Young and Hungry

Most Ridiculous Restaurant Excuse of the Year? ‘The Pickles Have Been Put Away’

I've heard some pretty lame excuses for bad service at all sorts of restaurants in my lifetime, but the line of complete horse shit that I was served at American Ice Company one night last week easily takes top honors for most pathetic pretense of 2011. All my dining companion and I wanted was a simple $4 pickle sampler from the bar menu while sipping our drinks at Ian and Eric Hilton's hipper-than-thou hangout on V Street NW. But, apparently, the mere act of retrieving some measly preserves from a twist-top container was too much to ask on this night. To be fair, the service was pretty sub-par to begin with. It took seemingly forever to even get the attention of either bartender—both were diddle-daddling on their cell phones—despite plenty of empty bar stools all around us.

After finally finagling some semblance of service, our erstwhile attendant eventually returned bearing sad news and an even sadder face. "The pickles have been put away," she sighed before promptly retreating to the far end of the lengthy counter. The clock had yet to strike 11 p.m. and a bunch of other snacks, including the cheesy house "swachos," were otherwise available.

My friend and I were stupefied. What, is the pickle jar locked inside some fortified vault out back or something?

It took some pointed glares and complaining but we were ultimately able to persuade another bartender to actually open the frickin' pickle jar.

What makes the whole incident more obnoxious is the entirely opposite treatment we received at our next stop: Ben's Next Door, where some courteous staffers immediately searched out a vacant two-top hidden amid an otherwise packed restaurant and catered to our every request with both promptness and respect—and did so, I might add, even later into the night.

Y&H wants to know: what's the biggest load of B.S. you've been served at a D.C. eatery lately?

Photo by Dvortygirl/GNU Free Documentation License

  • Sam

    Every time I think, "Why don't I go to Young and Hungry to see if there's anything interesting to read there," I end up saying, "I'm a fool, why don't I ever learn???" Over-the-top obnoxious complaining by entitled folks like this thing above, faux-investigatory bullshit who-cares pieces about who owns the latest meatball place, etc. Why don't I ever learn?

  • Silver Springer

    The complete lack of service we received one night at Ben Chili Bowl around 1100PM. We stood at the register for five full minutes being completely ignored, with a line of people behind us. I walked out...there's no excuse for ignoring your customers, period.

  • Aaron

    Wait... Sam, I'm confused. You read this whole post and then logged in to comment about how you're constantly thinking about visiting the site, visiting the site, reading the posts, and not liking them? Why DON'T you ever learn???

    Or why don't you just admit that you were one of the cell phone diddling bartenders and get it over with...?

  • Adam

    The fact that you eventually got the attention of the American Ice bartenders means you had an experience there that was better than average.

  • JYW

    Bad service at American Ice Co - I think in order to get good service there you have to have a flannel shirt, a mustache, visible tattoos, funky glasses, or some other hipster fashion statement. Otherwise, good luck!
    I am also still perplexed they charge $1 more for all there beers than anywhere else around. They seem to care more about their image than their customers.

  • nafnaf

    Agree on bad service at American Ice as status quo.

    As for other BS, there seem to be certain bars that do happy hours on beer (say, for 1/2 price) but tend to be out of the beer that would return the worst (or negative) margin at that price. L'Enfant seemed to do this with Orval at their Tuesday Belgian happy hours (and saying they had "distributor problems"). Brasserie Beck has coped with the problem by widdling their HH-eligible beers to 3 taps and charging $14 for them, so they're still $7 at HH.

  • Lisa

    Is it wrong that all I want to do is go to American Ice Co now?

  • ben


  • Mario

    I think it was Gordon-Bierch a several years ago. We asked for ketchup for our fries. The server hesitated for a couple moments and said, "Sorry, I just don't think we have that much left." That MUCH? Are you kidding me? Was there some super ketchup group that was due in later and had reserved the rest? One of the only times in my life I tipped less than 15%; actually just a penny. Felt slightly bad about it until the server followed us out of the place and (forcefully) threw about $2 worth of change at us. Glad she didn't take out an eye.

  • Mike

    If a server ever threw change at me I would be forced to go all Wayne Brady and choke a bitch.

  • OutOfBrisket

    I have tried to go to American Ice Co. 3 times, but haven't stayed once. Each time I got there, they were already out of the brisket. The first time was understandable, as it was 10pm. But the second time was at 8, and the third time was at 7:30. I haven't even tried returning since. Too many other good places on 14th and U.

  • Jane

    "The pickles have been put away" sounds like some terrible euphemism or secret spy code phrase.

    I don't get how American Ice Company stays in business when I can't name a single person who has had an even mediocre experience there.

  • Dane

    We were at a restaraunt in Dallas last month, Snuffers, at about 6 pm, and my wife could not get wine because they were out of wine glasses. I know it's not DC but its craziness worth noting....

  • L.R.

    Multiple places have put the soup away on me an hour or so before closing. Tynan, OK, but Cosi (on E & 11th)? The cashier did say he'd go warm some up for me, but soup is pretty basic to Cosi's menu..especially in December.

  • D. Gold

    When did Y&H become Yelp? It would certainly explain the high number of whiny comments on this post.

  • Laura

    Completely agree with Jane. Don't know anyone who has had good (food) service there. They are always "out" of everything. Last time I went with my bf we went specifically because he was craving ribs for his birthdays and were told after sitting down and ordering a drink that the menu had changed recently and they didn't have ribs anymore. We left.