place is jammed). But I think it'll be a very long time before I return, because I want to experience more of what DC has to offer. Like many of you, I suppose, I've sat on the roof deck of Straits of Malaya and looked across at LP and said to my partner, "I'm so glad we're here and not there."

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I hear Germantown is usually nice and quiet...

True, and I loved it when I lived out there, for completely different reasons than I love Adams Morgan.

But now this is diverging into philosophical feelings on what constitutes a neighborhood, and how each individual balances contributing to the community versus maximizing their own profit. I'm going to dislike a something that overwhelms its ecology regardless of whether the individual who owns it is "local" or not. I admit my feelings on neighborhoods verge on the quixotic, and I get to indulge that by patronizing establishments that are better integrated into their environment.

That said, I will freely admit that my words, quoted above by others, were in many respects overly harsh; I apologize for that. My father is in the hospital- I thought I was coping, but clearly my stress found a convenient target. I don't know that I'll ever give their food another chance, but I'll endeavour to withhold any further commentary on the place itself until I do.

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LP is just an annoying neighbor: one who may be an affably decent guy, but who is constantly throwing loud annoying parties, and whose guests park on your lawn and block your alleys and wander tipsily around the neighborhood just a bit too loudly. Sometimes, it's not about the food.

I would encourage and expect the owners of Lauriol Plaza to be respectful in their dealings with the community. I would hope that they do their part (besides paying their local taxman) in doing so.

There are a few restaurants I know of that are doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint, whether it be through recycling programs and/or composting. Poste and Corduroy to name a couple. I am sure there are others that will come forward. Of course, there are other ways of giving back to the community that a restaurant should do. I just hope that LP is doing so.

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Brunched there on Sunday.

Our server was very friendly but clearly was being given more tables than she could handle.

The food was slightly above Chevy's but below Don Pablo's. Nothing tasted bad, but nothing blew me out of the water. For a non-chain restaurant at these prices I expected something more. Should have read the reviews here first.

Next time I'm voting with my dollar and enjoying another wonderful meal at Guajillo.

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Joined a group of friends here over the weekend. The food was passable, certainly nothing to write home about, but the reason for me making this post is to warn those of you that may find yourselves there in the future to double check your credit card totals. I went there with a party of 7 people, with the bill being $113-ish, which divides to $16 and change, and then the credit cards were all ran for $18.98. There was no mention of an auto-gratuity on either the menu or the bill (if there were, this would be a non-issue, obviously), just the altered total, which seems shady to me.

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Dude, you're in the biz, and you presented the server with seven credit cards for seven diners?

This. And even if you want to completely ignore the fact that asking a server to run seven cards is somewhat sadistic, I'm surprised you were able to do that - I've encountered plenty of places where running that many cards can cause the computer system to crash.

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This. And even if you want to completely ignore the fact that asking a server to run seven cards is somewhat sadistic, I'm surprised you were able to do that - I've encountered plenty of places where running that many cards can cause the computer system to crash.

Last night we had a party of 9, separate checks, they were on the table from 6:30, completing at 7:40. They presented 7 cc's and 2 paid cash... each cc was for a different amount {they would not let us just charge each person for what they ate as we rang everything by seat number}. The total was under $200.00.

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Dude, you're in the biz, and you presented the server with seven credit cards for seven diners?

For eight diners, but yes. And even then only because they don't split checks, which is what we would have done if it was possible.

And I'll (obviously) disagree on the sadism of asking a server to do simple math and run cards for the right amount. I understand that running multiple cards can be difficult, but there are unpleasant elements of every job that still need to get done.

But I'm amused that the focus is on the number of credit cards presented instead of the altered total.

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Adam, I don't think anyone disagrees that they should reveal that they're adding a gratuity for a large group, and the reveal should come with the initial check, not after the credit cards are done. Bad form there, and it sounds like it might have even been vindictive for delivering the seven credit cards.

But for a group meal that was so inexpensive, shame on each of you for not bringing a $20 to throw down. We do group meals on this board all the time, and it's common courtesy to bring cash. Sorry, don't mean this to sound personal, but the reason we got stuck on that point is that it seems so out of place for someone in the biz.

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The total on the credit card receipts was altered, and it's what showed up online, too. So, yeah, I think that you're right, a preauthorized tip was just put onto the total.

Danielk, I understand. I just never carry cash out of habit; it seems to have a way of disappearing.

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A dozen of us (at a different establishment in VA) paid our bill with the tip figured in the other night and presented the server with about 4 or 5 credit cards. My friend who was sitting next to me wrote on the back of the check how much should be charged to each of the cards, that seemed to make it easier for all concerned. While we were all paying exactly the same (except the birthday girl, who we all paid equally for), some of the cards were for a couple, some for singles, etc.

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[Don, maybe you should create a new topic and move these posts there?]

Arcturus, MsDiPesto - I've seen a number of restaurants lately that have "no more than 2 credit cards per table" or some such language on the bottom of the menu. What would your group have done after sitting down if you would have seen that message?

