I knew from past experiences that Earl's was not known for great service, not even for mediocre service, but I expected at least SOME service.
I went in for lunch today to break the daily monotony of salad and soup. I came in shortly after the place had opened, when it was generally still empty. Three girls standing at the hostess counter (notice I did not say ""greeting"", because they didn't) took a few seconds to decide where oh where one single girl (me) could sit in their large empty restaurant before one finally took me 5 feet to a table.
I opened the menu and looked around, noticing that there were more employees than patrons. I knew they had just opened for the day, so it wasn't unusual.
After choosing an entree I closed my menu to signal I was ready and sat quietly watching the servers in their black dresses walk past me, one after the other. No one made eye contact with me, no one attempted to help me, so I just sat and waited.
Five minutes after I sat down, a guy was seated at a table next to me. He hadn't been there one minute before a waitress was there taking his drink and appetizer order. As for me, I still sat drinkless. I tapped on my menu and waited some more.
When the waitress brought the man his drink and appetizer, I looked around impatiently - maybe they couldn't see me? Maybe I was invisible? Finally a server came over, ""hooray!"" I thought...but all she wanted was to ask me if I'd been helped yet (not to actually help me - maybe they were trying to see how long they could ignore me before I went away). ""No,"" I replied. She apologized (thus the ""one star"" rating above) and asked if I'd like something to drink, then did the most baffling thing. Instead of getting my Diet Coke, she walked over to the hostess stand and started socializing (hugging, talking) with her coworkers! No one was tending the bar or I would have ordered it myself. Why did she ask me if she wasn't going to get it for me?
I sat there, starving and madder by the minute, dumbfounded that apparently you need to have male plumbing to be served here.
I decided to go across the street to Corner Bakery, the ol' standby. It might not be as fancy as Earl's, but at least you get fed and watered in a reasonable amount of time. I was surprised when the three hostesses looked surprised that I was leaving. I walked past the three employees at the hostess stand, and the two black-dressed servers sitting outside on the patio (what a cush job!) and decided never to come back or refer anyone to Earl's.
You'd think that in this economy, high-end trendy restaurants would be everything and anything they could to make sure anyone who came to their establishment was treated well to ensure repeat business. Not Earl's! It's too bad that none of those 9 employees took the time to help me, I happen to be a very big tipper.
Cons: Everything non-location related