On August 10, 2018, we had a reservation for 3 at 7pm made through the restaurant’s reservation service, Resy. The group consisted of myself, my husband and my mother-in-law, and we were coming out to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We enjoy eating out, and trying new restaurants, so even though we live in Greensboro, we made the trip out to Kernersville because the menu items looked interesting and we enjoy the tapas style dining, which gives us a chance to try more things. When we arrived, in time for our reservation, there was no one to greet us at the door. After waiting several minutes, the owner, or a woman who claimed to be the owner, although that doesn’t match any of the information online, came to ask if we were there for the paella night or the regular menu, then after glancing at my husband and mother-in-law, who are African American, added that the paella night would be $45 per person, as if that would make up our minds, insinuating that it would be out of our price range. When we made the reservation, there was no mention of this paella night, so we told her that we were planning on the regular menu. Unable to be bothered with us at that point, she waved us out and told us to have a seat outside. She didn’t direct us to a table, no choice of inside or out, didn’t give us menus, and turned and left. We sat at a table, and waited as 2 servers walked by multiple times, and checked on tables on either side of us without speaking to us. 15 minutes after we arrived, I went in to see if I could find someone to give us menus. After standing up at the front by the door for another several minutes without being spoken to, I was able to catch the eye of the “owner” who begrudgingly came over. I told her that I was coming in to see if we could get some menus, and to make sure that someone knew we were still out there. She picked up some menus, and as she started walking out the door, told me that we would “have to be patient tonight because they were very busy inside”. I said that we were glad to be patient, but waiting 15 minutes for a menu, without being spoken to was excessive. When she again looked at my husband and mother-in-law who were waiting at the table, her tone shifted, and she said “You know, tonight is not going to be a good night to dine with us, you should go elsewhere”. I replied that we had a reservation, we were there to celebrate my husband’s birthday, and had already been waiting, we just wanted menus, but she repeated that tonight wasn’t a good night for us to be there, and that they were very busy. Justifiably upset, my mother-in-law told her that she felt she had been very rude to us, to which the woman waved us off. After turning the corner, we decided we really should go back and say something, because it wasn’t right for a business to treat people this way and brush it off so easily. We went back in and told the “owner” that we needed to speak with her. She replied that she was very tired and busy, and when it was clear that was not going to suffice, rushed us into the kitchen to avoid tables overhearing her treatment of lost customers. We told her that we felt she was dismissive from the time that we arrived, and asked why they would take reservations if they couldn’t accommodate them, to which she had no answer. Her only response was that she was “very busy and had a business to run”. It apparently didn’t matter that we were supposed to be among her customers. We just weren’t the right kind of customer. It was clear to us that race was definitely a factor in our treatment, from her obvious appraisal when we arrived, to her change of tone at again seeing who was at the table. Having looked at other reviews since arriving home, we are not alone in this treatment. This goes beyond just not honoring a reservation. They weren’t overbooked, there were 2 empty tables outside, and the servers found time to check up on other tables.
We ended up at a restaurant down the street – Giadas Trattoria is in walking distance down Main St, if you find yourself facing similar discrimination at Bistro B, and everyone at Giadas was very kind and polite. When we were leaving Giadas, we were stopped by another table, who had seen us leave Bistro B, and asked what happened. It turns out that they were there and left after a bad experience of their own (it also happens that the man who stopped us was Hispanic). They were not given the option of the paella night or regular menu, in fact, they were told that the regular menu was not going to be offered, and they were presented with a bill up front for the paella night, before they were even served.
I only wish that I had read reviews before having a special occasion ruined, as have others who have left similar feedback in multiple places. If your experience there has been good, that’s wonderful for you, I guess you fit their desired clientele, but do know that you are supporting a place with a clear service problem when it comes to other customers.
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