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And I'll (obviously) disagree on the sadism of asking a server to do simple math and run cards for the right amount. I understand that running multiple cards can be difficult, but there are unpleasant elements of every job that still need to get done.

Amen.

But for a group meal that was so inexpensive, shame on each of you for not bringing a $20 to throw down. We do group meals on this board all the time, and it's common courtesy to bring cash. Sorry, don't mean this to sound personal, but the reason we got stuck on that point is that it seems so out of place for someone in the biz.

Shame on you? Seriously? I would think that at least one card for every two people at a table is true in the majority of cases, at least in casual situations where there isn't an expense account at play. Regardless, I'm never going to feel bad asking a server to run multiple cards. My party is probably about to pay that person $12-15 to open a bottle of wine that retails for $20 (and for which we were just charged $60) and pour it 4 to 8 times. The only reason we would do that is because we like service, atmosphere, and convenience. Making it easy for us to pay is part of all that. Any server that doesn't understand this is in the wrong profession.

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Shame on you? Seriously? I would think that at least one card for every two people at a table is true in the majority of cases, at least in casual situations where there isn't an expense account at play. Regardless, I'm never going to feel bad asking a server to run multiple cards. My party is probably about to pay that person $12-15 to open a bottle of wine that retails for $20 (and for which we were just charged $60) and pour it 4 to 8 times. The only reason we would do that is because we like service, atmosphere, and convenience. Making it easy for us to pay is part of all that. Any server that doesn't understand that is in the wrong profession.

I was referring specifically (as I indicated) to a meal that was <$20pp after tax/tip, not a fine dining experience like you are describing.

Sorry, I stand by my assertion. If you're going out for a cheap meal with a large group (6 or larger), you ought to have a $20 in your pocket. That's always been our policy here on DR for group meals, it's the rule my book club follows, and I think it's common courtesy.

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Every Applebees, Friday's, and Ruby Tuesday in America will take multiple cards, and they'll cheerfully itemize charges for each card if you ask. If you run or work in a restaurant and will not do this, to many people your restaurant is not as good as Applebees, Friday's, or Ruby Tuesday. I've never understood why people don't get this.

And regardless of the cost of my meal, if I provide adequate payment, accounting for the proper tax, and a generous tip, it's nobody's business how I choose to do so. I fail to see why running a few extra cards is appreciably more difficult than counting a ton of random bills.

Actually, come to think of it, in situations where people are paying for what they ordered, as opposed to splitting the check evenly, I usually throw a few extra dollars on my card to compensate for the inevitability that people may be cheap, neglectful, or simply bad at math. I think that my friends, who also almost always pay with cards, do the same, because we usually end up charging more than the bill in the rare instances when we don't just split it.

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[Don, maybe you should create a new topic and move these posts there?]

Arcturus, MsDiPesto - I've seen a number of restaurants lately that have "no more than 2 credit cards per table" or some such language on the bottom of the menu. What would your group have done after sitting down if you would have seen that message?

Ask for separate checks? Sit at different tables and text to each other? We're all good friends, so we would make sure all were compensated if we had to pay with only 1 or two cards. I try to bring plenty of cash to these events.

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And regardless of the cost of my meal, if I provide adequate payment, accounting for the proper tax, and a generous tip, it's nobody's business how I choose to do so. I fail to see why running a few extra cards is appreciably more difficult than counting a ton of random bills.

Last Friday at 8:30, the server in our section got 6 different cards from a 6 top. From my view, I could see her at the machine running the cards. It took almost 10 minutes. She was extremely apologetic when she finally returned to take our order, but since I saw the reason for the delay, I felt badly for her and said don't worry about it. The gentlemen at the next table did not know the reason for her absence and it was clear from their conversation that they intended to tip her less because of the delay in bringing them another round of drinks. So, I agree that it is nobody's business how you choose to pay, but that doesn't mean that others are not impacted because of a situation where the server has to run many cards. This may be neither here nor there, just an observation.

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Last Friday at 8:30, the server in our section got 6 different cards from a 6 top. From my view, I could see her at the machine running the cards. It took almost 10 minutes. She was extremely apologetic when she finally returned to take our order, but since I saw the reason for the delay, I felt badly for her and said don't worry about it. The gentlemen at the next table did not know the reason for her absence and it was clear from their conversation that they intended to tip her less because of the delay in bringing them another round of drinks. So, I agree that it is nobody's business how you choose to pay, but that doesn't mean that others are not impacted because of a situation where the server has to run many cards. This may be neither here nor there, just an observation.

Bingo. Any customer should be able to pay in any manner they damn well feel like. Rolled coins, sweaty dollar bills from your too tight jeans on a hot summer day, etc. etc. Restaurant service relies upon timing, and there is no greater time sucker for a large table than splitting a check multiple different ways, and in multiple different amounts. These transactions, start to finish, can often times take 10-15 minutes. And even if the server has one 6 top, a four, and two dueces, those other tables will suffer while the math and authorization jujitsu takes place. It's a killer.

RW Boones point is correct, that virtually every restaurant can and should do this. But those that are adversely affected are rarely the party choosing to split the bill up six ways - it's everyone else.

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