Lynn Anne Cutler
After finding Sally Lunn's on this site, I drove to Chester (a half-hour's drive which took an hour due to traffic) to take my daughter for a 'tea room' lunch on a Saturday. The place was busy but not full, and we were seated outside next to the front door, with a menu and a tea list. We settled on fresh salmon sandwich with dill mayo and butter rum tea, but no one came out to acknowledge us or to take the order. After twenty minutes, I poked my head in and asked the hostess who had seated us if someone would come take our order. She said yes, of course, and I sat back down. No one came out. We left about 10 minutes later and got lunch elsewhere. We walked back past Sally Lunn's on our way to the car, so I stopped in to let the manager know what had happened. An assistant manager came out and apologized, made an excuse about the 'kids' who work there, and offered me a couple of scones to take home, saying that's all she could do. I accepted her offer, and she walked away. She came back a minute later and said, 'I didn't know the owner was here, and she's standing right by the scones. I don't want her to see me giving them to you!' Confused, I told her I didn't need scones if she was going to be stealing them, I thought this was an accepted policy at the shop. She said no, the owner trusted her, she'd been there eleven years, but she still didn't want the owner to see her giving me the scones. I said I didn't care about scones, I just wanted the owner to be aware of what had happened - then I asked the manager, 'You are going to tell the owner, right?' She gave me a look that told me she hadn't planned to. She said, ' You can tell the owner yourself, but I don't think she'll do anything for you.' I repeated that I just thought she should know, and said I'd just go tell her myself. I introduced myself to the owner and repeated my story. Guess what she said to me. No, you never will. She said, 'You know what you should do? Go get a job in a restaurant, then you'll be more understanding!' She then told me that it was my fault I hadn't been served, because I hadn't been there when the waiter had gone to serve me. (Note: I had waited at the table for over half an hour.) The complete contempt in the owner's voice was just remarkable. I have never met a restaurant owner who didn't give a hoot if patrons (or attempted patrons, in this case) enjoyed their stay or service or not, and certainly not one who would chastise me for receiving poor service! She clearly does not care that we will not be returning, and I'm sure she will not read this review since she does not care what customers think or experience at Sally Lunn's. But for the record, SOMEone ought to tell her that if a customer takes the time and effort to let her know when something goes wrong in her restaurant, the proper response is, 'Thank you for telling me. I'm sorry you experienced this. I will take steps to make sure this does not happen again.' No one deserves the contempt this owner dishes out when all the patron wants is something off the menu.