Sunday, May 14, 2006

Water Street Brewery Woes


Memo to Jess, the blonde waitress that served me last night at Water Street Brewery on Water Street in downtown Milwaukee:

There is a reason that you only received a $.78 tip on a $48.22 tab last night.

You should actually consider yourself rather lucky. My wife does not like it when I speak up about service and food issues at restaurants. Since I am working today, last night was her Mother’s Day dinner. I did not want to upset her and further ruin her dinner by letting you know how ignorant you were to such bad food and service.

Having grown up in a restaurant I feel that I can provide a few common sense areas in which you should improve. Areas #1 & 2 are for you Jess, the other two are comments on the restaurant in general.

Area #1

Don’t serve burnt food. How you could have made it all the way from the kitchen to our table without smelling the raunchy smell of the food, I don’t know. Unless, you are so used to serving burnt food, that it didn’t faze you. In which case you should look for a different restaurant to work in. Although, you should improve in area #2 first, or else where you work won’t make much of a difference.

As a matter of fact, Usinger smoked beef sausage and smoked link kielbasa should not be served BLACK. They were not just charbroiled they were black. They were burnt so bad that I could not tell which one was which. The stench from the burnt sausage was horrendous. How could you have possible served it?

If I were a marketing VP at Usinger, I would cut off your restaurant from using the fine Usinger name until you kitchen staff learns to cook.

Area #2.

When you come around after the meal is served and ask if the food is OK, I would recommend only listening to the adults at the table. Don’t listen to the eight year little girl eating her cheese pizza. The only exception to this rule is if the 8 year old is paying for the meal.

You could have dropped the pizza on the floor in front of her, stepped on it and still served it too her. She would have still eaten it and loved it. It is a cheese pizza for crying out loud. Of course for her it is fine.

When you asked if everything was fine, you walked away as soon as I started to speak. THAT PISSED ME OFF. Once again you can thank my wife. If she were not there, I would have started speaking loudly to you from across the room. Had you still ignored me, I would have followed you into the kitchen. And yes, I have done that before when waitresses/waiters have ignored me.

Area #3

Beer Cheese soup should consist of more than melted Mexican Velveeta and a shot of beer.

Area #4

Your menu claimed that the Jambalaya would have Andouille smoked sausage,boneless chicken, smoked ham. One small piece of each meat, buried in the rice was extremely disappointing. In addition the side salad that was served on the same plate should take up less room than the main meal otherwise it isn’t a side salad.


The Raspberry Weiss was a good beer without being overly sweet.

The freshly sauteed spaetzle was edible.

I knew as soon as we arrived at your facility and were told that we would only have to wait 10 minutes that we would probably have a bad experience. There is an unwritten rule in Milwaukee. If you go to a restaurant at 6pm on a Saturday night, you can tell how good of a restaurant it is by the wait time to get a table. If you have to wait more than one hour, it is a good place to eat. If you have to wait about a half hour, it will be so/so. Any wait of less than 15 minutes, and 90% of the time, you will get bad service or food. My experience Saturday night continued to validate that theory.

There is a reason that on a Saturday night, I could be seated almost immediately. Anyone who had tried your facility would rather wait more than an hour to eat somewhere else. Quite honestly I can’t blame them. I will now be waiting with them at a different restaurant next time my family goes out to eat.

UPDATE I have sent an email to WSB informing them of my displeasure and stated that I am willing to post any replies on this post. I am not holding my breath waiting for a reply.

UPDATE2 (5/16): I have received an email from Sean, the Director of Operations for Water Street Brewery asking my to call him to ‘discuss this further’. Obviously he did not want to discuss this further via email. I will update the post after our conversation.

UPDATE3 (5/16): I have spoken with Sean. He will discuss this issue with his staff in hopes of improving service and quality. He offered to bring me back into the restaurant for a meal on him. I told him that I have no desire to fight downtown Milwaukee even for a free meal. He will instead partially refund my meal price. Sean wanted me to make sure that I understand that the service received is not how his business normally operates.

If anyone goes there in the future, feel free to leave you comments here. I for one will not go back.


Blogger Billiam said...

Thanks! That's a place I will NOT go to on my bi-monthly forays to the Milwaukee area. I spent a number of years in the biz myself. I don't hesitate to voice my displeasure.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont normally either. But, it was our Mother's Day dinner, and unless it is an EXTREME situation, my wife cringes at the prospect of me speaking up.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Billiam said...

Why is that? My Mom is the same way. I always thought you should point out your displeasure, in a civilized way. After all, you're paying for it, and as Mom always said, "money doesn't grow on trees".

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife just doesn't like the attention. Me,I have no problem with getting attention. In fact there are times in life in which I demand being noticed. When I have such rampant service is a prime example of one of those times.

The swelling in my tongue is just now starting to come down. I had to bite my tongue so much Saturday night.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Sean Hackbarth said...

The handful of times I've been there have gone well. It was average food and average service for an average price. I would go back for the beer.

2:40 AM  
Blogger Casper said...

I was half way through lunch today at WSB when I suddenly said to my companion, "oh crap! I'm eating at a place on the S**T list!"


6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't that defeating the purpose of you creating the S**t List?

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Reba said...

I feel bad that your wife has to sit with such an a**hole. Why call out a waitress who was probably at the end of an eight hour shift of dealing with s**theads with you and a kitchen that is obviously letting her down. What makes you an expert? You grew up in a restaurant? Big deal, you've never made a mistake at work or had a bad day? If you say no, then not only are you an a** you are a liar too. I happened upon your blog because I was bored and checking out places in the area... and you my friend have too much time on your hands! My apologies go out to Jess who luckily has a life and most likely never found this blog. Leaving a $0.48 tip is unbelievable! I would have followed YOU out of the restaurant. Whether you agreed with her service or not that was an hour or more of work for her. I cant believe anyone familiar with the business would EVER be such a tight a**.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You, yourself should be put on the shit list. Leaving that s**ty of a tip. I think that the Water Street Brewery is a great place...they always have wonderful service and amazing food. Did your wife order a blackened chicken sandwhich or would be burned then because it's called "blackened". You should have said something, they would have more then gladly brought out a new entree of whatever she got, that's your bad. Also, if you have ever worked in a restaurant or know what's it's like you would understand things don't always go 100% right sometimes there are mistakes and sometimes things will happen. I think you are a complete a** get over yourself. If i were the employees of water street brewery, i would be glad that you would not return!


oh and about the whole wait situation...if you have to wait longer then 20 minutes it doesn't mean it's a good place to eat means the employee's are lazy, and can't get the food out fast enough or clean the tables. i have witnessed night at water street brewery that are busy, and the employees there do a great job at insuring the people wating don't have to wait that long by getting them tables. you are an idiot dude.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the $0.48... You do understand that these people make less than minimum wage and that the bar, bussers, food runners etc. have to be tipped out a percentage of sales at the end of a shift? Your table actually took money out of the pocket of a working girl who doesn't even make $4 an hour. Shame on you. Clearly, you don't know jack about the restaurant biz. Why on earth would you penalize this poor girl? It's not like she cooked your food. I feel really bad for the people who have to serve you.

9:58 PM  

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