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July 07, 2008

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Sometimes all it takes is one sub par experience (food, service or both combined) to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I try my best to give all eating establishments a 2nd chance but given the prices out east these days everyone should expect at a minimum a decement meal and good service. If this place is understaffed on a holiday weekend then I can only imagine what its like off season or during the week. I appreciate your reviews on the local eating establishments.

Mike: Thanks for chiming in. I tend to agree with you.

The more that I think about this...I'm wondering if:

1. The kitchen is really only equipped for the number of tables INSIDE the restaurant (maybe they just can't handle the volume of outside-sitting patrons.

2. It's not so much that the front of the house was understaffed, maybe the people that were there just weren't very good?

I'm honestly not sure.

Like Nena, I have been a waitress, or gender neutral "waitron", for years. And having working the industry in everything from small dive bars to large swanky establishments, I've acquired a rule-of-thumb, so to speak. Basically, if a restaurant is swamped with crappy service, I will let it go as long as I make sure to uphold my end of the deal by telling the manager that my general experience was poor. If, however, the experience happens again, I will not only write a formal letter telling them that I'm seriously disappointed, but also that they have permanently lost me as a client. I have loads of patience for the service industry in general, but if a customer has remarked on an issue that is not addressed head on by the restaurant, my sympathy takes a nosedive.

Yeah I can see that. We have been there 3 times so far. The first was the best and it was basically empty. I recommended the place after that visit. The second time I didn't like what my wife had but it was still good. The third time it was swamped and the staff was WAY overwhelmed and it showed in the product and the service.

Disgraceful, treating paying customers that way. What a terrible disappointment. Typical bloody North Fork, too. How could they be understaffed on a holiday weekend???!!! I'd never go back.

Which is why it's more pleasant and much more affordable to eat at home.

But everyone needs a little break from home once in a while.

Ugh!

I'm with Lenn in the "I want to love this place" category. But our three experiences there have been mediocre, great and awful - in that order. The owners are sweet, and very helpful. But I'm not sure I can go further than "neutral" in my comments on the rest of the staff we've met.

I do think that, the way they run this place, there is a clear lack of experience that they may get over. And good help is terribly (TERRIBLY) hard to find.

If this place survives 2008 successfully, I think they'll turn the corner in the off season and rock it out next year. I just hope they make it to that point.

Love Lane Kitchen is what the North Fork needed for a long time..It's a blessing..The food is excellent and worth the wait..Being a Manhattanite for a long time, one just has to sit back and relax..The food is certainly a big change, and Mikes' standards are high..Be patient, better service will come with time.

I am with Barbara on this one...the food is generally really good (though admittedly, I usually do take-out at lunch hour). My dinner experiences have been excellent and it's never crowded at dinner time which likely makes a huge difference in service.

Dear Lenn & fellow Bloggers,

We want you to love Love Lane Kitchen too! So, thank you for your comments. We take your constructive reviews to heart and aim to remedy. I do personally welcome your thoughts/comments/suggestions at any time - so please feel free to walk up to me and speak frankly. We are very grateful to our local patrons and recognize that our success relies on your satisfaction.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Mike Avella
Owner, Love Lane Kitchen

im a little late in commenting on this story but i too want to love this place and in fact we did LOVE it the first time we had dinner there. the 2nd time was good but not AS good. the third time we tried breakfast/lunch and it was a disaster!!!!

service was INCREDIBLY slow and no it was not packed. i ordered a panini and onion rings. he ordered a sandwich i cannot recall right now because he didnt like it after 2 bites. my onion rings came out in 10 minutes. his meal came out 15 min after that. mine NEVER came out. when i brought it to the servers attention she didnt seem surprised and said it would be right out. 10 more minutes later we are so agitated we just want the check, which we had asked for at the time of questioning where my panini was which i said i didnt really want at this point. in any case, it finally came out barely pressed and i asked the runner to just wrap it and hurry up please. well that was quick at least. we left a very small tip and i think we even left the sandwich on the table. we arent going back, we thought it was terrible AND a friend of mine works there, shhhhh.

Mike Avella was extremely rude to us. He accused us of re-writing the menu when we were only trying to address one of his incompetent servers' errors on the bill. It was a matter of a measly $3 and he made that accusation.

The situation: our server asked my mother if she wanted the bacon (THAT CAME ON THE SANDWICH) on the side or on the sandwich. At the time, I thought that was an odd thing to ask (I was a server/bartender for 10 years). My mother replied that she would like it on the side. When it came time for the bill, we were charged $3 for a side of bacon. When we explained what the problem was, he came out with gibberish about not appreciating us coming in there in re-writing the menu. WHAT?! His server was completely in the wrong and he treated us like we were wrong. It was most unfortunate considering we actually enjoyed our meals. My family lives on Love Lane.

Really, Mr Avella? You are "very grateful to your local patrons"? I don't think so.

Strictly anecdotal: we ate at Love Lane Kitchen for the first time this past Friday evening and had a wonderful dinner with a nice Jamesport Cab Franc. Based on the one visit I'd go back.

I've actually eaten at LLK several times after writing this post and while the service can still be a little inconsistent at lunch, I've had nothing but great experiences during dinner service.

I'm going there this week actually.

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