I have been holding back on posting this for a week or two since XMas, but finally decided I would after settling an internal debate. Below outlines my experience with Carangi's.
I spent the past several weeks prior to the holiday season dropping in 1-2x per week for coffee and baked goods. Service was spotty at best. Owner seems like a nice guy (his sister, who also has an ownership interest from what I understand, is a bit of a space cadet at times). In retrospect the multiple times that I 'kicked' the coffee should have given me some clue that they weren't always in tune with what their customers needed. Regardless, I talked the place up to many others due to their incredible rolls and La Colombe...and then XMas Eve came.
My order was due to be ready at 9AM. It was placed a week prior and written down in a notebook with my name, number and the time it was due to be done. When I showed up at 10AM it was pretty clear they were in the weeds. There was a woman arguing with the owner/sister and the first words I heard upon walking in were 'you have ruined your reputation'. The owner stormed off and the woman stormed out. Uh-oh.
I was waited on by a doe eyed teenager who clearly had no insight as to which orders were ready and which were not. She asked some of her co-workers for guidance and they agreed that if I could give them 2 hours (until noon) they would be ready. Not a problem for me, I came back at 1pm. I'll give you one guess..yep still not ready. More people waiting, clearly more issues. Most staggering was the fact they were still working off the same notebook they took the orders in to figure out what was due up when. They clearly never made a master list of how much they needed and when. Even more upsetting was the fact that it appeared to me that they were sending out the teenagers to deal with angry customers instead of facing them themselves (the male owner and founder was not there on Xmas Eve to be clear).
I returned at 2.45 pm to find a few more people working inside, but still no bread. This time there was a new twist, they had no record of my order now. At least now someone who was actually old enough to get served in a bar took my info down. They apologized, took my name and number and assured me it would be done soon and they would call me so I wouldn't have to come back again only to be let down. At this point, I was fairly furious but simply continued to keep my cool as I convinced myself they were having a worse day than me and it was XMas after all.
When I got a phone call 30 minutes later the caller ID got my hopes up (silly me) that they were finally ready with my order. Instead I was told the product was not 'sellable' and they would be shutting down for the day. I am fairly certain they just didn't have the guts to tell me to my face that there was no chance my order would be completed. I had 50 people coming over on XMas Eve and their rolls and Tomato Pies were a central part of the meal.
I improvised and Acme had plenty of Amoroso's in stock, so disaster was averted to a certain extent. I am left feeling an immense amount of ill will towards a bakery that only a few weeks before I was rooting lustily for to succeed. Now when I drive by I am waiting to see the For Rent sign in the window.
ChowHounds proceed at your own risk.
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