I'm not one typically to complain, much less publicly, about poor service. My experience this past weekend at the Back Side Cafe is the exception to this rule.
I had friends in from out of town. They had been here several times, and always enjoyed the Ruben sandwich at the Back Side. We decided to indulge on Sunday afternoon.
Upon arrival, we were presented with a special Sunday menu. This didn't include Rubens. Ah, well, such is the prerogative of a restauranteur to have a limited menu on certain days. While looking over the menu for an alternate selection, my friend asked our waitress for a basket of onion rings.
She apologized, and said they weren't served on Sundays. Ok, again, that happens. A limited menu on a Sunday. So instead we asked for a basket of fries.
She replied that we couldn't get those either. I pointed out, quite politely, that the DO serve fries on Sundays, as they were prominently offered in several places on the menu for an additional $1.50 with your meal.
She told us that they were not, however, offered as a stand alone dish, and we could only order them with a sandwich.
I, again, politely, asked that since they had fries, and were making fries that very moment, they couldn't put a dish together for us? We were happy to pay!
Nope. She returned some time later with our beverages and confirmed she had "checked with her supervisor in the kitchen" and fries could only be ordered with a meal.
My friends were appalled, and I was embarrassed for Brattleboro. I've always understood restaurants to be in the customer service industry and while outlandish requests might not be entertained, a simple request for something they already have in the kitchen shouldn't be an issue.
We probably should have left at that point, but we were honestly just so taken aback at the treatment we stayed. My friend ordered a sandwich, and too afraid to ask for the addition of bacon on it, she ordered a side of bacon. When her food arrived, she opened her sandwich and put the bacon in. She didn't DARE ask for something special.
After spending the rest of the day in town and speaking to several other folks throughout our travels about our experience, we found this was not unique. We heard stories of people asking for a sandwich without cheese and being refused (she was vegan). No other alterations to the sandwich were requested.
I don't know the logic behind this practice, but I do know that I will never patronize the Back Side again. Nor will my friends, who come up several times a year.