This is going to be an odd restaurant review. Because we didn’t eat any food! But I’ll get to that…
We are real restaurant geeks, so had been excited for the opening of Backwoods Bistro in Tallahassee. Almost two weeks after it opened (I mention that because it’s important for context) we headed there on Friday night with some friends. Abe and I arrived at 8pm and had a drink at the bar waiting for our friends to get there at 8:30, which worked out because there was a 30 minute wait for a table. When we initially got there, it was busy for sure, but we were some of the last people to come in so it thinned out during our drink.
We sat at the bar and had a cider and beer on draft. The selection was varied and heavily microbrew oriented, which I liked. The prices were good for the drinks as well. The bartender looked a little shell shocked although he wasn’t busy at the time we were there. He wasn’t as responsive as I am used to from bartenders, but was very knowledgeable.
There is a stage at one end of the bar, and the staff were getting lots of bottle beer on ice, so there must be a bit of a late night crowd that comes in with live music.
At about 8:35 the hostess came and got us and brought us to a nice booth in the main seating area. The rest of the restaurant is not much to look at, but I was happy with the booth seating.
The bartender ran our credit card and made it seem like it would be no big deal to transfer our drinks to the table. We told our server we had drinks at the bar and she said it would be easy to transfer. We ordered new drinks and things started to get weird. The hostess came by with scraps of paper in her hand and wondering what we had to drink at the bar because we hadn’t paid. We told her our server said she had transferred it, and the hostess asked who our server was (if anyone in the restaurant should know that, it should be her). She walked away confused and came back a few minutes later again asking us what our drinks had been because they had not been transferred and she didn’t know who our server was. She wandered off after we insisted again the server had the drinks.
Anyways, our server came by and brought 3 of the 4 drinks we had ordered. The 4th never did make it. We ordered an appetizer (it was about 8:45 at this time) and she said there was a bit of a kitchen hold up. We had a pregnant lady with us and it was getting late, so we hurried up to make our main course decisions so we could get it in. Then the server came back and said it would take over an hour for our food. We should have left then. But we were seated and just kept going.
I was having difficulties picking anything from the menu. I had been under the impression that it was a seafood restaurant, but there were large sections on the menu for sandwiches, pizza and pasta? In fact, there was not a huge amount of seafood, and not many “local” options. Things like tuna instead. In general, nothing was that appealing to me, the menu was a little confused and seemed more roadhouse-ish with lots of melted cheese on things. I saw some plates go out to tables, and they were heaping with food so if you are a big eater you will get your fill.
Turns out I didn’t have to make a decision. The server came by at about 9 and announced “the kitchen has told me they are not making any more food tonight”. Cue my shocked face. We were told we would not be getting our appetizer. We could not order our mains. No.more.food. So we said we better leave and she replied that would be a good idea.
It was like the kitchen just said “enough”. The place is new, but had gone through a full weekend of service before we got there, so should have been getting the flow of things when we were there. We were in the restaurant for an hour, and it was busy but nothing insane. Maybe the kitchen was in the weeds a little, but to just stop? With open chits?! I worked in restaurants for about 5 years and never saw that happen. Maybe we smelled funny?
Another odd thing was no manager came by. I could see him, but he sent the server over instead. And she wasn’t that apologetic. She did quickly comp our full drinks, and Abe and I paid for the ones we had drank before (she tried to comp those too though).
We left and had amazing sushi. At a busier restaurant than Backwoods. In the end, it was better than waiting another hour for our food, and food I didn’t really want. I will not go back there to try it out again, and honestly there are so many great restaurants in Tally I would really recommend you don’t go either.