Tortilla Flats in New York City Can Go Suck it

Isn’t it a shame when something you have such fond memories of can no longer live up to the expectation that the memory has created? It makes sense I suppose. After all, our brains tend to filter out so many things that we don’t need or want to remember and it leaves us with this hazy selective memory of events, people and places. About thirteen years ago, I had a surprise birthday party at this Mexican restaurant called Tortilla Flats here in New York City. I was blindfolded after I got off the train and then walked for a couple of blocks all the way to my table inside the restaurant. Once the blindfold was removed, I was greeted by ten of my closest friends and a pitcher of margaritas. It was a great surprise and a terrific birthday. So on my birthday this Sunday, I decided to revisit the restaurant and try to recreate that perfect birthday experience. Epic failure, that.

When we arrived at Tortilla Flats, it was overflowing with customers. This was not unexpected since it was the Sunday night of a three day weekend. The host was overwhelmed with a mob of people clamoring for a table and the bar was overrun with sailors from Fleet Week who were in New York City with the sole purpose of getting trashed beyond belief. Nothing says Memorial day Weekend like a sailor in his whites puking on the corner of West 12th Street. The host finally greeted us by screaming, “Yeah, there’s a two-top over there. Go grab it!” Uh, okay. We squeezed past a a girl with big boobs and a tiny top and sat down. Our booth was next to the bar and as soon as we sat down, the arm of a sailor flung into our space as he leaned on a friend. “Dude, am so fucking trashed right now!” he said. Nice, sailor. The booth we were sitting at was wet and had two glasses of water on it and some plastic silverware. A grouchy looking waiter came up to us and said, “Do you need menus?” Okay, yes, we need menus. It’s kind of the custom in restaurants, right? Menus? We told him that we did and he stomped off to get them. I know what he was thinking. He thought that since we didn’t already have menus that we must have sat ourselves. I get it. Whatever. He brought the menus.

At this point, my partner asked him about the waters on the table. “Excuse me, but are these waters for us or are they from someone who was sitting here before us?”
“I have no idea,” said the waiter. Wait, was he giving us attitude?
“We were told to sit here,”I said.
“Well, I dunno,” he said with his arms crossed.
I responded. “What? We just wanted to know if this water is for us or if it’s used. The table is a little wet.”
“Well, I didn’t put ’em there. Do you want different waters? I’ll just go get you new waters.” He grabbed the glasses and stomped off again.

O. Hell. No. Is this asshole giving me attitude? Look, prick, I’m sorry you’re at work serving a bunch of drunk Marines on Memorial Day Weekend, but get over it. I already served a bunch of babies at brunch that morning so I too had to work when everyone else was out having a good time. You think I wanted to listen to that three year old scream and throw spoons on the floor? No, I didn’t, but it’s part of the job and you have to suck it up and fake that you are in a decent mood for the sake of your tables and tips. Do whatever you have to do. (In my case, it was a mimosa hidden in the side stand). And it was my fucking birthday, too. It’s not like I snuck in to the restaurant two minutes before you closed. It was 8:30 and you weren’t closing until 11:00. I was nothing but nice to the shitty host and I even gave you the benefit of the doubt when you snarled at me about our lack of menus, but now you’re going to give me attitude about water? If you knew the water was placed there for us, then just say so, but don’t tell me you “have no idea.” If that water was left over from some sailor who sat there before me, I don’t want to take a sip out of it and get the herpes from that hooker he picked up at Penn Station. Fuck you. We got up and left.

The host ran up to us to see what the problem was. It was now clear that the host was also a manager. “Guys, guys, what’s the matter? Where are you going?”
“Your waiter is rude. We’re done.”
“No, no, wait. What happened? Let me fix it.”
“Nope, the waiter with the dark-rimmed glasses is rude and we’re going somewhere else. Don’t need that. It’s cool.”
“Wait, wait, lemme make it up to you!”
Like I really wanted to stay there so he could put us in a different section where the asshole waiter tells another asshole waiter that we are assholes and then they spit in my birthday margarita. “Good bye,” we say as we breeze on down to another Mexican restaurant.

So, Tortilla Flats? I’ll always recall how fondly you treated me on my birthday 13 years ago, but maybe it’s best we leave it at that. Things change, after all and it’s okay. We will always have 1998 when the waiter was nice and he treated me with respect. This waiter was obviously having a bad night, but he took it out on the wrong person. The average Joe would just complain about it to his two or three friends. I am not your Average Joe. I am the Bitchy Waiter and when I complain, I get to do it to 4,532 people on Facebook, 3,875 people on Twitter and 3,031 followers on Blogger. So Tortilla Flats, you can tell that asshole server he can take a bowl of salsa and cram it up his asshole ass. He can take a burrito and choke on it. He can even take a sip out of the possibly contaminated glass of water and hope for the best. What he can’t do is treat me like shit on my birthday and think I won’t go home and blog about it. Fuck off. But thanks for the birthday memories in 1998. It was great. 2011? Not so much.

