About a month ago a friend came to visit from Colorado, and I wanted to take him out for lobster. The best places are closed by late October, and I phoned Oqunquit Lobster Pound to see how late they would be open that night. I was told that we would be fine so long as we arrived between 8:30 and 9:00. We showed up at 8:00, and a bouncer looking fellow out front told us that they stopped seating at 8:00. We explained that we had called ahead, but he became surly. We were annoyed, but found another perfectly suitable joint down the road.
My family and in-laws came up from New York for Thanksgiving, and on Friday we went out for lobster. Again, very few places are open for lobster this time of year. We were a party of fourteen, so I called ahead to try to make a reservation and triple check their hours. They wouldn't take a reservation. So we arrived and the place is less than half full. Lots of open tables, and they give us two tables (10 and 4 tops) about fifteen feet apart. There's lots of room, so we ask if we can move the tables together. They refuse. Why? Because they don't put tables together. Again, why? Because that's the rule. The manager reiterates this policy with convinction, as if we were making an outrageous request. Lots of open tables next to each other, but they just won't do it. New York mother-in-law is not happy.
We stay and sit at two separate tables, so we ask for one check for each table. And then, if you can believe this, the waitress tells us that we must have one check for both tables. Why? Because they don't allow separate checks. But how can we be one party if you won't even let us sit together? Huh?
Remember that this is a party of 14 going out for lobster and drinking, so the bill will be in the neighborhood of $500-600. And they can't accomodate a family that wants to pull two open tables together? Can anyone shed some light on this? We recently moved here from New York to teach at UNH, so I'm wondering if I'm just failing to understand the local logic. Can it really be that this is how customers are treated in the tourist areas of New England?