Monday, December 15, 2008

The Majestic responds

Mr. Tasso Costarides has responded to my hissy fit. First off, I do most certainly appreciate the response. I think that's all I was really after, in the end. He certainly responded in a more mature manner than I deserved, so my hats off to Mr. Costarides. His response, in full:

Normally, I wouldn't comment on stuff like this but I feel I owe it to my staff and customers to speak up for the restaurant. Every single one of your blog entries regarding the Majestic are misguided and present an inaccurate picture of the restaurant and your experiences there.

First of all, I'd like to address your first demand of your petition: bringing back the subway tile. That tile, which dates back to the late 80's, was starting to crumble and I made the decision to replace it. While, it is unfortunate that you dislike the mirror I installed-- So what? Those 20 year old tiles did not represent the essence of this restaurant, which is lost on you. The installment of a mirror does not make the Majestic resemble the Landmark or a City Cafe.

You note that the interior seems like it hasn't changed since your dad came in 50 years ago. This restaurant began its life as a small lunch counter. It has undergone many changes, expansions and remodels under previous management through the decades. The last major remodel was in the 80's. Plenty has been changed since then. The tables you note that are being replaced date back to 1999. They're not from the 1950's. A lot of people pass through this restaurant. Furniture breaks down, interior trim wears out, things are replaced. The same holds true for many other restaurants. This is a reality that restaurant owners accept. You should do the same.

I never responded to the little notes you've left on your table because they're whiney and demanding. You come across as petulant and immature. But let me respond to some of the trivial things you've brought up.

You mention that we bought new waffle irons that bake smaller and thinner waffles. Why would we do that? Our waffles are good. We've been using the same waffle bakers for years. If you weren't happy with the quality of your waffle on one of your visits--you should have told a server. Maybe the batter was too thin. Maybe the cook made a mistake. Maybe the thermostat for the waffle baker was broken--I don't know. I'm sure they would have remade it or brought you something else if you had asked.

You also bring up that we have new menus. New menus are printed several times a year. This time we chose to make them longer and we laminated them to resemble some old Majestic menus from the 50's.

We garnished plates with fruit for breakfast and lunch customers. As you noted, our prices had risen along with food prices everywhere else. I thought it would be nice to offer a slice of cantaloupe to go along with people's meals. Some customers appreciated it and some didn't. After several months, we stopped doing it. I think it is strange that it made you so angry.

As for someone bringing you a check on a "little red plastic plate". That item is called a tip tray and it comes in handy when settling tabs. When a customer pays cash, it neatly holds bills and change. When paying by credit card, this tray serves to hold the customer's check, credit card slip and pen to sign the slip. It also serves to keep the check dry from a wet table top. Why do you care if we use those? It's just a convenience for your server.

While I appreciate your patronage, I believe a lot of the issues you have raised in your blog entries regarding my restaurant are petty and your petition is misguided. You've noted that this restaurant is "supposed to be a dump." While some folks may agree with you, I don't. We have customers that eat here everyday. We have elderly regulars that have been eating here since they were kids and they don't want to see the place turn into a dump. A lot of our customers like it when we improve on our menus or make their visits more comfortable. I've worked here since I was a teenager and I have run this restaurant for more than 10 years. I understand that this place means different things to different people; it is 80 years old. I'm no stranger to customers airing their views on my restaurant and how it should be run, but your demands are absurd.

Sincerely,

Tasso Costarides

owner, Majestic Diner

For the record, he is totally right - my notes were whiny, petulant, and immature.  

I also never intended any insult to the staff. Over the years, I have counted a few friends among the staff. I think they do a great job, and have suffered my bitching without complaint (at least to my face). Always earnest, sincere, and the service is great. I mean, there is a reason I went the probably twice a week.

At the end of the day, I'll get over it. I'll eat somewhere else, not out of some vendetta or to make a point, but because it just doesn't feel the same. I find the mirror too jarring, and combined with all the other changes it just doesn't have the same character. There are plenty of breakfast joints in town, but I went to the Majestic because it was comfortable and unpretentious. There was an underdog air about things that I related to, which seems to be missing.  

Call this all an overreaction - oh noes! bitchy internet guy is no longer going to his favorite diner! stop the presses! - but the Majestic had a special place in my heart and I'll miss how things were.

I do, in all sincerity, wish Mr. Costarides the best of luck.

 

4 comments:

  1. You two should do a podcast interview together. Effects of the Internet on local businesses and all that...

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  2. Awesome exchange. Love that you called him out, love that he responded.

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  3. Ditto what Jon said. There was an exchange of views -- the very best thing the Internet has to offer.

    Tasso makes some good points, and if you really feel it's different, well, then, I guess it is, and you have a right to say so.

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  4. I was there for the first time a few weeks ago. I don't know about the rest of these items, but my waffle was thin and hard :-)

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