Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flatbread Company at Sacco's Bowl Haven -- Somerville, MA

The best thing about The Flatbread Company at Sacco's Bowl Haven is the food.  The pizza has a wonderfully crispy crust and the slightest hint of basil in the cheese and sauce.  The root beer is by Maine Root, and thus is an old fashioned boiled-roots recipe that produces a drink with a lovely bite.  The beer selection is also quite good, I selected a Blueberry Ale that had a wonderful hint of blueberry to it.  The waitstaff was friendly and genuinely wanted to make sure we had a good time.

The worst thing about The Flatbread Company at Sacco's Bowl Haven is the wait for a bowling lane on a Saturday night.  Full disclosure: Eric and I did not make a reservation, and we definitely should have and that was our fault.  However, when we first came in we asked how long the wait might be.  The vaguely annoyed hostess told us it would be about an hour, and so we went off to the bar to wait.   I have to admit, The Flatbread Company is not really my kind of place:  I have had some crappy jobs (farmstand employee, tour guide) in a few well heeled rural towns, so Flatbread's super-organic-expensive crunchy granola ambiance brings back a lot of frustrating memories for me.  Eric observed that we were the only people there not wearing ironic flannel, and he was right, there were few non-hipsters in attendance.  I do have to say that the piped in music was quite good, I'm a fan of early Janet Jackson and Marvin Gaye, so it was nice to have some music I liked playing while we waited. And waited. And waited.  I took a nap on Eric's shoulder.  I woke up.  We were still waiting. The people who were ahead of us on the list for a lane left.  I went outside because I felt claustrophobic.  I came back in when I felt better.  We were still waiting. Our one hour wait turned into two hours before we were awarded with a lane.  

Again, these things happen, but the way it was handled left something to be desired: the hostess acted as though she thought we were a declasse nuisance,  we were repeatedly left in the dark as to how long the wait would be, and we couldn't leave the bowling alley to do something else while we waited, so the only entertainment available was drinking their beer (a sneaky trick on their part) and nursing our resentments and various anxiety disorders.  

Eric mentioned to me that they should have a system similar to that at Panera Bread, where the customer on the waiting list is given a beeper and at least allowed to go outside to explore Davis Square.  Failing that, he thought they could text the customers when their lanes were ready.  Instead, it felt like we were trapped in the bowling alley.  The food was good, but the attitude of the hostess and the lack of a system to manage what was obviously a chronic problem means that we will try Jillian's and Lucky Strike or Lanes and Games the next time we go bowling.

Update 8/20/10:  Credit where credit is due: I just got a really nice email from the manager of the Flatbread Company at Sacco's.  He apologized for our experience and offered me a gift card.  I couldn't take the gift card (journalistic ethics still apply to bloggers), but the email itself was very classy.  

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