Tell Tortilla Flats that The Bitchy Waiter says hello by clicking by here! They’d love a few emails in their inbox, don’t you think? Leave a comment if you emailed them. I’d love to know how many emails they got.

(The link to the email address was deactivated 36 hours after this post went up because it’s all good now…)

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41 thoughts on “Tortilla Flats in New York City Can Go Suck it

  1. Tammy

    Message sent. My subject line: The Bitchy Waiter loves you…thirteen years ago!Thanks for my delicious daily dose of bitchy wrapped in sarcasm and sprinkled with scorn. Yum!

  2. Maria

    My "three day weekend" consisted of Buy One Entree, Get One Free specials from cheap assholes who gobble up the $15 to $30 off, then leave me less than ten. All. Weekend. Long.And you can imagine the crowd this draws, so I deal with this while tripping over people, and I smile & thank everyone for coming in.This guy didn't need to bitch about a two top with old waters.

  3. Doug and Mary Ann

    Sorry to hear about this dining experience, but I hope you had a Happy Birthday. By the way, if you are ever in AZ, there is a small town called Tortilla Flats just out the Apache Trail, near Apache Junction. Stop in try it out!

  4. The Empress

    Good on you for not staying and putting up with that crap. Any decent waiter should be able to differentiate between nice paying customers and a bunch of drunk fuckwits. You deserved much better whether it was your birthday or not. I hope the next stop was a far better experience.The Ranter’s Box

  5. Practical Parsimony

    Tortilla Flats is also Steinbeck's first commercial success, a nove set in Monterey, Ca, and the neighborhood of Tortilla Flats. It is not the best neighborhood in town. I will email the restauant.

  6. badbadwebbis

    I'm sorry your birthday was initially ruffled by an industry dillweed. I hope the rest of it went well, and I do feel kind of sorry for the manager since they were obviously slammed. But no way should you stay around after THAT guy was so awful.

  7. Robin

    BW, I disagree with your take on this. Based on your experience in the profession the waiter should have been thrown out by his dark framed glasses. I do not doubt it was bad given the fact that you are very forgiving when you are dining.That said, I think that the Rest. tried to do what they could to accomodate you. Although I would have loved to have been a fly in the room if you said " so the next waiter can spit in my drink" Anyway. Sometimes things just arent the same no matter how hard you want it to be. I used to love Big Macs. They make them so bad anymore, I can only eat 2 a week instead of three…

  8. Rachel

    Done. I will also add that I really do not appreciate getting "flagged down" when I am walking away from bad service that I have to pay for (and endure). Let my people go.

  9. Becky

    Soooo Bitchy……wondering if you have any new gossip about tortilla flats? Have we hounded them enough for you? Have they issued a public apology yet?:) Here's hoping!:)

  10. Anonymous

    Overall bad form. You didn't know all the circumstances of that night. If you leave that's cool but don't complain and put the servers job in jeopardy.

  11. Anonymous

    Grow a pair and not hide behind your computer. Sure you can talk all this shit online but you are too scared too say anything to someone in person. Because it is your birthday, that doesn't mean you get treated better. You are a whiny bitch that is mad you have become a career waiter. Sorry you failed at life. Everybody has a bad day. He could have just gotten bad news…like someone important passing away. That would put your crying ass in a bad mood. How good of a waiter are you drinking mimosas in the morning while serving kids. You are a fame whore and thinks this blog is making something out of you. I hate you and wish nothing but the worst for you. You are scum.

  12. Ninja Kitty Extraordinaire

    A bystander's two cents to "Anonymous" – Normally, I would stay the hell out of something that is clearly none of my business. That said, witnessing such hate being spewed, specifically in reference to growing a pair, then posted anonymously… The irony is quite thick. We all have bad days, every last one of us. Who's to say the server's next victim didn't just come FROM a funeral and was treated so horribly? Doesn't make it right, Sweetheart.

  13. Anonymous

    What a sad old queen. Sounds like it was the managers fault to me. Maybe you should get a life and stop bitching about shit thats is not important. As a fellow waiter I would have thought you could have maybe had a little more understanding. I'm a server, and I have dined at Tortilla Flats, but if I ever had to deal with most of the people who go there I would quit. Shame on you for possibly getting someone fired for something so trivial like your whiney ass not having everthing you want on your old wrinkly birthday. Whah! whah! Someone wasnt nice to me today! Shut up. No one cares. Stop being such an ashole.

