Grand Rapids, It’s About Time We Talk About Etiquette When Going Out To Eat
If you think that Grand Rapids has a shortage of incredible restaurants, you're clearly not going out and enjoying our food scene. Since I moved to the city at the end of last year, I've tried a new restaurant almost every week and I rarely come across a dud.
And one of my favorite restaurants to revisit is Basalt on Wealthy Street. Steve Martinez and his staff not only make some of the most incredible breakfast tacos you've ever put in your mouth, but they're also some of the friendliest people you could hope to start your day with.
But I was heartbroken to see an Instagram story posted to their page on Sunday afternoon saying Basalt would be closing early due to an unusual uptick in rude customers. They said people made hateful remarks towards the staff, took to-go orders that weren't theirs, and even rearranged furniture in the small restaurant, making an environment of chaos.
Basalt isn't the only restaurant locally to have this complaint about people being abnormally rude, Last month, East Park Tavern in Charlevoix closed for similar reasons during the town’s Venetian Festival.
So maybe it's time someone address the elephant in the room: Maybe the customer isn't right, and maybe you really are an insufferable jerk.
We see the videos of "Karen"s freaking out on people over things that aren't worth the rage. So, why is it so hard to believe that it could be happening in our own backyard? It's time we all collectively hold these restaurant terrorists accountable for their awful behavior, because our service industry professionals deserve better.
Are you one of those people who gets short with people when lines are long and unstaffed spots are stretched thin? Take a deep breath, and realize it's not about you. They're working hard, they're one of the ONLY industries that has stayed at full capacity of work since the pandemic started, and they're generally underappreciated and underpaid.
My suggestion? The next time you see someone acting like a jerk at one of your favorite local spots, CALL THEM OUT. Most of the time when people act this way, they're trying to flex some sort of made up power they don't actually possess on the staff. Let's embarrass people publicly when they're being awful, because if you see a bully, it's your obligation to step in and stop the harassment.
Also as a bonus thought - TIP when you receive great service despite the odds. Please. We're all stretched thin on our budgets, and your favorite waitstaff, barista, and cooks deserve a thank you for doing the work you didn't want to. They're taking a lot of grief every day for staffing and supply shortages, and you can be the bright spot that makes it all worth it.
Sending love to the staff at Basalt as well as the many other restaurant industry professionals in Michigan who keep us fed and running, many times to little praise. We're thankful for the gift of love you serve us with each dish.