While I’ve had very inconsistent experiences with Fresno’s Restaurant over the years – often waiting three or four years before taking a chance on a return visit due to very poor service, bad food, or both – my wife had had a good brunch there fairly recently and so chose it for our Mother’s Day brunch with her 83 year-old mother, her sister-in-law, and various other family members.
What a mistake.
In each of three phone calls in the three weeks before Mother’s Day (making, and then changing the reservation time well in advance, then another call to confirm), we were told that Fresno’s was, indeed, serving brunch on Mother’s Day from 10 am to 3 pm, as they do every Sunday.
When we arrived at 12:30 pm and were seated, however, we were informed that they had stopped serving brunch at noon. Now, the truth is that we have never had that good an experience with Fresno’s regular menu, and their brunch was the only reason we had chosen to spend Mother’s Day there. The waiter was apologetic (and embarrassed), and twice went back to his manager (owner?) to confirm that brunch was not being served. Even after the waiter checked twice, the manager/owner didn’t readily come to the table to mollify very disappointed and, frankly, angry diners. When the waiter explicitly asked her to come to our table, the manager/owner was unapologetic, focusing instead on a defensive near-argument that it was an employee’s fault, not really the restaurant’s, and had the nerve to suggest that we should have checked with a manager when calling the restaurant. In my mind, if three employees give the same incorrect information over a span of weeks, it is bad training. It was minutes into the conversation before the manager/owner said anything remotely conciliatory (too late!), and started to offer to make an item off the brunch menu (not to actually bring us the brunch menu). By that time, we’d had it, and were in a, “let’s just get out of here as quickly as possible” mode and asked her to go. On any other day, we would have left and patronized a more competent and customer-friendly restaurant, but it was Mother’s Day, and that was impossible.
The food? Adequate in spots, bad in others. The burritos were…OK. The chicken fajitas were awful (a single quarter-sized piece of red pepper, two of green pepper, two of the thinnest wedges of tomato, and probably three cups (!) of onions; the chicken itself was fine, but the condiments – guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo – were tiny dollops in tiny pill cups). The first wave of dinner items arrived at the table 50 minutes after our arrival, and the last 14 minutes later…those polite guests awaiting the arrival of the last of the food waited long enough that their food was nearly cold.
The waiter did the best he could with a situation over which he had no control; he was tipped well (20%), as none of it was his fault
And, ultimately, none of it was the brunch we were primed for and had been promised.
Insult to injury addendum: although the coupon brought by one family member stated no limitations for holidays, weekends, etc., we were informed by the waiter after dinner that it would not be honored.
Needless to say, we will not be returning to Fresno’s under any circumstance, and given these (and too many past) experiences, we’d advise others against doing so.