Udupi Cafe – You Can Taste the Apathy

I want to be able to recommend the Udupi Cafe – but I can’t.

The first time we ate there, I was coming down with some sort of headcold so, that one’s my fault. The second time was with a whole bunch of people who loved it. Everyone else raved about their dishes and I got the distinct feeling I ordered poorly. So, maybe I’ll take that one as well.

But tonight – it’s all on them.

We got there early – 6:30-ish and were immediately seated. Maybe 3 or 4 other parties throughout the restaurant. After our water glasses were filled, we waited. And waited. And waited. No acknowledgment from the staff we were even there. Let alone ready to order. Plenty of staff standing about talking to each other.

As we debated whether or not to leave, I caught the eye of the Water Glass Filler and asked – more frustrated than I should have let on:

“Do we have a waiter?”

He didn’t hear me.

“Can some one take our order?”

Five minutes later, the person who seated us and handed us our menus was there with a notebook in hand. He was also quite unfamiliar with the menu – at points giving us the “I don’t think we have that” look.

While we were pondering if in fact our food would return, we timed the attentiveness of the staff to the other patrons. Another young couple was seated behind us and Jen started the timer.

10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes without anyone acknowledging they were there – ready to order or otherwise.

I again caught they eye of Water Glass Filler and asked him if it’s normal to wait this long for service.

He didn’t understand the question, so I told him the table behind us had waited more than 20 minutes for service.

“It’s really busy tonight.”

Yes, the couple left shortly there after. Unserved.

A quick search shows I’m not the only one, back in February, Shree declared:

“Tasteless Food, Pathetic Attitude , Dirty rest room”

The food tasted fresh and I didn’t checkout the rest room, but tonight the apathy was palpable.

I suspect the lack of service has something to do the federal indictment of the owner on aiding, abetting, and harboring illegal immigrants earlier this year (Google cache).

Amazing that 90 days after reopening, they’re acting like they’d rather not be.

4 Replies to “Udupi Cafe – You Can Taste the Apathy”

  1. I think you’re absolutely right about the lack of service having to do with the reason behind the shutdown (the federal indictment and jailing of most of the staff). The service at Udupi used to be fabulous, as was the food. Kiara and I recently ran into someone who used to work there. He did not have favorable things to say about the state of the place now, or the people who run it.

  2. I’m so disappointed overall about the Udupi “situation.” My husband and I used to love Udupi. We’ve been back there twice since the re-opening, and is definately different. Thankfully our service wasn’t so bad – definately not what it was before though. Also wanted to note that your link to “Shree” actually refers to the Udupi in Tempe Arizona (though I think they have the same ownership).

  3. Seems that the immigrants are the ones that were providing the best service.

    Sadly, the biggest backlash of invading mexico is going to be crappier service in restaurants.

  4. Sad business – These folks ran an outstanding restaurant. Exceptional food, absolutely true to its S Indian roots. Draconian immigration law results in these tragedies. Unfortunately the Chennai natives who now own this restaurant – they took it over about 4 months ago – are still on a learning curve.

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