Here's my review of MilDREAD's Temple Kitchen:
Much like a vast and airy temple on a cold and windy day, the aptly named, Mildred’s ”Temple” Kitchen is a cold place. In atmosphere (cafeteria-like with concrete floors, hard plastic chairs, raggedy coir-esque mats, drafty) but especially in service.
I have no patience for bad service. No matter how good the food may be, if customers are not treated with respect, I will simply not dine there.
So, although we were really excited to have brunch at Mildred’s and had heard so much about the buttermilk pancakes, we did not dine there and I will tell you why:
a) Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (henceforth referred to as MTK) does NOT take reservations for groups less than 12 (we were a group of 7, how unfortunate for us).
b) MTK does NOT pick up their telephone at any time during Sunday brunch (even though there are 3 hostesses idly minding the front desk. This is, of course, when they are NOT helping to open the front door which gets stuck in the blustery wind tunnel where the Temple is hidden on Hanna avenue). The result is a struggle with the big glass door while 3 lazy assed hostesses stare down their noses at you from inside.
c) It’s apparently okay at MTK to completely brush someone off when asked about parking costs in the underground (you will note if you visit their site that the simple Flash page has little to no information on it. Something about Mildred minding her peas ’cause…you know, that IS useful, but no information about the cost of parking). I finally learn after having to vie for attention that it’s Green P parking and the prices are ”whatever is listed there”. I then learn from my friends who end up parking there that it’s $5.
d) MTK will NOT seat you unless all of your party has arrived. This does not matter even if:
more than 50% of your party has arrived (there were 5 out of 7 of us waiting)
the waiting party has been waiting for 2 hours! (you have to remember that this is BRUNCH we’re talking about, so many of us had not eaten breakfast!)
e) There were several attempts to speak to the manager about our situation (because by this time everyone who had either arrived before or AFTER us had already been seated) and our situation was this :
Granted, we were a group of seven, with five of us waiting, but we already knew by the time we got there that two of our friends would be late; neither of them had cellphones but had managed to contact us through pay phones. And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that usually what happens is that whoever gets there first gets a table while everyone else joins in whenever they arrive? I mean, really, correct me if I am wrong. So in my friends’ defense, they were totally unassuming of our predicament. When I realized that there wouldn’t seat us until everyone got there I had to reason with the manager telling her that we had absolutely no idea when the other two would get there, so why couldn’t the five of us be seated and then simply add a couple of chairs later?
Alas, it was not to be. The manager was ridiculously stringent over MTK’s seating policy. Her logic was as follows:
“We can’t seat five of you and then add two chairs later when your friends come, because if five of you finish eating and then the other two arrive and sit down to eat, there will be 5 spots that we’re missing out on filling with other patrons.”
So, I had to ask:
“How is this different than if all seven of us were to arrive on time, sit down for brunch and all finish eating but decide to hang out for 3 hours?”
I was told that this was very different because some of their patrons dine for 10 minutes and others for longer, but they only seat all of the party once everyone has arrived.
Even when our sixth person arrived, the manager refused to budge declaring that she didn’t have a table for our group at that time, anyway! This was when one of my friends began filling out a ‘comment card’. This was also when we decided to head over to Butler’s Pantry, instead. I called Butler’s and was told they would have a table ready for ALL seven of us by the time we got there! Ah….service. So that’s what it feels like. (Please take note Donna Dooher & Kevin Gallagher).
At MTK, not only can’t you make reservations to ensure you get a table for brunch, you can’t even be seated when everyone HAS arrived.
When our seventh person arrived, I took the opportunity to obtain a second ‘comment card’ from the manager. This is when she asked if all seven of us were there to which I said,
“Yes, but we’re leaving.”
As expected, her response was, “Fine, I’ll cancel your table.”
On our way out as we gave her our comment cards she said she would pass them on to the owners, but didn’t bother saying anything along the lines of, hmm…I don’t know, an apology?
I expect if Donna Dooher and Kevin Gallagher keep up with this ridiculous seating policy and continue to hire such rude and incompetent staff, this is one “temple” pancake worshippers will NOT flock to.