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Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe?    
Wednesday, October 10 2012 @ 11:21 AM GMT+4
Contributed by: Carolyn

OpinionI'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.


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  • Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe? | 10 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    The Reviews Online Confirm This
    Authored by: KenS on Wednesday, October 10 2012 @ 12:53 PM GMT+4
    After my own disastrous experience dining there a few months back, I went online to check out reviews from past patrons and was both stunned and not at all surprised to read tale after tale that mirrored my dining mishap word-for-word.

    I love hearing this new trend of local businesses encouraging consumers to read reviews posted online by others who have used their services and had to wonder if there aren't a chunk of businesses that haven't yet mastered addressing how their establishment is reviewed on the web. It really makes a difference!
    Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: KAlden on Wednesday, October 10 2012 @ 01:53 PM GMT+4
    It does seem like their service and the quality of their food has really gone down over the past year. It used to be one of my favorite places to bring out of town guests for breakfast but on 2 separate occasions we not only got terrible food (eggs that weren't fully cooked, cheese in a dish when we requested no cheese, undercooked bacon) but the server was so disinterested in her job and in providing any kind of quality service. It's too bad -I hate to see another business fail but they may well be on that road.
    Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: pleasant on Wednesday, October 10 2012 @ 05:31 PM GMT+4
    I keep giving them second chances, but i am sure I haven't been there in 2 years. It is hard to tell when they are going to be open. The service has always been slow and the help seemed like they didn't care.

    I have been there on busy days (every table full) and slow (we were about it) and the service did not improve with fewer customers. I have even watched people wait more than 5 minutes for someone to seat them and then walk away. There were plenty of tables each time. At least once we were told it would be a 45 minute way for brunch and half the tables were empty.

    It is too bad because they are one of the most convenient places to eat if you are going to a performance at Hooker-Dunham, Centre Church, or other locations in the High Street area.
    Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: NOleman on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 12:40 AM GMT+4
    Sounds like a place that I have been lucky to avoid or haven't been a victim of yet. My best advice is unless you know of some one that was been to /survived the spot. I have never been at a loos to any of the fast food on Putney rd. for possibility their competition amongst each others grease. Low level going in can't ruin your day like the "so to do cafe " style that can and has run amongst those new " entrepreneurs" as they feel is "your life style". Best of luck finding a loaf of bread eatable in the Ratt.
    Back Side Cafe or Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: Zippy on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 07:54 AM GMT+4

    OMG! This is my favorite local topic! Inde businesses in Brattleboro. I have always been confused by the concept of "like it or leave it" because I always leave it if I don’t like it. It took a while to adopt this position in Brattleboro because I love to support small, inde businesses and I was once totally invested in downtown. But it felt like going back to get socked in the jaw, over and over again. Once considered noble and character building, that sort of thing has been frowned upon since the ‘60’s.

    The Backside appears to have absorbed some of the most unfriendly service Brattleboro has to offer. My all-time favorite experience was walking into a restaurant downtown (now closed) at 4:57 p.m. on a freezing cold December evening and being turned away because; “We don’t open until five.” (Yes, I know, dinner at 5p.m. is gauche. But I was hypoglycemic and desperate for a cocktail)

    I too have been very embarrassed more than once, so I am cautious about where I will take visitors when in town. The Blue Moose has never disappointed, and neither has TJ Buckley’s (over the 20+ years of us going there) or Three Stones. Maybe we should come up with “safety” ratings? I have consistently found these three safe for taking visitors out for a bite.

    PS I never understood how any place can still serve really bad coffee when there is a coffee roaster in town (where counter help is nothing to write home about, but the product is decent) and water filters are common modern essentials?
    Speaking of service...
    Authored by: Mr. Buddy Love on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 12:27 PM GMT+4
    Try being just the slightest bit "snarky" and, most
    critically, disagree vehemently with the moderators on
    ibrattleboro, and see how long it takes to get them to
    jump on your back and call you a troll. There is an
    unwritten code for ibrattleboro: If you want to post
    frequently and a) not be ignored; and/or b) not get the
    shaft from the moderators, Don't post things that they
    either don't agree with or that run contrary to their
    personal opinion on a topic. If you decide to do it anyway,
    you're not going to get isolated and picked out of the
    herd, made a pariah and in short told to "get the f- off
    this site."

    ibrattleboro does some good things for the community,
    such as report on the doings of local government, cover
    local events, and allow people to post pretty much
    whatever they want, subject to the will of the editors. But
    what it doesn't do a good job of is letting diverse opinion-
    makers feel welcome. In fact, most people who disagree
    with the moderators get shunned eventually. It's too bad,
    because although my posts can definitely be snarky and a
    tad aggressive, I don't think I deserve being singled out
    and given such lousy service. I feel that my opinions,
    whether they align with the majority or not, are still
    valuable, offering a different way of looking at politics or
    other things.

    In short, ibrattleboro is a good site that should continue to
    do the great things it does, but the mean spirit toward
    opposing viewpoints has to stop. Otherwise it will just be
    filled with like-minded "yes men".
    Speaking of service...
    Authored by: annikee on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 02:24 PM GMT+4
    And this has what to do with the Backside?

    Due to budget cuts the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.
    Speaking of service...
    Authored by: KAlden on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 05:34 PM GMT+4
    I'm confused as to what your post has to do with this stream of posts about the Backside? Is it that you just can't turn down any opportunity to complain?

    If you are unhappy with the way ibrattleboro or the Backside or any other "business" in town is run you have the option of not participating,eating, buying there. You have that choice.
    Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: tomaidh on Thursday, October 11 2012 @ 08:54 PM GMT+4
    I was in White Plains, NY many years ago, and I entered a main St. eatery for breakfast. A sign offered a breakfast special of Bacon, Eggs, Sausage and Home Fries for $2.50 (I said it was long ago).
    I ordered it, but said "Hold the eggs" (don't like 'em).
    The meal was fine, but when I got the bill, it was for $6.00.
    I pointed to the sign, $2.50. I was told it was a breakfast special. Yes, said I, but I didn't have the eggs.
    I was told that without the eggs, it was no longer a breakfast special, so each item was priced separately.
    I asked of it was too late to order the eggs. NO, they said, so I asked for two raw eggs, pocketed them, paid the bill and left.
    Backwards Cafe?
    Authored by: Maus Anon E on Friday, October 12 2012 @ 08:39 AM GMT+4
    I remember stopping at a place that advertised "two chili dogs & fries"
    on their lunch menu. I asked for chili & fries.
    "We don't have chili," they said. After I asked about their chili-free
    chili dogs, the counterperson said the chili was for the chili dogs.
    So I said "Great, I'll take the two chili dogs, hold the dogs, hold the
    buns, and put them in a bowl on top of the fries."

    They were not amused. I left.

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain