The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Chef Tony of Visions Chimes In

First of all, I can't believe that the chef of Visions actually found out about my post let alone on the very same day I published my rant. He was clearly disappointed that we didn't have an enjoyable experience and sent me an email later that evening:

To all concerned with the post about Visions....

As one of the owners of Visions, I am extremely sorry to read about your experience, although I feel lucky to have found you through your post. I became aware of the situation too late, as I noticed your party leaving, I found out from our server about the wait you experienced, and the resulting unhappiness (understandably so). There is no excuse for the wait, and I am not happy to hear that our server didn't seem to make any efforts to repair the damage. I can understand your frustration, and I'm extremely unhappy as the Co-owner and Chef that your party left with that experience. I will say that your comments are on point, because usually, our restaurant is a bit more tranquil, and although we loved the boost in business, as a newer restaurant, we defiantly had some catching up to do with regards to service. We are currently strengthening our kitchen staff to allow me to be more in front, hopefully catching situations similar to yours, as it should be.

Understand that we have over 20 years in the industry, and if you ask around, our reputation is pretty stellar. Obviously though, to you, that means nothing (again, understandably so) because your night was far from stellar.

As we do, we keep ourselves aware of what is being said about us, and luckily (hmm, unluckily) you wrote about it, at least giving me the chance to respond, and invite you back. We really ARE a restaurant that prides itself on our guests' experience, if nothing else, we aim to have people have a good time, and you and your party obviously did NOT. IF you can give us a shot, we'd love to have you back another night, when we aren't so overwhelmed, and I think you'll walk away with a much different feeling.

If not, I understand, but know that myself and my partner, Iddi Diarra, have an extreme amount of pride in our place, and we're very unhappy to hear about anyone leaving our place less than thrilled.

Take care, thanks for your time....

thank you
Chef Tony

For some reason, I couldn't help but feel guilty about this. Granted they're a fairly new restaurant and obviously weren't ready for the hectic demand RW created in their otherwise "tranquil" environment, but it's not like I want to see a locally owned and operating business suffer because of my negative experience. I sent Chef Tony an email back and told him that, if it was OK with him (which it was), that I'd post his email as an effort to show how much he cares about his customers and how he obviously wants to right any wrongs that occurred during our dinner:

Dear Chef Tony,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for corresponding so fast regarding our experience Friday night. As the author of this website (I guess I should've forewarned you that you had a blogger amidst in your dining room), I was also the one that coordinated the dinner and made the reservation, so I felt guilty about our unfortunate dinner plans. I understand it was Restaurant Week and was quick to write off Visions due to the service we experienced, but I'm very much willing to give your restaurant another shot given the circumstances. I'm just impressed that word spread this fast about our displeasure. I'd like to apologize if I cast your business in a negative light, but from a customer point of view, you could visibly understand my party's frustration. Please try to ignore the sarcastic undertones as they're just a part of my writing style, but I'm sure you're a much better establishment than Rock Bottom (the satay did look delicious and the mussels were indeed excellent). If it's OK with you, I'll gladly post your email on my website in order to clear the air so that readers understand how much you care about your patrons. The last thing I would want to do is to hurt someone's business, especially one that is locally owned and operated. Again, thank you for your swift response!


In retrospect, I was probably a little harsh in saying that I wouldn't give the restaurant a second chance. Those mussels were really good and will probably warrant another visit in the near future. It was really nice of the dude to take the time and send an apology. But I mean come on, no discount Tony? Just kidding.

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