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Melisse Baylor sent me an e-mail this afternoon, under the heading, “pizzeria orso — you mind want to amend your review.” Never mind the typo, I got the idea. Melissa Baylor and her family had a bad experience at the new Falls Church pizzeria, which I had raved about earlier this week.
Below is the full text of her e-mail:
We read the reviews, including yours, that were in the Washingtonian and that were hyperlinked on the Pizzeria Orso website and were so excited to go. We love Two Amys and 2941, so we had high hopes. Our family went last night before 9p. We had to wait 15-20 minutes for a table – not a big deal, my husband and I got drinks at the bar. After getting a table, we had to wait another 5 minutes for a server. Her first words were – I have some bad news, we are out of pizza dough. She didn’t apologize, make suggestions for other things to eat, or anything. When we expressed our shock without cursing or screaming – just pretty surprised that a pizza restaurant ran out of dough, she said I’m sorry, turned her back, and walked off. Our family of four was just left there. (While I appreciate the fact that dough is made daily there, the ingredients for dough are not massively expensive and they might want to consider erring on the side of having to throw some out).
As we were leaving, another group was being seated. My husband asked them if they knew the pizzeria was out of pizza, and they did not – the hostess had not warned them either! After that, I asked the bartender to get the manager – still calmly and politely – but the manager did not show up and after a few minutes we left.
I am shocked at the total disregard for the customer. At a minimum, we should have been told upon arrival that they were out of dough. I feel like we were almost tricked into spending money at the bar. In my mind, an apology and possibly an offer of a freebie on our next visit would have been much more appropriate – then we would have been disappointed but still would have returned.
I can only hope that food critics get much better treatment than the rest of us.
I contacted Pizzeria Orso’s publicist, who put me in touch with Thea MacQuaid, the general manager and wife of pizzaiolo Edan MacQuaid. She said that they were expecting Tom Sietsema‘s First Bite column on Wednesday, but not the other reviews, like mine, which also came out this week. As a result, the husband and wife team had not prepared enough dough balls for last night. Edan MacQuaid had prepped 360 balls, which lasted until about 9:30 p.m.
“Because of the 36 hour fermentation, we can only plan so much beforehand,” Thea MacQuaid told me. “When we’re out, we’re out.”
The GM said that the Baylor family was unfortunately seated shortly before the kitchen found out about the problem. Thea MacQuaid and an assistant GM then went into the dining and started to notify customers. By the time, the managers had alerted patrons, MacQuaid added, the Baylor family had already departed.
“I feel horrible that we could not rectify the problem while she was here,” Thea MacQuaid said. The diners who did stay despite the dough outage were treated to free gelato, she added.
Thea MacQuaid plans to contact the Baylor family and make up for the problem. Her husband, meanwhile, has prepped 500 dough balls for tonight’s service.