There's a Thai restaurant in Sandy Springs that is rather unceremoniously named Thai Restaurant of Sandy Springs that I used to eat at a lot when I worked on that side of town. It was always a good place for a quick Thai lunch and they had a deal where you could get a free entree on your birthday, so I've always remembered it, even if I have very little occasion to be up in that area any more.
Tonight though, Leigh and I planned part of our evening around the Thai Restaurant of Sandy Springs, and more specifically, around the fried ice cream that they serve. We drove all the way up there to eat authentic sushi and ramen at Sushi Mio, then we caught Burn After Reading at the Lefont before heading back to the Thai place for the fried ice cream. I'm not joking when I say that they used to have some fried ice cream that was worth the trip on its own. It's not something I'd usually expect from a Thai restaurant, but whatever they do to make that dish, it's something special.
So we got there about 10 minutes after 9 PM and walked in past a sign that said "under new management." We checked the desert menu and sure enough, they still had the fried ice cream so we started to sit down. When I told the woman who was running the dining room that we only needed dessert menus, she quickly snatched up the dinner menus and the following exchange took place:
Lady: This is not a cafe. This is a restaurant. We don't sell just dessert.
Leigh and I look incredulous: Huh?
Lady: This is not a cafe.
Leigh (standing up): Did you say 'this is not a cafe?'
Lady: This is a restaurant, this is not a cafe. We have a 10 dollar minimum. You can't have just dessert.
Leigh: Well you just lost some business.
Lady: I'm sorry, we are a restaurant.
OK, so we got it, the aptly named Thai Restaurant of Sandy Springs is not the Thai Cafe of Sandy Springs, and the new owners don't take kindly to folks coming in for just dessert. Given the fact that there was exactly one table in the whole place (a two-top) that was occupied, I can only imagine that whatever money we might have spent there would have been helpful. Instead, that lady made enemies for life out of us, and I can say with certainty that I'll never go back to that place, ever.
What made this sad and frustrating were the facts that I had looked forward to and talked up this damn ice cream, and that instead of the lady being apologetic and kindly telling us that we'd need to spend at least 10 dollars, she snatched up the menus and told us that the place was not a cafe. There are a lot more customer-friendly ways to tell a potential customer that you don't typically serve just dessert if that's really going to be your stance. But why should it be? We went somewhere else instead, got dessert, drinks, and an appetizer and we spent 17 dollars and left a good tip. Some other restaurant (that was also not a cafe) got our business because this lady was too short sighted and too rude to see that we might be good paying customers. I've bitched about customer service in this blog before, and I am always still astonished that I get treated this way anywhere. With food prices going up, gas through the roof, people going out less, and a generally shitty economy, I would think that the Thai Restaurant of Sandy Springs would be happy to sell anything to anyone who walked in their door. Oh well, they won't ever sell me anything ever again.