Poor service dampens great lake lunch
By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent
Editors Note: Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer, AKA The House Doctor.
It's Friday, and another noon day adventure to a new restaurant. Today was special. Lynn went on the journey with Mike and myself. We chose the Chopstix Café on SW 13th St.
This was my first visit to Chopstix and, upon arriving close to 1 pm, after the lunch crowd was leaving, the first thing that caught my eye was the setting. This somewhat large cafe sits on the bank of Biven's Arm Lake. What a spectacular view, and a perfect location to enjoy a leisurely lunch.
As we entered Chopstix, we were told there was a 15-minute wait. No, "Hello. How are you?" Not even a token smile was offered to the three of us.
The Chopstix host did give me a pink, torn off piece of paper with the number 1 on it and said, "You're next when there is a free table."
I actually received my first pink slip. Standing during our 15-minute wait, I noticed three clean empty tables on the inside and an available table on the patio overlooking the lake. Also, there were two tables on the inside as well as two on the outside which had not been cleaned from previous customers. I didn't see anyone cleaning tables. If my figures are right, that makes 8 tables with 4 seats per table, which would seat 32 people. And we had a 15-minute wait?
After about 10 minutes, two young women walked up behind us and asked a server about a table. The server was about to seat the ladies before we told him we were the next party in line.
With several tables still dirty, and no still no smiles noticed, we were led to the patio and our table, which had a great view of Biven's Arm.
After several more minutes, our server came to the table and bowed.
I asked him about a picture on the menu depicting an entrée that looked like it might be good for lunch.
The server couldn't name the entree. He didn't know it was a picture of the Hot Soup Bowl mentioned in the menu. He said it's just a picture, and then agreed with my observation, but said it might not look like that if I ordered it. So much for me getting any help in my lunch selection.
We ordered 4 spring rolls for an appetizer. They arrived, but there were no plates supplied with the spring rolls, so I used my little pink slip as a plate. Mike and Lynn were left to their own devices.
The spring rolls were just a bit over cooked. I think the inside of a spring roll should taste better than the outside. I was taught in Hawaii that spring rolls are supposed to be like a good book. It's not all about the cover. It's what's inside that counts.
I ordered – I think -- the Seafood Hot Soup Bowl and it was really good accept for one thing. There were still shells on the shrimp tails.
"It's soup," I thought to myself perplexed with about how I was to eat this soup. I don't want to spit shrimp shells out when I'm eating my soup.
Everything seemed to be picking up on the service side, until Mike asked for another diet soda. Well, they brought him a glass of tea instead of soda, and gave his drink to Lynn.
I was disappointed my pink slip memento of this lunch blew away in the wind as we were getting up to leave.
I wasn't surprised that customer friendly smiles from the staff showed up when we paid our bill.
Chopstix would be a five star lunch stop if their service was as good as their food.
The Pluses and Minuses of the Chopstix Cafe:
Chopstix Café + indicators: A 5-foot alligator swam from across the lake to watch us eat lunch. No matter where I go for lunch, it can't be that bad when I'm with two great friends. I'll give the food 3 1/2 stars.
Chopstix Cafe - indicators: The staff needs a couple of classes on customer friendly service.
Add your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chopstix. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 367-0003
- Address: 3500 SW 13th St.,, Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: 13th St
- Web Site: http://chopstixcafe.com/chopstix_menu.pdf
- Latitude: 29.621052
- Longitude: -82.340435
Eric S. Friday, 20 September 2013 09:10 Comment Link
I've eaten here through out the years and if there is one thing consistent with Chop Stix, it is poor customer service. You will wait for a table when the restaurant is half full. You will wait for a server to take your order. You will wait for refills (if you actually get one). And you will wait for your food. I don't mind a leisurely dinner, but they take it to extremes that are unwarranted.
The food is good. Its not stellar, as some would have you believe, but lets face it, Gainesville lacks in quality Asian restaurants, so while it's possible they are cream of the crop, but they are measured against mediocrity.
Mindy Thursday, 19 September 2013 09:39 Comment Link
Never had a meal I didn't enjoy at ChopStix. Yes, a little bit of patience goes a long way. I love to order the Spring Rolls. They come out very quickly, with a delicious peanut dipping sauce. The miso soup is excellent and very popular w/vegetarians. My favorite is the Eggplant w/lobster sauce & shrimp. Very willing to separate the eggplant from the sauce, when requested. The scenery makes up for any wait time!
Pamela Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:01 Comment Link
Lunch time Bento boxes by the water watching the gators and ibis is a favorite rainy day spot. I have lived in the orient and the slow pace of service is a plus that makes the experience.
I will never go to Chopsticks again.
Nor will I go to the Thornebrook Sister restaurant. Lousy service & they padded the bill.
Have not been there in years, since my shoes stuck to the filthy carpet as i walked to my table.
Great Chopsticks Salad and I love the Eggplant with lobster Sauce.
Bad attitudes all around; and please do not start running the vacuum at 11:45 next to my table. come in earlier and run it at 10 a.m. please.
I loved your review!
Kristin Rossettu Tuesday, 03 May 2011 09:59 Comment Link
Sadly, I have to agree with Bubba- the service stinks here and has for years. We only order takeout now. However, the food is good enough to merit a drive to and from to pick up our food. The variety on the menu is unlike any other asian restaurant in town, and I am always happy with what I get..... even if it isn't what I ordered. I will never go back there for sit down service though, and I am pretty forgiving because I worked in the service industry for a dozen years. It really is a shame.
Judy Skinner Monday, 25 October 2010 11:21 Comment Link
One of my favorites! Love to look out at the lake and the ginger grouper is a must while a friend goes on and on about the coconut flan. Construction is now complete, so enjoy!