  14. Anonymous

    As a friend of a Tortilla Flats employee, I thought you might like to know that your little diatribe got that guy fired. So congratulations, you pathetic, bitter loser. I hope that you can get some satisfaction from this, as your life clearly has little joy or purpose otherwise.And to all of you who emailed the restaurant, don't you have something better to do? Like, oh, I don't know, read more AWESOME blogs?

  15. Angry

    Hey Bitchy waiter. You are incorrect. You did get him fired. He now has no job. You can call and ask the owner. Good job asshole.

  16. Masie

    Wow, the guy got fired? For being rude? To a customer? In a customer service job? Sounds to me like he was not a very good fit for serving tables. If he got fired for this he probably had other marks against him besides this incident. Either that or the owner is a douche. This review is no different than if it was written on yelp, so he got fired. Sounds like he was in the wrong business anyway.

  17. Meghan Lynn Allen

    This d bag would have been fired no matter what. I am absolutely positive that people don't get fired over 1 single customer complaint. Anyway bw if you're looking 4 a waiter job, I hear there's 1 at tortilla flats.

  18. Steph

    Good! Waiters like that SHOULD get fired. The way we see it, everyone has bad days. But if you're on the job, fucking fake it and smile. If you don't like it, quit. Don't fucking take it out on paying customers. You know, the people that keep your establishment from going under? It's funny coz we, The hungryDUO, recently went to the American Craft Beer Fest in Boston and blogged about a local brewery's awful and disappointing customer service. Given it was during Boston Beer Week and people were all kinds of drunk from 18 yr olds to sailors in their whites, the rude attitude is definitely not necessary. Like we said, you'll never know who os sitting at the bar.So, don't feel bad.Your friends,The hungryDUOhungryduo.wordpress.comTwitter: @hungryDUO

  19. zena

    Good. You do a shitty job in ANY line of work, you should get fired. That's what happens when you treat customers like shit. Maybe he'll think twice next time he wants to act like an asshole to a total stranger.

  20. Anonymous

    To those that have sympathy for this ass of a human WTF!! Guests conplain about the most idiotic things when they eat all bitchy wanted was to be treated properly, there was no mention of wanting special treatment

  21. GS

    I'm guessing Bitchy's intention wasn't that the guy got fired. He got mistreated as a customer who was payin for a service he didn't get and he complained, was it the best way? maybe not but it was HIS way to vent. It's kinda sad that the guy got fired but he works with PEOPLE and no matter the number of problems you may have,you have to leave 'em behind the minute you get to the room your customers don't deserve you treating them like sh*t so, sorry but Bitchy didn't go to the managers and said "fire the mo'f'cker", it was the managers decision. My two cents…

  22. ExT

    To everyone who said that the waiter deserved to get fired: Do you have any idea what you are saying? What disgusting excuses for human beings you all are. You are bad people with ugly hearts. I personally know what happened……….and the wrong person got fired. The waiter had no idea the water was from a previous table. The manager should have tried harder to communicate that with the waiter, instead of being a lazy ass. And it sounds like Bitchy was being rude about getting more anyways. I would have been annoyed with him too, he sounds like an annoying asshole to wait on.

  23. Anonymous

    I am disgusted by what I have read. Clearly, the people who have nothing to do in their lives (other then enjoy reading blogs about others) -I AM JEALOUS OF YOU!!!! i WISH I didnt have a job and friends that I care about. But I do. You people sit at home wanting to kill yoursefs but hang on to life living via other people, like me! My friend got fired. I wish I was like all you bloggers who's parents paid for your living expensives, cause if that wasn't the case, you would feel bad for a HUMAN BEING who lost their job. Nobody on this blog has ever made a mistake? I have.I've made a mistake at work before. If you can't say the same, shame on you.

    1. Jayleen

      You’re very assuming with your post about others. If you REALLY had that much going on in your life would you really have time to post on this? Also if we haven’t had mistake at work shouldn’t they be congratulated? They would be a very rare person…just curious. Also if someone IS suicidal then you are a horrible person for mocking them! Everything you have thrown out can be tossed right back, the internet is full of trolls. That said, have a nice day and just stop reading, you will be much happier. After all isn’t that what we all want? To be happy?

  24. Anonymous

    As a fellow server, you should feel absolutely ashamed of yourself for getting this guy fired. I am sure you are not absolutely beaming and happy every day you go to work. I hope karma comes back on you, you old and bitter man. I will no longer read this blog. Hope you are happy.

  25. Jayleen

    I’m just taking this moment to mention that to those anons who think that BW actually cares what you have to say are deluding themselves. Also if the waiter got fired then he probably had other strikes, no one gets fired the first or even the third time. Also I only read this blog on my breaks so yes I have a job that I go to six days out of the week. Either way you should all just shake your heads and stop reading if you don’t like what he has to blog about. Easy.


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