Saturday, April 10, 2010

Garces Trading Company: Trade Elsewhere

I wish I could tell you about the food at Jose Garces' newest attraction, Garces Trading Company in center city Philadelphia.
I wish I could. I wish I could. I wish I could.
But wishing won't do it.
And neither will a reservation, because this place doesn't accept reservations.
So you have to wait.
But the trading company doesn't necessarily trade in accuracy or punctuality or attentiveness to the customer.
So you have to wait. And wait. And wait.
Yes, we were told we might have to wait "45 minutes to an hour" for a table because our party of five was considered "a large party" at the trading company which doesn't have "that many tables for five." But when we had been there for nearly an hour-and-a-half, we began to lose interest, especially since everyone (including several "large parties") had been seated before us.
We were the only ones left waiting. Yet, no one seemed to care.
During the entire waiting period, neither the manager nor the hostesses nor anyone else ever approached us to give us a brief update on the status of our wait, let alone offer us so much as a cracker.
As best as we can understand it, here's the deal at this new Garces venue: In an effort to maximize profits, chairs aren't moved from tables for two so that five people can sit at what is usually a table for four, because that would leave a seat for one at an unoccupied table for two. Garces doesn't count in odd numbers. He likes to trade in couples or fours or "large parties" of six. That way, he can keep the $eats filled at this cramped charcuterie/bakery/wine boutique/coffee shop/dessertery/cafe/whatever.
If you're part of an odd-numbered party (three, five, seven) or if you're all alone, you're pretty much out of luck.
When I asked about the seating policy, I was curtly told: "Do you want us to ask people to leave. so that you can be seated?"
You see, the Garces Trading Company doesn't really seem to care if this approach presents a problem for you and your party. It seems that if they're crowded and people are spending money and you don't seem to fit, then they're more than happy to have you leave -- no matter how patient you've been.
So, that's exactly what we did.
We took our trade elsewhere. And we advise you to do the same.


Aimee said...

Just another case of discrimination against those who don't have a +1. Despicable!

Eric said...

I have dined at the tading company a few times with "larger parties" and my experiences were all wonderful. Yes, we waited. Once for almost 2 hours. But we wandered, shopped, and when the table was ready sat down and enjoyed every aspect of our meal. I dont understand when people dont get their way or are upset about a wait that they were aware was going to happen going into it that they feel the need to write a blog and trash a place that makes so many people happy. Imagine eating at a restaurant and having someone come up to you and say that you have to leave so that the people waiting can sit down and eat too. That would be dispicable! But for you to take this rout and voice your opinion is just sad. Sad that you think you deserve preferential treatmeant, sad that you think that your party was more important than all the others who must have patiently waited that night as well.

Dan Cirucci said...

Eric: It seems you did not read my post very carefully.
1) I expected no "special" treatment. But I do expect to be treated courteously as a patron; to be given updates; to be informed; to be (at least) mildly recognized. And when I'm disappointed I at least expect the management to say "We're so sorry. What can we do for you?"
None of that happened.
2)If the wait is going to be 90 minutes or two hours, tell me that upfront so I'll know.
3) If the wait is going to be longer than you said it was going to be, alert me to that.
4) No one ever explained why EVERYONE else was seated before us even though many of them arrived later.
5) You "wandered and shopped" INSIDE the trading company for TWO HOURS? Do you know how small that place is? Are we talking about the same place.
6) Pay attention to my blog. I never trash restaurants and I go out of my way to support eateries and other attractions that may not always score a perfect 10. I don't pretend to be a snob or a gourmand -- far from it.
7) This is what blogs are for. I have a right to express my view forthrightly and honestly -- to call it as I see it.
8) I was very fair about this. Before I left, I told the management I would be writing about this on my blog. The people at the Trading Company didn't seem to care one bit. The manager practically laughed at me.
9) Yes, others did patiently wait -- but NO other parties waited as long as we did and NO explanation was given for this.
10) Finally, Eric: I wouldn't worry about Mr. Graces & Co. if I were you (unless, of course you're an employee). I do believe that Garces and the Trading Co. and the other Garces outlets will survive. If poor lil ole me can bring down the Garces empire, then Mr. Graces really DOES have problems far, far bigger than my "review."
So, please -- go and enjoy the Trading Company to your heart's content. You can have a ball and, just think, you won't have to worry about people like me hangin out there. Bon appetit!