Service Sins

Professional pet peeves.

There are just some service no-nos our local chefs will not put up with. Here are some unpardonable gaffes that staff just can’t commit.

Leslie Lampert, Owner
Café of Love 38 E Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 242-1002
“Unpardonables are not knowing which position gets which dish. No auctioning, no ‘Who gets the bass?’ Also, I have fifteen-second and fifteen-minute rules: the guest must be greeted like a rock star within fifteen seconds and, if appetizers don’t come out in fifteen minutes, the server must let me know so I can send out an amuse to help them wait.”

David Starkey, Owner
Sweet Grass Grill 24 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 631-0000
“One ironclad rule is, ‘No substitutions.’ Decaf is decaf, and Grey Goose is not Absolut. Honest service even trumps friendly service.”

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David DiBari, Chef/Owner
The Cookery, 39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry (914) 305-2336
“Rule number one is never say ‘No.’ A good server knows how to steer a customer to a good option.”

Jacques Loupiac, Owner
La Panetière 530 Milton Rd, Rye (914) 967-8140
“We have a written service manual with rules that we go over daily: remove used dishes immediately, don’t interrupt a conversation, don’t pass your arm in front of a customer’s face, and give the customers anything they want.”

David Haviland, Executive Chef
Equus at The Castle on the Hudson 400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown (914) 631-3646
“My own pet peeve is when the server doesn’t talk to the kitchen. The staff has to check with the kitchen before promising something to the customer.