I Rarely Cuss
I am excited to eat at Bistro 1245 today. It is one of the best values in Gainesville.
Bistro 1245 is the small restaurant attached to longtime tenant Leonardo’s Pizza. It is part of the triumvirate of restaurants under the same ownership umbrella. The lead triumvir is the finer dining Leonardo’s 706, further east on University Avenue. I’ll guess that Leonardo’s Pizza wears the revenue crown. Then there’s Bistro.
Bistro advertises gourmet food at student prices and they deliver. For just under $9.00 you can have a grilled cheese sandwich of provolone, Gouda and gruyere cheeses topped with tomato and bacon. But the choicest ‘wich is the sesame seared duck sandwich. I know of no other restaurant offering this savory treat. For $9.95 it’s a steal. Also a bargain is the oft featured evening steak special which features a thick sirloin atop mashed potatoes and asparagus spears all covered in a beurre blanc sauce. For $10.95 it is the best special of its kind in town. It probably pairs well with a variety of the wines they have corked and for sale but I’m not the wine connoisseur.
I find a parking spot in the ill-paved lot. I open the back door. “Hey neighbor!” I say to a waitress I recognize.
“I’m not your neighbor anymore,” she tells me, coldly. It’s as if I’ve been bothering her all day.
“Okay!” I say with sarcastic pep. My feelings have been hurt (awww..). You see, the waitress I have greeted used to live in my apartment complex so I thought it would be refreshing to her for me to say hello. It turns out that even girls can be dicks. Her dismissal of my congeniality has pricked me. I start to re-analyze Bistro down to the paint.
I scan the waiters and construct their ethos: we are repulsed by the masses, our disappointment in you will be palpable, we hate our job, we can’t wait to get out of here. The waitstaff at Bistro has no rebound from a bad table. They are terrible actors. And the acoustics are not in their favor. No matter where you sit you can hear the thrum of the kitchen, but overpowering the sizzle of the grill is the waiters’ vocalized angst. When they slam the ice chest shut it’s clear that someone has shafted them on the bill and when they bring you an ice water and you decline the offer of a glass of wine they think you’re the next cheap asshole.
I rarely cuss but, what the fuck? I’m doing takeout from now on. I don’t need this drama. I’ll blame the owner on the lack of resilience of the waitstaff. Bistro needs to model itself more after 706 than Leonardo’s Pizza. And when I next come here to pick up my order, I just might perch up at the bar (where no one is allowed to sit) and watch the kitchen action, keeping everyone on their toes. They’re gonna hate me but I’ll keep coming back because the food is nice.
And I want to say this. This is a University town, your customers are not dumb.