Reader Survey 2012: Lousy Service in What is Otherwise a Good Restaurant

WaiterThis is another category that I find interesting. If nothing else, I can compare the results to my own experiences. In 2010, the awards went to Clyde Common, Nostrana and Bluehour. This year Bluehour was way down the list, so they are doing something right. Nostrana has soared even higher above the rest.

Out of 338 votes cast, the “winners” are

  1. Nostrana (by a landslide)
  2. Clyde Common
  3. Podnah’s

I’m not surprised by Nostrana; they always are the leader in this category. In my experience, Oven & Shaker (same owner) is a good candidate for next year’s list. Clyde has had issues now and then for years, but Podnah’s, only one point behind them, is unexpected. I’ve probably been ten times in the last year, and have never had anything but excellent service. However, I tend to go early before the crowds.


Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Man-o-steele says

    Nostrana has a weird mix of customers, some just want a quick pizza and then leave while some want a more more formal, longer dining experience, so servers always seem on their heels and little defensive. Clyde Common wants that funky hipster vibe which does not translate well customer service. I prefer to sit at the bar in both locations and have a more casual experience and lower expectations.

    • The Guilty Carnivore says

      “I prefer to sit at the bar in both locations and have a more casual experience and lower expectations.”

      This is a guide handbook for life.

  2. Steve Wino says

    I am surprised to see Podnah’s on this list too. Great waitstaff. We show them some love and don’t ever have bad service. We go when we can avoid the avoid the mob and that probably helps. Agree with Nostrana, unless we hang out at the bar with the good, friendly and attentive bartender.

  3. ben says

    I’ve had some good service from Podnah’s but I’ve also had some bad experiences. Last time I visited, I waited for ~10 minutes in the doorway, waiting to be acknowledged by a server or a host. I finally had to flag down a server to get a seat. This was at about 1 or 2 pm on a Saturday, when there wasn’t really a wait and there were plenty of empty, cleared tables.

    The previous time I visited, I sat at the bar and had great service (on a packed Saturday night).

  4. Kim says

    “Why, oh why does this continue to be an issue in Portland?, It all starts with hiring, doesn’t it?” – And as MANY heads of restaurants will tell you, finding people who actually know what work means who aren’t too superior to actually do it on a daily,weekly, monthly basis & be friendly at the same time is a lot to expect in this town. Podnah’s went thru some growing pains after the move & have hired a stellar crew from what we’ve experienced in the last few months..there is a GM now as well.

  5. Kaili Carlton says

    I’ve generally had great service at Nostrana, but there is one waitress there – a younger woman w/ dark curly hair – who is SOOO rude to us everytime we go in that my husband and I joke that one of us must look like someone in her life that she HATES…. it’s super awkward.

  6. Lance T says

    I agree Maxine, but many restaurants are riding the trend from the recession. They are afraid to hire quality, experienced, FOH managers, for fear of paying a little more. They need to find true leaders that have the passion to train and follow-up with their servers while understanding that the guests can decide whether or not a restaurant succeeds. While Portland can be quite casual, there is no room for rudeness and unprofessional service. Great service will increase your sales, thereby justifying the slightly higher pay for your FOH leaders. The passion for service must equal the passion for quality food.

  7. Kolibri says

    Yes, hiring, but also training and having a well trained front of house lead are important if the owner is not able to oversee front of house at all times. believe me- if they are not well trained and believe in what they are doing- when the cat’s away the mice WILL play.

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