First off, let me make it clear that our server Abby B was fantastic! Knowledgeable, accommodating, friendly and sincere, she handled our party of nine extremely well.
But all the bad stuff started before we even walked in the door… before the restaurant even had their grand opening, to be exact. In May, I heard about the Rodgers/Braun MVP concept and even though it was the SURG Group (which I have never been impressed with), I was curious.
• May 12th. Sent an email to the 8-twelve email address provided on the website, expressing interest and requesting a reservation. No response.
• May 19th. Emailed the SURG Restaurant Group expressing interest in 8-twelve and requesting a reservation. No response.
• July 29th. Coincidentally, a friend of mine tried to make a reservation for a group and was flat-out told they do not accept parties larger than seven. Period.
• August 12th. Still no response and by now, the restaurant has opened. Sent a last-ditch-effort email to 8-twelve and heard back immediately. Eric apologized for the lack of response and blamed “glitches” in their email system.
• August 13th. Event Coordinator Miguel advised Room 8 would accommodate up to 20 people with a minimum spend of $1000. Since the average entree price (yes, I did the math) is $24.68, a $50 per person minimum spend seemed exorbitant. He emailed the contract for me to sign and said he would provide a limited menu for our group after coordinating with the chef. Waited for the menu.
• August 15th. Still waiting for the menu. Miguel told me to hurry up and send him the signed contract. Told him I can’t until I have a menu.
• August 20th. Still hadn’t received a final menu. Gave up and called the house phone and made a reservation for eight. No problem!
On August 30th, we met for dinner. One of the attendees arrived with a guest so now we were a party of nine. I immediately advised the Host station and Hannah said it would be no problem.
While we waited at the bar, one of the women in our group asked a Manager-appearing-type what the deal is with group reservations, as she was possibly interested in having a family outing here. We told him all the different obstacles we had run into… parties of 7+ are not allowed; no wait, a party of eight is allowed; no wait, group of 8+ must be in the party room with $1000 minimum spend; if we don’t meet the minimum spend, the difference will be charged to our bill; etc etc. Well, the guy sure did talk a lot but didn’t really say anything… he skirted around the issue, talked about how they were still newly opened (63 days old), talked about how overwhelmed they were, how slammed they’ve been, it depends on weekday vs weeknight, etc etc. Our basic takeaway was “Don’t bring your group here,” because the guy must have used the word overwhelmed about five times.
When our party was complete, everyone had arrived and we were seated, the table was still set for eight. I reminded the Host that we were nine and she said she would take care of it. About 10 minutes later, another Manager-looking-type approached our table, huffing and puffing and obviously put-out. He looked down at us and disdainfully advised us, “Your reservation was for eight but I have just checked our books for tonight and I suppose we are able to accommodate you.” He rolled his eyes and stalked off, leaving the FOH staff surrounding us to apologize and hurriedly rearrange our tables.
After that (thanks to our most excellent server Abby B), everything was pleasant! Overall, the food was good (but not outstanding), the ambiance was relaxed, the decor was rustic elegance, the bar was lively and had great specials. Will I go back? Undecided. Someone sure thinks very highly of their food… it’s priced higher than it merits. I don’t think there was a single item that I thought was a good value for its worth.