My tale of woe begins 24 hours before I even decide to eat at the Cypress Pita Grill.
As I am making my way to Pie Zanos to review that establishment, I notice that there are a lot of people at the outside tables at Cypress Pita Grill. I notice the fresh-looking salads and the general merriment of the situation and make a note to return to check the place out.
As fate would have it, I needed to stop back near the Town & Country shopping center and decided to check the place out for a nice luncheon. I park, walk to the entrance and wait.
I wait a few more minutes while two of the wait staff and a bus person pass me several times. I finally get noticed by one of the servers and am told to take a seat anywhere. Since it is a nice day out, I opt for one of the tables facing 20th Street.
I take a seat and wait. I wait some more. Then, I wait some more. Fifteen minutes have passed and I have nothing to show for it. No menu, no water, no place setting, no acknowledgement. Then, one of the servers notices me and asks, "Do you need a menu?"
Now, I know I am not a restaurant owner, but I would think that unless you are Bob the Letter Carrier who eats at Cypress Pita Grill every day and has the same meal for the past 23 years, the default would be to have your staff give every customer a menu. I affirm that a menu is needed and the server disappears into the interior of the restaurant. Then I wait some more.
I am now 25 minutes into my lunch and, finally, a server arrives at my table and asks if I want something to drink. I order a glass of water and a Diet Coke ($1.45). As he leaves my table, the table next to me asks for some extra napkins. He says he will get them.
My server returns with my glass of water. As he approaches my table, something distracts him and he ends up spilling the water onto my lap, followed by my leg, my sock and then my shoe. I shake my foot a bit and try to figure out how I can mop up the mess. I look at the server and he looks at me and says, "Don't worry. It's just water." He then departs to take an order at another table.
Now, I know I am not a restaurant owner, but I would think that the in situations such as these, your staff would offer an apology, immediately get some paper towels or napkins to mop up the water and the like. My only fear at this point was that he would return with my Diet Coke and repeat the floor show.
Another 10 minutes pass and my drink is brought. The server take my order. I choose the Hummus ($3.25), the Gryo Greek Pita ($3.95) and ask for a side of fries for the pita (an add on of $1.95).
About 10 more minutes pass and another server arrives with my plate of hummus. It is a beautiful presentation, particularly because of the contrasting plates and the ring of pita bread triangles. I am ever hopeful that my fate has changed. Alas, it hasn't.
The pita bread is fine, but the hummus is dreadful. There is no kick of garlic or freshness to it. The taste is that of chalk. I could eat hummus by the spoonful, but this paste is very unpleasing to the palate. It could be that they used canned chickpeas or they didn't add any seasoning, but whatever the reason, this is not quality hummus. To add insult to injury, the drizzle of olive oil is more like a quick pour onto one edge of the hummus. I am also trying to figure out what was up with the paprika fetish the cook has. There wasn't just a dusting. This was a sandstorm. So, I take solace in the pita bread.
Another 15 minutes pass and I get my Gyro Greek Pita. It looks decent enough. The meat and lettuce are wrapped in a pita and that is wrapped in an aluminum foil strip. I also notice some tzaziki sauce right at the edge. I take off the foil wrapper and take my first bite. So far so good, althought the tzaziki sauce is very meager and I only taste the meat and lettuce. The meat was very good. Soft and tender, this gyro meat does a pretty good job of bringing about a good does of taste to the pita.
I take another bite and there is only meat and lettuce. Tzaziki and tomatoes are nowhere to be found in this sandwich, and they are basic staples in this meal. I open up the pita to find that there are some tiny, diced tomato chuncks at the other end of the sandwich. Likewise, the only tzaziki I see is at the end of the sandwich and that is no more than a drop.
Then, I realize that something was missing. My fries had not been included in the meal and since I hadn't seen my server, nor would I know how long it would take to get the fries, I simply decided to eat my sandwich and be done with it.
I finish my sandwich and ask the second server for my bill. Then I wait. And I wait. And I wait. I ask for it again. I finally get my bill. Instead of waiting for a server to return to get my cash and give me change, I walk into the restaurant and to the cash register. I look at my bill and notice that I was charged for the fries, even though I didn't get them. I point this out to the second server who has made a dash to the register to help me.
The first server overhears the conversation and comes up to me and says, "I did give you your fries." No, I point out to him, he did not. He insists that he did put fries on my table and says I have to pay for them. I tell the second server to deduct the fries in a very stern voice and she does so. The first server storms out, throwing his hands into the air.
Now, I know I am not a restaurant owner, but that sort of behavior is unacceptable by any staff member. The server who stormed out had no vested interest in whether or not I was being honest about the fries. His lack of service certainly precluded him from getting any tip.
So, I pay my bill of $9.35, get my change and leave.
This was truly a terrible experience all the way around. The place isn't that big and there weren't that many people eating at the time I was, so I am unsure what the problem was service wise, except, perhaps, incompetence.
I am now 2-for-2 at Town and Country. The other restaurant in that same small area is Baby Kay's.
I think I will just skip it and return to Town & Country only to shop at Trader Joe's.
Cypress Pita Grill
4747 North 20th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Dress: Scuba suit.
Note: Located directly north of Trader Joe's.
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