by Sarah M. on
Don't come here with a large party. I will never set foot in this place again. I have never once been so appalled by the lack of service in an Austin area restaurant. There are many other places in the Domain that have better service, food, and drink. My friend wanted to celebrate her birthday on Saturday, January 29, with about 30 of her closest friends. She called to make a reservation a week in advance, fully prepared to present a credit card to hold the reservation, and was told that they did not take reservations for any size party. Fast forward to that Saturday. About 10 of us arrived early to Gloria's, in order to give the host staff notice for the large party. The majority of our party was to arrive at 8 PM, we arrived at 6 PM. I go check in with the host and tell them the size of the party. The host goes, "Oh, do you have a reservation?" I go, "No, when we called earlier this week we were told you do not take reservations." The host looked at me funny and goes, "Oh, well, okay." I told them that we would take 3 or 4 tables, just as long as we were seated close to one another. Bar service was slow. I'm not sure if the cocktail waitresses just don't understand the concept of keeping track of a credit card and running a tab, or if the typical clientele are tab skippers... each drink we drank was rang up separately, to be closed out upon delivery of each drink. Being that we were expecting to wait for 2 hours for our table to be ready, we were there to drink. Several of us finally switched to bottles of wine, in order to not be interrupted every few minutes. Back to the table situation... I check in with the host stand every 30 minutes or so to provide an update as to how many people we have. I am reassured that we will be sat once we have 25 of the 30 we expect and that the tables will be ready right at 8 PM. The entirety of our party arrived at 7:45, so I let them know. At this point, we were all still having a lovely time, and laughing at the cocktail waitresses and the multiple tabs they were closing out. Our tables become ready around 8:15. We adjourn to 2 tables of 15. We are a rather large group, with presents, a rather large custom cake and balloons. The wait staff assist us in setting up a smaller table at the foot of one of the other tables in order to get all of the party accoutrements set up. Once we get seated, our server comes around to take our drink orders. That is around 8:30. We realize we have only one server (Ashley) for 30 people at that point. She does an incredible job, for the lack of assistance she was provided. We were all very impressed by her. She has drinks out and is taking our food orders directly after. She was incredibly efficient. It takes about 45 minutes for our food to come out. Understandable, as we are a very large group. Not a big deal... 15 minutes after our food is dropped, the bus staff is coming through clearing our tables. Most of us are not yet done eatling and resist. They are clearing full glasses of wine, half bottles of wine, and food people are still eating - while we are all still sitting at the tables. When we protest about this, they told us that the manager told them they have to "clear the floor" for the salsa dancing. Several of us ask Ashley to get the manager for us, as we JUST received our food. We were obviously a party that was not there to eat and leave, what with the decorations and how long we waited to begin with. The manager came out and told us that he had to clear the dance floor for the salsa dancers. Mind you, not ONCE did this gentleman apologize or offer to move us elsewhere. We had not yet cut the cake, let alone finished our meals. Finally, people in our party began to give in. They gave up their mostly full plates and the wait staff began to remove the tables - some while people were still sitting at them. Only after multiple people complained and requested to be moved did the manager say he could give us another space outside. We were appeased and said okay. He gave us a 4-top table on the patio for 30 people. We sat our birthday girl down to open presents and crowded around, apologizing to the tables who we were hovering over. Once that was completed, we left and went to a different venue. This was an absolutely miserable experience. We spent well over $1500 on food and drinks and were treated like we stole the silverware. Not once did we receive an apology from the manager about being sat in the middle of the dance floor so close to their salsa dancing. Ashley, our server, was the one saving grace. She apologized profusely for the inconvenience and for her manager.