I would like to think I am a patient man.
No, in fact, I know I am a patient man. However, my patience does run thin when it comes to bad service in restaurants. Certainly, I can handle a meal where I need to flag down the server to get my glass of beverage of choice or water filled. I can handle the occasional foul up when my salad is served on a warm plate.
However, what I cannot handle is surly, mean-spirited, verbally abusive wait staff. This is why I was one of the few people who never understood why people were so gah-gah to go stand in line for an hour in mid-town Manhattan to be verbally abused by the Soup Nazi. I was living in NYC at the time when this individual gained his notoriety because he was the subject of an episode of Seinfeld. People in the office where I worked near Battery Park would actually take personal time to have an extra 30-60 minutes of time so they could subway it up to midtown and pay some obscene amount for a cup of soup and then get yelled at because they wanted extra crackers.
I just dont get it.
So, that episode of my life was in the front of my head when I returned to the Park Central Deli after a bad encounter about three months ago.
Park Central Deli is the name of what used to be the Miracle Mile Deli in the Park Central Mall at Central and Earll in Phoenix. It rests on the south side of the complex, next to the Starbucks and The Good Egg.
I was always a fan of Miracle Mile back when its main location was at the Christown Mall (now The Spectrum). I am a sucker for their Straw Sandwich a heaping pile of delicious pastrami covered with a heaping pile of sauerkraut and then topped with Swiss cheese. All of this is perfectly matched with an onion roll. I love this sandwich.
So, in my mind I thought I would overlook what happened back in May when I received a very loud and hostile tongue-lashing when I asked if I could get potato salad substituted for the French Fries. Read the sign!!! You get French Fries!!! the server barked at me from behind the serving counter while simultaneously slamming down his spatula on the cutting board. At first I thought it was a joke, but his face said it all.
Okay, everyone is entitled to a bad day. I have them. You have them. Everyone has them. I can handle that.
So, today, desiring a Straw Sandwich ($7.95 which includes fries and a pickle), I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I approached the counter and placed my order, opting to stick with the French Fries. In record time, my sandwich was plated and ready to be paid for. Then the surliness returned. In a very gruff tone, the man at the register asked me what I wanted to drink. I asked for a Diet Coke.
The man rang up my order and I used my debit card to pay the $10.22 total. He swiped my card, put my meal on a tray along with the drink and a receipt from the register, and then he slid the tray to me. As I picked up the tray, I asked if I could have a receipt for the debit transaction. Clearly, I asked the wrong question.
Jesus Christ! Youll get your receipt! the man yelled. He then started smashing buttons on the card swipe machine, then tearing off my copy and dropping it onto my tray. Thankfully, it landed on the fries.
Now, to be fair, the sandwich was very good. The pastrami was tender and full of flavor. The fries were tasty but a bit overcooked, but that was something I could live with. My sandwich with a bit of deli mustard really hit the spot for lunch.
However, this will be my last visit to Park Central Deli. Ever.
There is absolutely no excuse for two visits that result in a member of a wait staff yelling at a customer without provocation. Asking for a substitution on a food item or for a debit card receipt is not out of line and could have easily been met with a simple I am sorry, but we cant do that or Just a moment, sir, and I will get you a copy of your receipt.
I am one of those people that believes that service is just as important as the food. I guess I am in the minority after seeing how many people made a beeline for the Soup Nazi.
I do hope the Park Central Deli is comfortable resting on its laurels of his past as Miracle Mile.
With its surly and abusive service, I simply refuse to return.
Park Central Deli
9 Park Central Mall (Central Avenue and Earll Drive)
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Dress: Casual Defensive Shielding