Drop in quality at Fresh on Spadina

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I’ve been a big fan of Fresh on Spadina since they opened a couple of years ago: it’s right around the corner from me, and the food is both great-tasting and healthy. We’re usually in there at least once a week, either brunch on Sunday or lunch during the week.

In the past couple of months, however we’ve noticed a decline in service. The wait staff have moved from efficient and friendly (in an “I’m cool so can’t be too friendly” sort of way) to ditzy and poorly-trained. The kitchen has slowed to the point where a brunch of one order of pancakes and one order of fruit/granola/yogurt takes over 30 minutes to deliver, and that’s well before the Sunday rush starts around 12:30.

Today was the last straw, however, when the food quality declined to meet the level of service. The server put in the wrong pancake order, forgot my cutlery, didn’t bother to ask at any time if everything was okay, and didn’t even stop back at our table until Damir literally waved his credit card in front of her face in order to prompt the bill. The kitchen took forever to deliver our order, and when it arrived, the banana-nut pancakes were thin, misshapen, overcooked and missing the nuts (which we found out later was due to the server putting in the wrong order) instead of the usual plump and delicious confection. We were both starving by this point and Damir, having run 6km this morning, wolfed the pancakes down anyway. I was luckier with the fruit/granola/yogurt — it’s sort of hard to screw up.

He mentioned that he had lunch there a few times while I’ve been travelling lately, and that the food and service was equally disappointing.

We’re now in search of another healthy brunch location in our neighbourhood. Fressen is a possibility, their dinner menu is great but the only time that we went there for brunch they were sold out of most of what was on their menu. Since they started the tapas menu for dinner, however, they no longer serve the pancakes and waffles for brunch. I’ve also heard about a new vegetarian place opening on Adelaide near Portland. We’re only part-time vegetarians, but favour vegetarian (or even vegan) places for brunch because they tend to be a lot healthier than the usual high-fat and high-sugar brunches.

Any suggestions are welcome.

4 Comments

  1. Betty says:

    Damir is running?

  2. sandy says:

    He is indeed. Only took 2-1/2 years to get started.

  3. James says:

    Thanks for validating some of what I’ve felt about the staff and service which is why I only ever do take-out anymore.

    If you’re adventurous, head down to Cafe Mocha on the Danforth (near Logan).

    I’m interested to know if you left any tip. I used to tip regardless, but not anymore – some times I leave 20% and sometimes I leave 5% and sometimes I leave nothing, but if it’s because of the food quality, I do let the server know.

  4. sandy says:

    Personally, I gear tipping to reflect the service and quality, but I wasn’t paying.

    Unlikely to head to Danforth and Logan with any regularity; even with Fresh’s drop in service/quality, there’s plenty of other good places near Queen and Spadina that I can walk to.

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