A work event took me to Punta Gorda last Friday night so I decided to explore the downtown area while I was there. My co-worker and I stumbled upon a small parade and bringing up the rear was Santa in a convertible. “Cool”, I thought, “I get to see the city’s tree lighting!” Perfect timing!
The downtown area was so quaint and the streets were crowded with young, old, white-collar and blue-collar types. It was a little chilly for Southwest Florida so we thought a nice dirty martini would warm us up.
Jack’s Restaurant looked impressive on the corner of West Marion and Taylor and I was familiar with the Caribbean duo entertaining customers on the patio so we weaved our way inside to a bistro table in the bar.
I know it was a busy Friday night, however: we waited so long for the server to come back with menu’s that I finally got up to get them; we could see our glasses sitting at the end of the bar as server after server picked up their orders (perhaps it seemed so long because we were thirsty?) my dirty martini came with no olives; my co-workers Corona did not have a lime (I thought these were standard accoutrements); our server was buzzing around so many different places we had to wave her down to place an order.
We had the Tuna Poke and a delicious goat cheese appetizer with warm macadamia nuts and Apricot Coulis. The food was great, we may’ve stayed longer and ordered more but thought it would take all night. I checked reviews online and all were consistently good about the food with just a few digs at the service. I talked to some locals later who said Jack’s was not necessarily known for service but for a decent food and a good time. OK, I’m always up for a good time! I guess I was expecting all of the above.
I’m not trashing the place! I would go back! I bring this up because of the conversation on the drive home. What are reasonable expectations for good service? How long is acceptable for a customer to wait for a menu if they seat themselves in the bar? If a server knows they are over their head should they ask someone else to take a table (our server admitted she was also taking care of some regulars who asked for her). Is it reasonable to expect a dirty martini to have olives and a Corona to have a lime?